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.
For more information:
Main Transport for West Midlands website
Consultation draft document
Proposed transport corridors
Obstructions on the pavements in Kings Heath High Street have been annoying residents for several years. Recently, the road safety group within the Kings Heath Forum took up the problem with local councillors and Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service.
There are a number of issues covered by this subject but they all relate to one concern: whether there is enough space available for people with limited mobility, visual impairment or parents with push-chairs.
The restrictions usually have one of three causes:
- parking on pavements
- ‘A boards’ outside shops
- work on pavements by the utility companies
It has been difficult to get any solid information so far but it seems that there is a standard that should be applied. In areas with few pedestrians such as the High Street near Sports Direct, there must be a 1.2 metre (almost 4 feet) width of pavement available free of obstructions. In areas with more people moving around, the minimum is 2 metres (about 6 feet 6 inches).
One of the difficulties is that there seems to be some confusion over who should be enforcing these standards. A statement from Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service seems to suggest that enforcement is a matter for the Police although the highway authority can remove ‘A boards’.
However, the statement also said that local traders agreed at a meeting ‘several years ago’ to self-police the ‘A board’ problem. Since then, it has been suggested that Amey, which is the highways maintenance contractor for Birmingham, has a contractual responsibility for making sure that pavements are kept clear. This has yet to be absolutely confirmed.
The difficulty now seems to be that the traders’ agreement is being overlooked and ‘A boards’ are being positioned in such a way as to obstruct pavements. As a result, the available width of pavement is narrower than it should be.
In February the Residents’ Forum asked Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service a number of questions in relation to this issue and suggested that clear guidance should be produced for local businesses.
As yet, no further information has been provided. When it is, an update will be posted.
This event is an opportunity for residents to meet Amey and see what their planned works are for footways, pathways and cycleways over the next five years. You’ll be able to discuss the proposed footway and road programme with Amey contractors and local councillors.
The event is on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 at Kings Heath Community Centre, 8 Heathfield Road, B14 7DB and starts at 6pm.