A Greener Brierley Hill and Preserving Our Heritage: Civic Society Agenda for 19th October

Pete Boland, head of Dudley Council’s Conservation team, and Nikki Dale, senior planning policy officer will be star speakers at the next meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society on 19th October.  Pete will be talking about the proposals to create a conservation area in Brierley Hill High Street, whilst Nikki will be talking about proposals to create green wildlife corridors in Brierley Hill.  Both Pete and Nikki are fascinating speakers and all are welcome to attend the meeting which starts at 5.30pm at St Michaels Church.  For an agenda and notes of the previous meeting read on…


  1. Apologies
  2. Notes of the previous meeting
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Guest speakers – we have two terrific guest speakers:
    1. Nikki Dale from Dudley MBC will be attending the meeting to talk about the Green Corridors in the soon to be published Brierley Hill Area Action Plan.  How do we make Brierley Hill an even more environmentally sustainable and practical place to live?
    2. Pete Boland, head of Dudley’s Conservation team, will talk to us about the rationale and implications of creating a conservation area in Brierley Hill High Street.
  5. Constitution
  6. Any other business
  7. Date of next meeting: Monday 16th November 2009, 5.30pm, St Michael’s Church

Notes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on 21st September 2009 at St Michael’s Church commencing at 5.30pm


Beryl Biggs, Ron Biggs, Shane Birch-Bastock, Joy Cooper, Beryl Fisher, Barry Gilbert, Sue Greenaway, Matthew Hyde, Karen Jordan, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Rosemary Tomkinson


Judy Foster, Alan Gill, Rachel Harris, Zafar Islam, Stephen Masters, Allan Miles

Notes of the previous meeting

The notes of the previous meeting were agreed.

Matters arising

1. Pamela Smith had agreed to  give a presentation to the Civic Society.  This was the main item on the agenda for this meeting.
2. Vic Reid of Dudley College had confirmed that the College intended to dispose of the Glass Centre building following the transfer of its courses to Dudley.  The Civic Society could have access to the building to record its interior and a contact name had been provided to this end.
3. Nikki Thomas, planning policy officer has agreed to address one of the Society’s future meetings on the green corridor proposals in the Area Action Plan.
4. The conservation division of the council’s planning department had expressed excitement at the formation of the Civic Society and agreed to try and get a speaker to our next meeting.
5. Those present who attended the National Youth Theatre’s performance of ‘Flight’ in August informed the meeting of the high quality of the performance and how good it was to see the positive collaboration between the Youth Theatre and Age Concern/Help the Aged.

Pamela Smith

Pamela Smith was welcomed to the meeting and gave a presentation on her work.

By profession Pam is a horticulturist. Whilst working for the Botanical Gardens at the University of Birmingham she had developed walks, pamphlets and talks on horticulture in an urban environment. Building on history and stories of the roots of folklore Pam had decides to start her own freelance consultancy. Earlier this year she had developed a walk in the Bent Street and Bank Street area of Brierley Hill as part of a presentation to a RegenWM seminar being held at the Waterfront.

The walk had used local plant life – often unnoticed by people rushing about their daily lives – to highlight topics such as Darwin’s voyages on the Beagle, why folklore has it that taking Hawthorn into your home is bad luck (smells like plague ridden corpses!), using Elderflower for food and drink, and even a tree once thought to be extinct at the entrance to Bank Street car park.

The good news was that funding had been awarded by the University of Birmingham to develop a new walk in the Black Country. Pam has chosen Brierley Hill as the focus for the walk.

Pam will be talking to local schools, creating a display and publishing her local work. She encouraged all interested to get in touch.

After enthusiastic discussion and questions the Society expresses their thanks to Pam for her work.


Tim Sunter talked about setting up a ‘blog’ to share news and information amongst organisations in Brierley Hill. The concept was that of a community notice boards with news from each organisation. The ethos would be positive with a style similar to the reports which used to be given in the old County Express – before the days of sensationalism.

The blog would run for an initial trial of six months, after which a decision could be made on whether to continue with it or not.

The Town Centre Partnership had already agreed to give it a go. The meeting agreed to try the blog out.

Future meetings

After discussion of the problems of finding a convenient meeting time and venue satisfactory to all it was agreed to meet on the third Monday of each month at 5.30 pm. The next three meetings would be held at St Michaels Church.

Topics for future meetings were suggested (in no particular priority) as the history of Brierley Hill, famous people in the churchyard, the story of the local glass industry, old photographs.


A draft constitution had been drawn up based on that of St Ives Civic Society by the simple expediency of replacing the words ‘St Ives’ with the words ‘Brierley Hill’.

Whilst this was fine for a start there were some questions which would need further discussion. For example: should there be a membership fee? What should constitute a quorum? If the society applies for charitable status who would be the trustees?

It was agreed to post the draft on the blog with a list of questions for members to consider before our next meeting.

Any Other Business

There were no other items of any other business and the meeting closed on schedule at 7.30pm.

Date and time of next meeting

Monday 19th October 2009 commencing at 5.30 pm at St Michaels Church.

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