Brierley Hill Civic Society has unanimously backed local residents objecting to the Clean Power proposals for a waste to energy plant at Moor Street Brierley Hill. Amongst the reasons it gives are a large increase in heavy vehicles in the area, an over intensification of the site for waste management purposes (the area has already been blighted by the RDF wast mountain) and loss of amenity for residents living close to the site.
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.
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:
2. Minutes of the previous meeting (below)
3. Matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda
5. Treasurer¹s report
6. Future plans
a. Establishing a budget
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.
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.
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.
Brierley Hill Civic Society – Monday 17th February 2014, 5.30pm, St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill
You are cordially invited to attend the next meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society on Monday 17th February 2014 commencing at 5.30pm at St Michael’s Church.
This meeting will be our AGM and we are hugely privileged to have Ian Harvey, the national director of Civic Voice, the umbrella organisation for Civic Societies, as our main speaker. Ian will be speaking on:
‘ The Civic Society Movement – Past, Present and Future’
I am sure that this will be fantastic talk and a good chance to hear what is happening elsewhere in the country.
The agenda for the meeting will be:
Ian Harvey: The Civic Society Movement – Past, Present and Future
Minutes of previous meeting (AGM 2013 and Jan 2014 – see below)
Election of officers
Brierley Hill in Bloom update
Merry Hill sale
Point North Flats
HCA properties in High Street
Any Other Urgent Business
Date of Next Meeting – Monday 27th March 2014
Minutes of the AGM of Brierley Hill Civic Society Held on Monday 18th February 2013 at St Michael’s Church Hall, commencing at 5.30pm
Geoff Attwood, Janet Attwood, Shane Birch-Bastock, Joy Cooper, Beryl Fisher, Kathy Garton, John James, Stephen Masters, Pat McAlpin, Maggie Norton, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Rosemary Tomkinson, Dennis Whittaker,
The minutes of the AGM held on 20th Feb 2012 were agreed as a true record.
Minutes of the 17th September 2012 meeting were agreed as a true record.
The chair reminded members of the successful events which had been organised by the Civic Society in the previous 12 months. Speaking events had been particularly successful with Geoff Tristram, Ned Williams and Michael Taylor all having made excellent contributions. Stephen Masters had given a very successful tour of the central Brierley Hill area in June 2012, and Jenny Sunter had helped facilitate a very successful Christmas Lights switch on event in the town. Thanks were expressed to all who had taken part during the year.
Jenny Sunter reported on the need to renew membership of the Civic Trust and in the absence of the treasurer indicated that the Society would have circa £100 in the bank.
Election of officers
The following people were duly nominated, seconded and elected as officers of the Society for the year 2013-2104
Chair: Tim Sunter
Vice-chair: Shane Birch-Bastock
Secretary: Jenny Sunter
Treasurer: Dennis Whittaker
It was agreed to approach Rachel Harris to see if she would be willing to act as auditor
Brierley Hill Community Forum
TS reported that a number of Brierley Hill organisations were or had been going through a lull in their activities. Brierley Hill Community Forum had similar aims to ourselves with respect to regeneration and had significant funds in their accounts. It was suggested that it might be worth considering a merging of the Civic Society and the Forum as we could bring an active membership to the Forum’s activities, whilst the Forum would have resources to support the work of the Civic Society. The Society discussed this issue and expressed its view that a merger might be a positive step forward and that a joint meeting with the Forum take place for the March meeting.
JS reported that work was well underway for the Christmas 2013 event which was earmarked for 30th November. Action Heart were being asked to help with the proposed Santa Run and other activities being tested for feasibility included the Christmas Fair at Insight House, performances throughout the town, a pantomime hunt and enhanced publicity – possible by grouping organisations together under a ‘Brierley Hill Christmas Festival’ brand. All help and support would be welcomed.
Community First Brierley Hill Hill Plan
TS reported on progress on the plan which had to be produced by 31st March. Society members would have the chance to have an input at the March joint meeting with the Community Forum. Some £40,000 of funding would be available to community groups in Brierley Hill ward over the next two years. It was hoped to submit a bid for the Civic Society to fund future speakers and for the Christmas Project to enable a budget to be enacted to support the event
The bid for funds had been submitted (see above). Once the outcome of the bid was known it would be possible to formulate a programme. It was important to keep a balance between speakers and to keep a focus on regeneration issues.
You are cordially invited to the next meeting of the Civic Society will take place on Monday, 20th January 2014 at St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill. It will start at 5.30pm.
Our main speaker will be Lucas Ross. Lucas is the manager of Merry Hill shopping centre.
Lucas will be talking about Westfield’s plans for the regeneration of the area in the context of the Brierley Hill’s Area Action Plan and offering insights into the future of retailing generally.
This will be a great opportunity to explore ideas and questions about the future of the town with one of its largest investors.
The agenda for the meeting will therefore be:
2. Minutes of the previous meeting (click here to view)
3. Matters arising
5. Treasurer’s report
6. Main speaker: Lucas Ross
7. Brierley Hill Christmas Festival
8. Brierley Hill in Bloom
9. Brierley Hill Community Forum
10. Information Exchange
11. Any Other Urgent Business
12. Date of Next Meeting
Minutes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on Monday 18th November 2013 at St Michael’s Church, Brierley Hill commencing at 5.30pm.
Geoff Attwood, Janet Attwood, Beryl Biggs, Carol Burns, Reg Burns, Joy Cooper, Stephen Dunn, Graham Fisher, Kathy Garton, Peter George, Rachel Harris, Jayne Heathcock, John Heathcock, Zafar Islam, John James, Betsy Lafferty, Tim Lee, Stephen Masters, Lorne Morrison, Maggie Norton, Ray Norton, Beryl Pritchett, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Rosemary Tomkinson, Dennis Whittaker
Apologies were received from Chris Kelly MP and Cllr Margaret Wilson
Speaker – Graham Fisher MBE
Graham Fisher addressed the meeting on the topic of “More Canals Than Venice”.
Starting by displaying canal artifacts Graham’s talk covered the early development of the canal system and narrow boats and the impact that this had on the economy at the time – the price of coal dropped by 50% one the new transport system came into play.
Driven by Telford and Brindley and supported by entrepreneurs such as Matthew Boulton the Birmingham canal was cut out to the Delph locks where, in 1769 it joined with the Stourbridge canal at the famous nine locks (now actually eight locks).
Technology which was developed for the canals, including generating electricity, addressed many of modern environmental issues.
Today the canals are serving a new purpose, serving leisure needs and providing a green environment.
Graham ended his talk by showing the society the apps he has helped to develop for the iphone and ipad.
The Society gave Graham a warm round of applause in appreciation at the end of his talk .
Minutes of the previous meeting
The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true record.
It was noted that our previous speaker, Miranda Dickinson, had reached the Sunday Times Best Seller list for two weeks with her novel Take A Look At Me Now
DW reported that the Society had £786 in the bank and £35 cash in hand comprising a £15 “float” plus £20 collection unbanked from the last meeting.
Brierley Hill in Bloom
TS updated the meeting on Brierley Hill in Bloom. The local authority had now come back with the type of containers it would approve for use on railings in the town. It had been decided to order 26 of these with four liners for each (two for use at any one time, two for growing the next lot of plants). The Traders Association had agreed to meet any costs in purchasing these in addition to the budget already agreed (£5,000 – £2,500 from Community First matched by the traders).
ASDA, Birmingham Metropolitan College, the CCG and the market had all expressed their interest in taking part in the scheme. This was being followed up.
It had been agreed to start small and then build up in successive years. The initial project would most likely focus on the area around Five Ways radiating out.
Brierley Hill Christmas Festival
JS spoke about the final run in to the festival. Already events were taking place such as the Christmas Fair, a Santa Run (The Santa Joggle), a Panto Trail, musical activities, a festival feast, a tea dance amongst others.
9,000 leaflets had been produced and these were being distributed at the present moment of time. Any help with these would be much appreciated.
BP updated the meeting on the Brierley Hill Festival of Christmas Trees and asked that members spread the word.
Brierley Hill Community Forum – possible merger
TS reported that at the last meeting of the Community Forum it had been suggested that as the Society and the Forum had similar objectives it might be mutually beneficial to merge. The Society had discussed this earlier in the year and had responded warmly. It was agreed that the officers of the Civic Society should attend the next Forum directors meeting to talk through what issues there would be.
RH updated the meeting on progress with the Church Street wall. TS spoke about research he had been undertaking on the War Memorial.
at St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South, Brierley Hill
Starting at 5.30pm
The talk deals in a humorous way with how Michael got started in writing romantic fiction aimed at women readers, and the tremendous amount of research that goes into writing novels with some interesting examples.
Interestingly, St Michael’s Church features significantly in two of his novels which are set in Brierley Hill in the late 1800s.
One of his novels “Salt of the Earth”is built around the railway accident that occurred between Brettel Lane Station and Round Oak Station on August Bank Holiday Monday in 1858, killing a dozen people and injuring 100 more.
Another novel “Close Relations”features an incident when a tramcar toppled over in 1890 or 1891 very close to St Michael’s church.
The talk is a must for those who enjoy reading; those who want to write; and anyone interested in local history.
Brendan Hawthorne, Black Country poet extraordinaire, was commissioned by English Heritage to work with members of Brierley Hill Civic society to capture their thoughts on the past, present and future of Brierley Hill, as art of the ‘Brierley Hillness’ project.
Here he performs he poem at Artspace in Brierley Hill to an audience of form Round Oak employees.
Brierley Hill Library is expected to close for five weeks from early April to allow for physical alterations and improvements to take place.
Local councillor Rachel Harris told a meeting of the town’s Civic Society that the council’s housing advice service together with the local Citizens Advice Bureau would be sharing the High Street Building. Alterations to allow this to take place will also mean a new lift will be installed. Library users will also be able to use a self service checking in and out service when the building reopens.
“Hopefully this will be a positive move which will help to increase the footfall to the shops in the town”