National Express West Midlands, which operates local buses, has started a consultation on possible changes to bus routes in south Birmingham. This could affect routes used by Kings Heath residents.
The rationale for the change is that journey times into the city by bus have increased dramatically over the past ten years. National Express argues that this has resulted in 4 per cent fewer passengers over the past three years.
More people opting to travel by car instead of by bus obviously adds to problems of air pollution.
In order to address these issues, National Express is considering a number of options including abolishing route 27 and arranging for it to be replaced by changes to other routes.
The proposals are outlined here. There is a link on that page to a survey relating to the proposals.
There has been a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in place for Kings Heath High Street and Moseley for several months. The original news item about the consultation prior to the introduction of the PSPO can be seen here. Birmingham City Council is looking to extend this PSPO.
The original Order expires on 25 September 2017. The draft of the revised Order can be read in full here.
The text explains that the purpose is to restrict activities ‘that have had or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’. The Locality is defined as Kings Heath High Street. The activities being targeted include:
Anti-social behaviour caused by groups of people or individuals in public spaces;
Threats of or use of violence;
Possession of goods, items or materials used for unauthorised graffiti;
If you want to make a comment as part of the consultation process, you can find details here.
A new Draft 2026 Delivery Plan for Transport across the west midlands has been put out for consultation. The plan has been prepared by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and is described as setting out ‘the schemes which will deliver a large amount of the Combined Authority’s long term transport strategy Movement for Growth’.
From Kings Heath residents’ point of view, one of the surprising aspects of the report is that Kings Heath is mentioned very few times. The proposed new railway station at Kings Heath is included (page 6) while the number 50 bus route is identified as a corridor which should be studied to ‘identify potential improvements’ (page 13).
However, the fact that Kings Heath is rarely mentioned in the document offers a possible benefit. One of the key factors appears to be that a number of transport ‘corridors’ are being proposed, none of which include the A435 (Alcester Road South and High Street, Kings Heath).
The Kings Heath Residents’ Forum (KHRF) has seized on this as evidence that the A435 should be downgraded and categorised as unsuitable for heavy through traffic. This would provide an opportunity to ban HGVs from Kings Heath unless they are making deliveries. Among the benefits of such a policy would be an improvement in traffic safety and a reduction in air pollution.
The KHRF will monitor the response of TfWM to submissions and, if necessary, make further representations.
There are various nuisance behaviours which have been giving concern on Kings Heath High Street and in Moseley Village. Currently these areas are part of an Alcohol Restriction Area. The City Council and Police are proposing to replace this with a new Order under recent laws to pick up a wider number of problem behaviours. This Public Space Protection Order would give the Police additional powers to stop harassment, verbal abuse, threats of violence, carrying open bottles or cans of alcohol, possessing or using “intoxicating substances” (mainly drugs) and making graffiti. Views from the public are being sought by Friday 11 March 2016.
The widening of Police powers to intervene under this Order is likely to be warmly welcomed by the Forum. However, there is concern at the drafting of certain sections. We are likely to suggest some changes to make it clear that it does not prohibit peaceful gatherings and peaceful protest, that “verbal abuse” is defined, that it does not prohibit the collection of empty cans, that it does not prohibit “authorised” graffiti and that reasonable cafe style outdoor drinking on privately owned spaces or organised events (e.g. the Hare and Hounds, the Village Square, Street Fair, etc.) is not prohibited.
The public have to be consulted before this Order can be made so your views are important.
To have your say in support or against this Order by Friday 11 March 2016, go to the Birmingham Be Heard website.