Civic Society meeting – Monday 17th March 2014, 5.30pm, St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South


Brierley Hill Civic Society
Brierley Hill Civic Society

The next meeting of the Civic Society will take place on Monday 17th March 2014 at St Michael¹s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill.  It will commence at 5.30pm.

Please note:

1.    The next meeting of the Society will be on 19th May.  There will be no April meeting as this clashes with Easter Monday bank holiday.

2.    We do not have a main speaker for this meeting and this will give us a chance to determine our activities for the coming 12 months. So please come armed with lots of ideas!

The agenda for the meeting will be:

1.    Apologies

2.    Minutes of the previous meeting (below)

3.    Matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda

4.    Correspondence

5.    Treasurer¹s report

6.    Future plans

  • a.    Establishing a budget
  • b.    Speakers
  • c.     Activiities

d.    National Trust Visit (as part of our membership of Civic Voice)

e.    Conservation and regeneration

f.      Any other ideas

7.    Brierley Hill SNOW

8.    2014 Christmas Festival

9.    Brierley Hill in Bloom

10. Information Exchange

11. Any Other Urgent Business

I do hope you can make the meeting and look forward to seeing you on Monday.

Minutes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on Monday, 17th February 2014, at St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill, commencing at 5.30pm.

Speaker: Ian Harvey – The Civic Movement – Past, Present and Future

Ian Harvey, director of Civic Voice addressed the meeting.  He outlined the origins of the movement in Rochdale in 1846 and moved through the establishment of the Civic Trust in 1957 to its demise in 2011 and the birth of Civic Voice.

The membership of Civic Societies was strongly skewed towards the over 55s and moves were afoot to make it more reflective of society as a whole.

Civic Societies undertook a great deal of work reflecting their members¹ pride in their local communities.  It was a respected movement and provided a mechanism for ensuring that local people had a voice.  It was a proactive movement too which gave it a special status in the minds of key influencers.  Ian outlined many of the activities which societies across the country were involved in and distributed a leaflet setting out 101 ways groups could improve their communities.

Ian¹s talk was well received and the Society thanked him with a round of applause.


Shane Bastock, Beryl Biggs, Beryl Fisher, Judy Foster, Rachel Harris, Peter Hobbs, Zafar Islam, John Martin, Steven Martin, Rosemary Tomkinson


Joy Cooper, Beryl Fisher, Ray Gibbs, Rachel Harris, John James, Karen Jordan, Betsy Lafferty, Tim Lee, Lorne Morrison, Maggie Norton, Ray Norton, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Dennis Whittaker

Minutes of the previous meeting and AGM

The minutes of the previous meeting (January) and of the 2013 AGM had been circulated and were agreed as a true record.


JS reported that the only correspondence received since the last meeting were emails from Civic Voice covering a range of topics.  JS asked that if anyone wished to view these, or to receive them directly from Civic Voice then please let her know.

Treasurer’s report

Dennis Whittaker reported that the Society had £741.22 in the bank, £36.71 unbanked, making a total of £741.22.  Commitments were £50 to TS and £60 to St Michael’s.  The meeting thanks Dennis for his work throughout the year.

Election of Officers

The following were duly proposed, seconded and elected as officers of the Society:

Chair – Tim Sunter

Vice-Chair – Shane Birch-Bastock

Secretary – Jenny Sunter

Treasurer – Dennis Whittaker

Christmas Festival 2014

Jenny Sunter updated the meeting on Christmas 2014.

It was aimed to repeat many of the events which took place so successfully in 2013.  Meetings had been arranged with the local authority and it was hoped that this year¹s festival would be easier to organise now the event had been established.

Brierley Hill in Bloom

Tim Sunter gave the latest news on Brierley Hill in Bloom.

£7,500 of funding has been identified to support the project.  Birmingham Metropolitan College students were growing the flowers for planting out and the local authority had agreed to be responsible for the planters.  Help would be needed in looking after the flowers once they were in place and individuals and groups would be asked to sponsor/adopt a planter to look after.  Julie Stepney from the market had agreed to draft a leaflet setting out the plans.

Information Exchange

1. Westfield had put its share of the Merry Hill Centre up for sale to Intu.  It was noted that when Westfield had purchased Merry Hill from Chelsfield that they had indicated that they rarely if ever sold any of its portfolio.  However they had now sold the Broadmarsh Centre in Nottingham and were looking at disposing of their Derby interest as well.  The impact of the sale on the regeneration proposals for Brierley Hill will need to be monitored.

2. Point North had been sold by the Richardsons.  A plan had been submitted to turn the iconic office block into flats.  Most of these appeared to be one bedroomed and the market for these was questioned.

3. Homes and Community Agency had placed two properties for sale (Dog and Partridge and Lloyds carpets) for sale on the High Street.  These had originally been purchased as to assemble land for the Brierley Hill Area Action Plan.  It was disappointing that were being disposed of as it would add greatly to the timescale for any future development proposal. It was also noted that Portas money which had been denied to Brierley Hill by the local authority had  been focused on Dudley Town Centre had not been spent.

4. TL reported that Clean Power had submitted an appeal against the council¹s refusal of its planning application.  He outlined the concerns which had been expressed about the application including the proximity of the site to local homes and a large increase in heavy traffic in the area. An action group had been formed and meetings had been held through the local councillors with planning officials to discuss how local residents could feed into the appeals process.  A public meeting has been called to garner support and a campaign of petitions, letter writing and posters was planned.

5. RH reported on the situation with respect to RDF. The owners of the site were keen to remove the waste mountain and there were ongoing conversations on how this could best be done and at whose cost.  RH agreed to keep the Society informed on this matter.

A great deal of concern was expressed at progress in regenerating the town centre.  It was agreed to invite Cllr Judy Foster to address the Society on this at a future meeting.

The Society unanimously expressed its opposition to the Clean Power planning application.

Any Other Urgent Business

There was no other urgent business.

Date of Next Meeting

Monday 17th March 2014

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