OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pic supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

As your local MP representing Erdington, Kingstanding, and Castle Vale, I care about the issues that affect you and our community. Here are some of the things I have done in the past month:

I recently hosted a meeting with Simon Foster, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Chief Superintendent Richard North, local traders, and officials from Birmingham City Council. 

We discussed the ongoing issues of crime and antisocial behaviour on Erdington High Street.

Importantly, they heard concerns from our traders, recognising the need for more robust measures to enhance security and enforcement, and the need to work more closely to combat crime in the area.

I was also approached by traders on Slade Road who raised concerns about issues they were experiencing, including theft, antisocial behaviour, and the presence of sex workers. I empathised with the challenges facing local traders and will be following up on their concerns and working towards a constructive solution. 

I recently participated in a National Day of Action for Safer Streets to prevent road accidents, injuries, and deaths. As part of this effort, I’m backing the campaign to reduce speeds to 30mph on local roads. I would urge everyone to have their say by taking part in the consultation – please do get in touch if you want to know more. 

Despite 13 years of Conservative cuts to policing, I will not give up on fighting crime and antisocial behaviour in our area. I will keep working to secure the resources we need to keep our community safe. 

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

OPINION: A message from Paulette Hamilton, MP for Erdington

Pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP

Last week, a local resident told me that their 70 year old father “carries a personal attack alarm when he goes on his morning walk” and despite installing home security, does not sleep well at night. There are many people across our community who share the same concerns – that they feel unsafe and want more to be done.

Since 2010, the Tories have cut £175million from the West Midlands Police Budget that has led to over 2,200 fewer police officers, hundreds of police staff jobs slashed, and the closure of many police stations – most recently for our community in Kingstanding, where the station is currently being sold off.

The reality of more than a decade of cuts to policing has been devastating for Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale.

Our community ranks as the second highest in the West Midlands for reported crime, and as crime hits a 20 year high, the number of people being charged is falling to a record low in England and Wales. Criminals are being let off and victims are feeling let down.

Recently, at a meeting I arranged in Stockland Green with residents’ groups and businesses on Slade Road, Birmingham City Council confirmed that they would be installing new CCTV cameras in the area. The announcement came as a huge relief to local people and traders as the CCTV cameras will help monitor and deter criminal behaviour, as well as assist the police when it comes to catching offenders.

In other parts of our community, despite their limited resources, I have been working with local police teams and held similar meetings to address crime and antisocial behaviour in Erdington and Castle Vale.

In Kingstanding, people have told me that following the closure of many youth clubs, young people have been left with nowhere to go. Our communities were once home to locally run youth centres that provided activities and a safe space for young people.

Sadly, 13 years of devastating Tory government cuts have decimated our youth services with £1billion cut from youth funding, over 4,500 youth work jobs lost, and 760 youth centres closed nationally.

The first duty of the government is to keep people safe and our country secure – this is the foundation and the test for any government – but the Tories have failed.

13 years of Tory failure have left many communities, like ours, worse off and it will be left to a Labour government to pick up the pieces. For me and many others, that can’t come soon enough.

For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org

NEWS: Local businesses invited to hear ‘10 point plan’ to tackle crime on Erdington High Street – meeting on Thursday 23 March

Words & pics by Ed King

On Thursday 23 March, local businesses and retailers are invited to a meeting with Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police, to hear their combined ’10 point plan’ to tackle crime on Erdington High Street and in the Town Centre.

Crime and antisocial behaviour have become key concerns in the central Erdington shopping district, with High Street retailers losing thousands each week to shoplifters and many local residents feeling unsafe to visit the area.

Organised by the Erdington Business Improvement District (BID) and Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, the meeting is a continuation of consultations between the elected officials and the local business community – this month to be held at Oikos Café and Church at 6pm on Thursday 23 March.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the EBID to register a place by emailing [email protected] or sending a message through their Facebook page – click here.

Local businesses and retailers can also secure a place at the meeting by emailing Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton’s office at [email protected]

Promoting the event, a message on the Erdington BID Facebook page said: “The next police and crime meeting, focusing on Erdington Town Centre will take place on Thursday March 23rd at Oikos Church, Erdington High Street at 6pm.

“West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council will be talking through their 10 point plan to help improve the High Street moving forward.”

Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton added: “At my previous meeting in February, I heard many local traders talk about the problems they are facing on the High Street. There is no doubt that something needs to be done to improve the situation if we want to prevent more shops from closing.

“This week, I have called a follow-up meeting with local businesses and look forward to hearing about Birmingham City Council’s action plan for our High Street.

“I’m pleased that we are making progress and I hope to see as many local businesses as possible at the meeting.”

Erdington suffers with a higher than average crime rate across the city, with an already stretched local police force facing a huge challenge with limited resources.

Since 2010, police teams across the region have been decimated by budget cuts – losing around 50% of officers dedicated to neighbourhood and community policing.

But in a recent meeting Chief Constable Craig Guildford maintained his force’s commitment to “…providing the best service we can to the residents, business owners, and any visitors to the High Street in Erdington.”

He added: “I definitely need people to report (crimes), to ring 999, if there’s a shoplifter detained that kicking off or assaulting anybody.

“And at the same time, I’d also encourage you to engage the BID and encourage the local businesses to work with the BID as well.”

To secure a place at the crime strategy meeting at Oikos Café on Thursday 23 March, at 6pm, email [email protected] or [email protected]

For more on the Erdington BID visit www.erdingtonhighstreet.co.uk or www.facebook.com/erdingtonBID  
For more from Paulette Hamilton visit www.paulettehamilton.org

For more on Oikos Café visit www.oikoscafe.co.uk

If you have been a victim of crime on Erdington High Street we want to hear your story – please get in touch with us at: [email protected]

NEWS: Local businesses invited to MP meeting about crime on Erdington High Street – to be held on Tuesday 14 February

Words & pics by Ed King

On Tuesday 14 February, local businesses and High Street retailers have been invited to attend a meeting to discuss crime and anti-social behaviour within the Erdington Shopping district.

Organised by the Erdington Business Improvement District (EBID) and Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, the meeting will be held at St Barnabas Church in the evening – with all local shop owners, workers, and businesses invited.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact the EBID to register a place by emailing [email protected] or calling (0121) 306 4270.

Erdington Town Centre and EBID Manager, John Hodgkiss, told Erdington Local: “I organised the meeting on the request of Paulette (Hamilton), to discuss the current crime situation in the town centre.

“Initially, it was to focus on the 6 Ways end of the High Street which seems to be having more problems in general.

“I visited them all last week to invite, but as a result I’m expecting that retailers from all over will attend.

“It’s essentially as a result of Erdington losing out on the Levelling Up funding. Paulette (Hamilton) wanted to look at more focussed projects including crime, retail, and the local economy, and push on with these as soon as possible.”

Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton added: “I’ve called a meeting with local businesses along Erdington High Street to discuss how we can tackle the issues they are facing and work together to secure the investment our High Street desperately needs.

“Erdington High Street is the heart and soul of our community, but sadly it’s been in decline for many years.

“As more shops close, the area has become a magnet for antisocial behaviour that has resulted in the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order.

“The latest blow came from the Government after they recently rejected our Levelling Up Fund application that would have transformed our High Street, and we’re still fighting to stop the approval of an eighth betting shop.

“It’s important that we all work together to make Erdington a better place and I hope to see as many local businesses as possible at the meeting (on Tuesday 14 February).”

Once one of the busiest roads in Birmingham, the Erdington shopping district has been blighted with crime and antisocial behaviour in recent years – with many people now avoiding the area due to concerns over street drinking, drug dealing, and harassment on the High Street.

Retailers are under daily siege from shoplifters, with a lack of any firm police presence giving criminals a green light to keep offending – according to High Street shop staff and security.

Several key shops have further closed their doors for good after the Covid lockdowns, with even major banks pulling down their shutters and leaving Erdington Town Centre.

But despite two recent rejections for Levelling Up Fund (LUF) money, and a previous rejection from the Future High Streets Fund in December 2022, there are still locally led plans in place to help regenerate the High Street.

Even though the project was a key part of the recent LUF application, Witton Lodge Community Association remain committed to transforming the old swimming baths into an Enterprise Hub – with ambitious plans to create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities at the currently disused site.

St Barnabas are continuing to explore alternative funding to renovate their churchyard, a regeneration project that again would have been significantly supported by the LUF bid.

Whilst Central Square is turning over a new leaf, with the old shopping centre owners investing in a significant makeover and letting new units.

The meeting on Tuesday 14 February will be a chance for local businesses and retailers to voice their concerns over High Street crime directly to the Erdington MP and Businesses Improvement District.

Erdington Local will be meeting with West Midlands Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford on 28 February, to further discuss crime on the High Street.

If you have been a victim of crime on Erdington High Street we want to hear your story – please get in touch with us at: [email protected]