Civic Society minutes 15th June 2015

IMG_0273Minutes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on Monday 15th June 2015 at St Michael’s Church commencing at 6pm.


Geoff Attwood, Janet Attwood, Beryl Biggs, Joy Cooper, Stephen Dunn, John James, Betsy Lafferty, Tim Lee, Maggie Norton, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Prue Warne, Dennis Whittaker


Rachel Harris, Zafar Islam, John Martin, Lorna Morrison

Review of criteria for local listing of building

Jayne Pilkington and David Piper from the conservation and planning policy sections of the council addressed the meeting on proposed changes to the criteria for local listing of building.

TS explained that DMBC had kindly agreed to consider any response from the Civic Society as the date of the presentation occurred after the consultation close date. DP confirmed that he would be happy to consider any submission as long as it was received by the end of June.

The following topics were covered in the presentation and questioning:

  • It has been prompted by Historic England issuing a new set of guidance for locally listed buildings;
  • It was the first review since DMBC had helped pioneer local lists in 1996. It was felt that developers might be able to successful challenge the protections provided by the list unless the council could show the criteria were up to date;
  • The present list of criteria for local listing was rather vague and it this needed tightening;
  • Consequently the new list of criteria was much lengthier and detailed
  • Marsh Park is not designated as a war memorial park. TS to send JP details of its history.
  • It was proposed to remove local listing status from buildings within conservation areas. Conservation area status held greater protection than local listed.
  • There was some unease about the removal of such buildings from the local list as it might weaken any arguement for protection of such a building – particularly when properties in conservation areas were of varying historic and architectural merit.
  • The criterion regarding local or regionally active architects could be too restrictive. The example of the Pugin designed Catholic Church in Brierley Hill was given as an example of where the architect had national signigicance.
  • Discussion of how the list could be enforced. The recent sale of The Plough was given as an example. The new owners had not been told of its designation and when skips had turned up to enable its demolition conservation officers had had to move fast to ensure that no such demolition took place.
  • The importance of informing the conservation officer when buildings came under threat – she had not been aware of the pending auction of The Plough, for example – although society members had been.
  • The possible extension of the Conservation Area to cover The Adelaide/Talbot Street area was discussed.

At the end of the presentation the meeting thanked JP and DP for their talk.

Because of the length of the presentation the rest of the meeting was dealt with at a brisk pace.

It was agreed that TL would draft a respone on behalf of the Society.

Minutes of the previous meeting

These had been circulated in advance and were agreed. TS informed the meeting that there had been some discussion regarding the inclusion of notes from the NHR meetings and subsequent press coverage. It was agreed that at a future meeting the approach to what was included in the minutes would be discussed.


JS reported there was no urgent correspondence.

Treasurer’s report

DW informed the branch that has £410.43

Trees in Marsh Park

The meeting was shown pictures of damage done to trees on Marsh Park, at St Michael’s Church and at The Moor Centre, by dog being trained to attack. The police had been informed about this matter. The damage to the trees was significant and there was a high possiblity that they would consequently die.

The Society expressed its concern at this matter and offered its support to any action Friends of Marsh Park wished to take. DW to follow up.

Various items and future meetings

TS reported that:

  • It was hoped to represent the Jordan/Gibbons painting to the town at our September meeting.
  • That the flats were pressing ahead with the 50th anniversary celebrations. The next event would be an family fun day on 5th September at Lawyers Field/South Street Baptist Church. Our September meeting would also include a talk on the history of the flats and Chapel Street tenants in particular would be invited to the meeting.
  • The Black Country Bugle had published a letter regarding the Brierley Hill Pioneers who had left the town in 1854 and helped to found Nanaimo on Vancouver island. TS had written to the museum and it had been agreed that they would give a talk at our October meeting via Skype.
  • Keith Hodgkins had agreed to talk on the “Last Days of Round Oak” at our meeting in November.

Organisation Sub-Committee

TL reported on the meeting which had taken place on 3rd June at the Bull and Bladder:

  • The planters for Brierley Hill in Bloom had now been restocked including the new ones on Venture Way.
  • Plans continued to extend the planting through the town.
  • DMBC had kindly agreed to keep the plants watered.
  • Thought was being given to a guerilla gardening project for the planters outside the gym and Mecca.
  • There was a desire to build on the previous work undertaken for the Christmas Festival including the Civic Centre.
  • A follow up meeting was taking place on 3rd July at noon at the Civic Centre to take these matters further.

Visit to the archives

The next meeting of the Society would be a visit and tour of Dudley Archives. This will take place on Monday 20th July at 6pm. A charge of £4 per member would be in place. There is a maximum number of 25 that the archives can accommodate, so it was important that members indicate whether they would attend before the invitation is extended. All members present indicated that they would be attending.

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