OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

Recent weeks have seen further developments in the effective ‘bankruptcy’ at Labour run Birmingham City Council, with the external auditors and press raising concerns about what appears to be inappropriate and intimidatory behaviour and toxic working relationships between the Labour Party and senior officers. 

Locally, Cllr Gareth Moore and I have been monitoring the progress of the improvements to the play area and outdoor gym in Rookery Park (pictured inspecting the work recently).

The play area work has been funded by money we secured from the redevelopment of Rookery House, and we supported the Friends of Rookery Park to secure funding for the outdoor gym equipment.

We have continued our work to help keep Erdington safe and are delighted that attempts by an amusement arcade to secure 24 hour opening hours on the High Street have been rejected. This would have attracted ASB and was totally unnecessary.

We have also seen a number of other successes recently with our campaign to retain the Erdington Police Station as the base for local Police teams. This will ensure the building is retained allowing, a possible reopening of the front desk in the future, while also ensuring our Police teams are based locally. 

We are also delighted to announce that we’ve successfully fought to keep Ticket Offices at Erdington, Chester Road and Gravelly Hill Train Stations open following the recent consultation about closing them. 

Thank you to everyone who signed our petitions as part of these campaigns.

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

Pic supplied by Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington Ward, Conservative)

I was honoured to join, along with local school children, the Erdington Rotary Club this month for the opening of their Peace Garden at Spring Lane Playing Fields.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped build this lovely addition to our local area.

Much of Cllr Gareth Moore and my work this month has been connected to the damning section 114 notices about the Council effectively being declared bankrupt due to equal pay bills and the Leader of the Council refusing to act to prevent the Council collapsing despite warning from auditors, the opposition, and officers at Birmingham City Council.

Therefore, we have been meeting with officers to discuss protecting Erdington Library and to try and ensure plans to regenerate the former Erdington Baths site continue to go ahead.

We have also been meeting with officers to discuss what plans the Council have for other assets locally, such as office blocks, and to stress they must not sell any of them for exempt accommodation.

We are clear that our heritage/cultural assets and green spaces must be protected. They were left for the people of Erdington to enjoy in perpetuity, not to be flogged off to pay for the mistakes of the Labour administration. 

We have also been pressing the Council to ensure the improvements to Rookery Park we secured still happen. We are delighted to confirm they will still go ahead, following a short delay, and work begins in early October. 

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

Pic supplied by Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington Ward, Conservative)

The last few months have seen progress on Cllr Gareth Moore and my efforts to tackle crime and disorder across the Erdington Ward. We both supported the recent police all out day on the High Street.

This has seen approximately 800 illegal vapes seized from two premises which have been referred to trading standards with a view to further action, while during July over 20 PSPO tickets have been issued to individuals.

As a director of Erdington Town Centre Business Improvement District I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure an additional High Street warden.

Police have been able to act on intelligence from residents and a local Neighbourhood Watch group to be able to raid a property on Dunvegan Road and remove over 250 cannabis plants. This follows recent seizures and arrests on Chester Road.

We always urge residents to report any information they have to the police as, while it may not instantly lead to something happening, this intelligence is added to other reports and can lead to arrests like those above.

Everyone in Erdington can help make our area safer by reporting anything suspicious to the police.

This month saw the return of travellers to Rookery Park. We secured their eviction and a deep clean of the park and have had concrete blocks placed to prevent the gates being broken open again whilst a longer-term solution is found to keep the park secure.

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

(Ed’s note: This column was first published in the Erdington Local newspaper on 4 September, before the announcement of a Section 114 notice issued by Birmingham City Council.)

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

Pic supplied by Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington Ward, Conservative)

This month Cllr Gareth Moore and I have been finalising the design for the improvements to the play area in Rookery Park. The Council will be starting this work in September having decided they could not finish the work in time to have the play area reopen for the school holidays.

We have also been pushing the Council to act on the state the former gatehouse for the park has been allowed to get in to and we’ve been informed work should be happening over the summer to improve it.

This month, West Midlands Railway launched a consultation on the closure of ticket offices across the region including at Erdington and Chester Road Train Stations. Gareth and I have collected a petition opposing the closure and submitted it along with an objection to the consultation. An announcement on the consultation result is expected later this year.

Following the recent success of stopping the conversion of the Royal Oak into a HMO, I have launched a petition opposing a similar application to convert 120 Gravelly Lane.

You can see details of how to object to the application on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

This month we welcomed the Birmingham Jazz & Blues Festival to Erdington. It was great to see so many residents enjoying the shows. This is a great new addition to Erdington and is hopefully something that can be grown in the coming years.

Thank you to the Town Centre Manager, Oikos Café and the Jazz festival or making this possible.

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

Words by Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington Ward, Conservative)

June has been another busy month, here is just some of what Cllr Gareth Moore and I have been up to in recent weeks.

We have continued to work with local Police and High Street businesses to make the High Street safer. We have written to the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police as part of our on-going call for average speed cameras on the Chester Road to help tackle people racing along the road.

This is something we have been raising with the Council for a number of years – sadly this site has seen a number of fatalities in recent years, the last leading to a reduction in the speed limit from 40 to 30mph. The Chester Road has a number of vulnerable locations including Pype Hayes Park and the Yenton School.

We are also speaking to the Council about what improvements to road safety are possible at the sites of the other recent horrific crashes locally, and will update residents when there is progress on the options.

We also supported the Neighbourhood Watch meeting to discuss HMO’s and Exempt Accommodation. Earlier this month I joined with colleagues to meet with members of the Eastern European community across North Birmingham to discuss local democracy and issues.

Finally, I have launched a petition opposing the plan to convert the Royal Oak on the corner of Marsh Lane/Short Heath Road into a 10 bed HMO. You can sign the petition at facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives – June ‘23

Pic supplied by Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington Ward, Conservative)

(Ed’s Note: This column was written to be published in the Erdington Local newspaper – out from 5 June)

Recently Birmingham City Council tried to convert Erdington Library into a Youth Centre. Cllr Gareth Moore and I jumped into action to fight to save Erdington Library – a campaign that was thankfully successful. This is how the campaign unfolded.

Cabinet Member Jayne Francis (at the time of writing, Head of Service for Libraries) and Cllr Robert Alden at Erdington Library

On 28 April, a Friday, Birmingham City Council announced they had submitted two planning applications to turn Erdington Library into a Youth Centre and extend the building.

Understandably residents contacted us, furious with the Council for attempting to close down our much loved and well used Library. On Saturday 29 April the library had over 250 visitors by lunchtime, proving how popular the service is.

By 1 May we had launched a petition demanding the Labour Administration at the Council scrap their plans to close Erdington Library.

On 2 May I met with the Chief Executive of the City Council to raise residents’ concerns and demand Erdington Library is saved.

On 4 May I met with the Cabinet Member and Head of Service for Libraries to discuss the situation.  This was a constructive discussion and that afternoon I emailed the Youth Services department and Library Services demanding the planning applications were withdrawn and a meeting set up to discuss how to protect Erdington Library and the service going forward.

Following our interventions, the Council withdrew the planning applications and have placed any changes on hold. In the coming weeks we will be meeting the services and pushing to protect and improve Erdington Library for years to come.

For more from Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews

OPINION: Erdington Cllr Robert Alden, Leader of Birmingham Conservatives

(Ed’s Note: All monthly columns were written to be first published in the Erdington Local newspaper on 1 May)

It was great to see so many people using Rookery Park for the recent National Trust/Erdington Arts Forum Cherry Blossom Picnic, by the blossom trees we planted at the start of the year.

We previously secured funding as part of the redevelopment of Rookery House for the children’s play area in Rookery Park, and the Friends of the Park secured further money from our Celebrating Community fund in Erdington to provide outdoor gym equipment.

Since work has been happening to draft up proposals for what improvements this will deliver, before Christmas we held a consultation for local residents to have their say. We shared this feedback and the views of the Friends Group to the Council, who’ve been drawing up finalised plans for the work. Once timescales are known we will update residents.

As part of the work on Rookery House we secured the creation of a café/community space. Sadly, this has yet to open, despite being fitted out. It’s been held up by a disagreement regarding the proposed community space above the café. We’ve been working to try and resolve the issues.

This has included speaking to Planning Enforcement regularly to demand the Council intervenes and enforce the planning conditions that includes useable community space AND café. These proposals must be delivered for local residents.

Residents can rest assured that we will not stop in our work to both deliver the improvements to Rookery Park and delivering the community space/café in the House.

For more from Erdington Ward Councillors Cllr Robert Alden and Cllr Gareth Moore visit www.facebook.com/ErdingtonNews