Brierley Hill Civic Society, Monday 16th November, St Michael’s Church, 5.30pm

You are invited to a meeting of the Brierley Hill Civic Society to take place at 5.30pm on Monday 16th November 2009 at St Michael’s Church, Brierley Hill.

Please note: Steve Greaves from Dudley College will open up the former Glass Centre in Moor Street at 4.30pm prior to the meeting to give us a chance to take photographs, look around, inspect etc.  All welcome to attend!  Meet at the Glass Centre.

The agenda for the meeting and notes of our October meeting are given below.

I look forward to seeing you on Monday – 4.30 for Glass Centre visit, 5.30 for the meeting.

Kind regards,


Agenda – Brierley Hill Civic Society – 16th November 2009

1. Apologies

2. Notes of the previous meeting

3. Matters Arising

4. Dudley College Glass Centre

5. St Michael’s Church

6. Civic Society Constitution

7. Arts Activities in Brierley Hill

8. Area Action Plan – response to consultation

9. Any Other Business

Notes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on 19th October 2009 at St Michael’s Church, Brierley Hill, commencing at 5.30pm


  Beryl Biggs; Ron Biggs; Pete Boland; Joy Cooper; Nicki Dale; Beryl Fisher; Barry Gilbert; Sue Greenaway; Rachel Harris; Doug James; Stephen Masters; Jenny Sunter; Tim Sunter; Rosemary Tomkinson      


  Judy Foster; Zafar Islam; Allan Miles

Notes of the previous meeting

  The notes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record.

Matters Arising

There had been an unfortunate misunderstanding on the visit to the glass museum.  TS had been awaiting a confirmatory reply to an email that the event was on, whilst Steve Greaves from Dudley College had assumed that the event had been taking place and had turned up to open the building.  Fortunately Barry Gilbert had been there so the event was not all wasted.  Barry told the meeting that the inside of the building had many fine features and that there was a risk that some of these must be at risk of being lost or damaged. 

Action: Peter Boland, the council’s conservation officer, agreed to contact Stephen Masters to explore the history of the building to add to the case for extra statutory protection.  Tim Sunter to contact the college to arrange for a visit to take place to record the inside of the building.

Pam Smith was pressing on with her work on creating the Brierley Hill walk.  TS commented that a leaflet had been pushed through his door promoting the project.

Speaker: Nicki Dale – Green Corridors

Bats, Kingfishers, Water voles and other special species will get their own regeneration proposals with the new Brierley Hill Area Action Plan to be published by Dudley Council on 30th November.

Nicki Dale, principle planning officer with Dudley Council, described the surprising number special species of wildlife which have been identified in the area.  These include bats, black redstarts, dingy skippers, great crested newts with little legs, green hairstreaks, kingfishers and water voles.

Regeneration proposals for the area anticipate £1.5 billion of investment over the next 17 years and will see over 3000 new homes being built, new large scale office developments, new education, health and leisure facilities  and 65,000 square metres of retail development at Merry Hill – making Brierley Hill one of the top 20 regenerations schemes nationwide.

The scale of the plans make it important to protect and enhance wildlife in the area and to recognise the importance of a green environment to enhance the quality of life of residents in the area.

Nicki said “The strategy aims to preserve important areas, seek mitigation for any damage and deliver enhancements to create an overall positive balance”

Three local areas – Fens Pool, the Delph Locks and Saltwells Wood – have already been recognised at national and international level as sites of special interest and provided with protection.

The new plan for Brierley Hill will seek to link these three areas with wildlife corridors running along the canal, beside local streets and railways and through developments.  Attention will be given to providing appropriate plant life along the routes to encourage the special species to flourish.

Developers will be required to contribute towards the provision of the site through contributions or by incorporating the plans into their developments.

Members of the Civic Society welcomed the proposals outlined by Nicki and thanked her for her inspiring presentation.

Nicki’s presentation can be found to download on the Brierley Hill Blog website,  The draft area action plan will be published on 30th November and members of the public will have the chance to comment until 15th January 2010.

Speaker: Pete Boland – Brierley Hill High Street Conservation Area

Pete Boland, Principle Conservation Officer at Dudley Council told the meeting that the designation of Brierley Hill High Street as a conservation area will help to maintain the best of its buildings and provide a framework for the much needed improvements in the area – supporting the development of a special Brierley Hill sense of place as the regeneration of the area progresses – said Pete Boland, Principle Conservation Officer at Dudley Council in addressing the town’s new Civic Society.

Mr Boland showed slides illustrating the characterisation research which had taken place prior to designating the area as a conservation area. These revealed a surprising number of high quality, attractive buildings which gave an insight into the historic development of the area and gave Brierley Hill a character of its own.

The distinctive quality buildings will be afforded extra protection as a conservation area and plans will be taken forward to improve the environment in the High Street, integrate new development appropriately to maintain the distinctiveness of the town – by for example using local materials for construction- and will be underpinned by the use of planning controls.

An action plan has been produced and a grant application has been made to the Regional Development Agency for funding to commence the environmental improvements.

The meeting thanked Peter for his interesting and informative presentation


A draft Brierley Hill Civic Society Constitution had been produced based on Wells Civic Society.  A copy of this had been put on the website for download. Action: members were asked to view this before the next meeting and send any comments they had to A new organisation – the Civic Society Initiative – had been set up to replace the insolvent Civic Trust at national level.  A copy of their discussion document "Own The Future" had been produced and this is available for download on their website  The CSI are a potential sources of advice and support to the society.


Doug James spoke about the need in the area for improved Arts activities, particularly involving the schools and young people.

TS commented that some work had been done on this by the Brierley Hill Regeneration Partnership and a report from the consultancy "The White Room" was available on the Brierley Hill Blog Website.  Some follow up work had been undertaken since then to move matters forwards.

Action: DJ and JS to meet to look at this issue and to report back at the next meeting.

Any Other Business

Thanks were offered to Beryl, Joy and Barry for the provision of tea, coffee and a meeting room.

A room collection was held to contribute towards the costs of the meeting.

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