The February meeting of the Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership received an update on parking issues in the town centre.
Concern had been expressed that parking on both sides of Bell Street South was making the road difficult to navigate. Engineers from the council pointed out that parking limits had been planned for the street as part of the new Venture Way proposals. However, local councillors had opposed the Bell Street proposal as they felt workers needed somewhere to park. The restrictions were therefore not advanced.
Concern about parking of private hire cars at the upper end of the High Street (near Concord Market) had also been expressed, with a view that this was damaging the economic health of that part of the town as passing custom had no space to pull in. It was confirmed that this area was not a taxi rank. Private hire vehicles had to be treated in the same way as any other vehicle and subject to the same enforcement.
An increase in the weight limit of commercial vehicles has meant that older bridges throughout the country have had to be reassessed for safety.
Unfortunately edges of bridges are not as strong as middle, thus, “accidental wheel loading” – when vehicles go up on the pavement – is problematic. To prevent this, higher kerbs and shuttle signals have to be installed.
Moor Street railway bridge falls into this category and work will be carried out soon.
Temporary repairs – including buttressing – are to be undertaken on the wall in Church Street in front of the war memorial. The concrete blocks will, sadly, remain in place for the time being to protect members of the public from any falling masonry.
It had been hoped that a more permanent solution could be found with support from Advantage West Midlands, and the wall rebuilt at a cost of £2 million.
However, as a result of the demise of the regional development agency, new ways of tackling the problem will have to be sought.
Options being considered include reducing the height of the wall with a section of the historic brickwork being retained, Criblock or Gabions (see illustrations). These options will be cheaper and provide a potential solution, but, nevertheless are costly in themselves.
No decisions have been arrived at as yet and given the present state of public finance it may be some time before a permanent solution is arrived at.
Brierley Hill Area Action Plan – a key planning document which will guide future developments in the area – is reaching its final run in to adoption following an ‘Examination in Public’ held at Dudley Council House in December. Planners are now looking to formally adopt the plan this summer.
The proposed plan which will guide the creation of over 10,000 new jobs, a significant expansion of the Merry Hill Centre, the building of over 3,000 new homes in the area, and the introduction of more leisure and community facilities, was subject to questioning by Inspector Vincent Maher during a week of meetings and visits.
Community groups, council officials, traders, environmentalists, developers and landlords all attended the examination.
Overall the process was very positive – not a surprise given the amount of consultation that has taken place over the last decade.
Points of debate centred around how to improve public transport to the town, how to enhance the High Street, the impact of the introduction of car park charging at Merry Hill, how best to protect and enhance wildlife in the area and the role of manufacturing within the plan.
Mr Maher is now considering his report on whether the plan conforms to national requirements and is realistic in its delivery prospects. His report should be available at the end of this month, February.
All being well the plan should be ready for adoption this summer and the hard work of implementing it will gain a further boost.
As one of the key regeneration areas in the West Midlands Brierley Hill is expected to provide over 3,000 new homes, an increase in shopping facilites and 250 thousand square metres of new offices. Transport improvements are also planned.
Already new buildings have been constructed: the £25 million new Health and Social Care Centre, the Merry Hill £24 million food court ‘Eat Central, and the new Brierley Hill Creative Industries Campus for Stourbridge College. Improvements to transport are already underway with the completion of the £28 million Venture Way.
But it as old Brierley Hill, Merry Hill and the Waterfront are linked together it is important that the town looks and feels good, and there is a real positive sense of identity for residents and visitors.
One way of achieving this is to set out expectations that develpers will have to meet when designing new buildings. This is done througha ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ and Dudley Council is seeking views on what this should contain now.
You can read the document and questionnaire below and have your say by 18th October 2010. Enquiries should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stourbridge College has proved that it’s cutting edge when it comes to creative industries and its designs on a new campus are on track for success with work about to begin on the Venture Way site. The £12m investment in a new Centre in the heart of Brierley Hill is all set to contribute to the regeneration of the area and is the first phase in a rolling investment programme by one of the best performing colleges in the region. Continue reading COLLEGE VENTURE TAKES OFF
It blazed, it rained, it blew a gale… but still teams of treasure hunters from Brierley Hill and across Dudley Borough raced around historic Brierley Hill, along the Pony Trail route to search for clues and work out where the treasure is hidden. Winners of this event on 28 and 29 August to be announced shortly!
89% of people who gave feedback felt the Treasure Trail had increased their knowledge about the heritage in the area, 94% felt it had given them the opportunity to spend some quality time together as a family.
“We had a lot of fun! Something great to do”
“An enjoyable morning out with the family”
It’s not too late to do the Treasure Trail yourself before the ponies are moved and auctioned off in a couple of weeks!
Download a free copy of the Treasure Trail here (best printed to A3). You can also download the answers to see how you got on!
Over 100 local people also took part in an English Heritage survey about living and visiting historic Brierley Hill using a digital touch screen kiosk. There will be more opportunities to have your say over the next few months – so look out for a silver inflatable tent and lots of free balloons! Dates and locations will be posted on the blog – so watch this space!
On 2nd September Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership received a presentation on how the drawing up of new guidelines for Brierley Hill. View the presentation below. If you want to take part in the consultation they you can do so by going to the website:
http://www.dudley.gov.uk/environment–planning/planning/local-development-framework/bhill-urb-des Power Point Presentation – 021092010
How should buildings in the new Brierley Hill look? How can design influence the ‘feel’ and viability of a town centre? Can crime be designed out?
Brierley Hill Civic Society will be having a presentation from Dudley Council on these matters on Monday 19th July at 5.30pm at St Michael’s, Brierley Hill. If you are interested in the future of your town please come and join us. The council’s website explains the process of drawing up the ‘Supplementary Planning Document and this will be a chance to have your say…Continue reading Urban Design in Brierley Hill Town Centre: event and consultation