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.

Civic Society, Monday 6pm St Michael’s Church

IMG_0273You are cordially invited to the next meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society which will take place next Monday, 15th June at St Michael’s Church, Brierley Hill. The main topic on the agenda will be the future of historic buildings in the borough.

The agenda for the meeting is:

1. Speaker and consultation of the policy of local listing of building: Jayne Pilkington and David Piper
2. Apologies
3. Notes of the previous meeting
4. Matters Arising
5. Correspondence
6. Treasurer’s report
7. 50th anniversary of the flats
8. Jordan painting re-presentation
9. Organisation Sub of 3rd June
– Brierley Hill in Bloom
– Brierley Hill Christmas Festival
10. Nanaimo link
11. Regeneration issues
12. Next meetings
– July Archives
– September – Jordan painting presentation and flats talk
– October Nanaimo link
– November – Keith Hodgkins – The Last Day of Steelmaking at Round Oak Steelworks.
13. Any other urgent business.

Minutes of the May meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society

Minutes of the meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society held on Monday 18th May 2015 at St Michael’s Church commencing at 6pm.


Joy Cooper, Stephen Dunn, John James, Betsy Lafferty, Tim Lee, Lorna Morrison, Maggie Norton, Jenny Sunter, Tim Sunter, Dennis Whittaker, Norma Whittaker.


Pat Cobern, Rachel Harris, Zafar Islam, John Martin

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and were agreed as a true record.


JS gave informed the meeting of the correspondence received:
* NCVO general election briefing on the impact of the recent election on voluntary organisations
* Civic Voice weekly newsletter including details of the work on war memorials
* Information on the Community Rights pilot
* Details of NCVO workshops for volunteers

SD asked about whether Civic Voice had a website that he and other members could refer to. JS confirmed that this was the case.

Treasurer’s Report

DW gave the treasurer’s report:
* Cash in hand £53.46
* Bank account £1323.97
* Less money held on behalf of SNOW -£985.75
* Total £391.68

Organisation Sub

It had been agreed at the last meeting that an ‘organisation sub’ should meet to plan the future direction and activities of the Society. SD, TL, LM, TS, and DW had subsequently met at the Bull & Bladder (venue purely to support local industry).

Key points from the meeting were:

  • Need to have a balance in the Society’s activites between celebrating the past, action in the present and influencing the future.
  • Potential speakers with a historic perspective could be on the topics of Round Oak, Marsh & Baxter, the history of brickmaking in the area. To determine what actions the Society could take to improve Brierley Hill engagement with Dudley MBC cabinet members would be a positive step.
  • Partnership working with the public, private and voluntary/community sectors has the potential to achieve shared goals in the town.

Key actions to follow up were:
* To extend the Brierley Hill in Bloom meeting on 3rd June to involve the organisation sub and Christmas Festival team would be a good forum to start to pull partners together.
* Brierley Hill Civic Society to consider its priorities for action at its next meeting (i.e. tonight)
* Establish relationship with BHCF as there did seem to be overlapping objectives
* The chase Dudley Archives re a visit to the new facility with a chance to view materials in the Brierley Hill collection.
* To establish a programme of speakers.
* To consider whether the Society can offer any help to make the council’s forums more effective.

TS reported that following this meeting he had made contact with the archives. The Society’s meeting on Monday 20th July would now take place at the archives and we would receive a tour and then the opportunity to look at Brierley Hill materials. There would be a pass through charge from the archives of £4 and a minimum total charge of £40. It was agreed that this should be publicised as far and wide as possible to ensure maximum attendance.

Future activities

Following on from the organisation sub meeting the Society had been asked to bring ideas for future activities for the Society. The following ideas were suggested:
* Continued engagement with NHR and DMBC to try and get some regeneration activity moving in the area.
* Presentation of a replica of the Gibbons/Jordan painting for display in the town centre. Andy Gray of DCVS had indicated an interest for it to be hung in the Civic Centre.
* Restoration of the Brierley Hill war memorials
* Resolution of the difficulties with access to and use of Lawyers Field (Friends of Marsh Park are leading on this). There was talk of whether the plaque commemorating the opening was still in the park.
* Litter picking events together with anti-graffitti activities. Questions arose about the best way to go about this and advice from DMBC should be sought. The litter strewn state of canals in the area was also highlighted.
* The introduction of weight limits on roads which are being used inappropriately by heavy vehicles, North Street for example.
* Replacement trees for those that once flourished in the High Street
* The renaming of Venture Way to something more appropriately reflecting the history of the town
* A ‘blue plaque’ scheme celebrating some of the achiements of the town
* A cultural regeneration programme to attract more visitors to the town centre. A brass band playing in Marsh Park was one suggestion put forward.
* Getting the publicly visible clocks in the town working – St Michael’s and The Moor Centre were mentioned.
It was suggested that the organisation sub on 3rd June could pick up some of these ideas and put meat on the bones (thought: is there a vegetarian equivalent for this phrase?)

Brierley Hill in Bloom

TS reported than the planters were now fixed on Venture Way; lamp post baskets were suggested for along the High Street and it was aimed to have these in place for the winter planting; the plants for the summer had been grown and it was planned to put them out early in June.

Brierley Hill Christmas Festival

TS had met with AG from DCVS. AG was keen to get involved as it was a potential project for the Civic Hall. He would be attending the meeting on 3rd June.

DMBC review of criteria for locally listed buildings

A spokesperson from the planning department had now agreed to come to the next meeting to talk through the implications of this. There were some concerns that the changing of the criteria might weaken the ability to protect historic buildings in the town.

Regeneration update including planning matters

DW updated the meeting on progress.
A date for further engagement with NHR and DMBC was awaited. At the previous meeting priorities of making a pedestrian link between the High Street and Merry Hill together with environmental improvements in the High Street had been identified. Indications had been given that funding may be available for the link but it was doubtful whether funds might be there for the High Street.
Intu were interested in development of the Daniels Land site for residential purposes whilst Rachel Harris had put forward the idea for a white water centre.
DW was also creating a planning database to keep track of proposed developments in the town. He gave an exhaustive list of live applications:
* Two applications for residential and offices adjacent to Red Peppers including the former Doug Holmes Taylors.
* The Dock and Iron in Delph Road was saved following objections to its demolition by the council as the building is on the Heritage Assetts Register. Instead the proposal has been amended to keep the pub and to use the car park as a van hire centre.
* 81 Church Street – the former Radio Shack building – application to demolish and build one dwelling.
* Housing proposals for the former RDF site. The environment agency has no objections subject to safeguards being put in place. They had also expressed they concern with respect to the site being suitable for a waste site.
* ASDA car park for a self service filling station. Members expressed their concern that this ran counter to the AAP for the area, would undermine the pedestrian link to the area and would not be appropriate to front on to the proposed public square.
* Arc Alloys building on Moor Street adjacent to Foxdale drive. Two applications had been submitted for residential but problems remained about access to the site due to the hump backed bridge.
* The Plough has a residential planning permission and was sold at auction for £57,000. Work is presently taking place on the site.
* The former Alma Pub has an application for five flats upstairs, three on the first floor and two on the second floor.
* The Cottage Spring in Mill Street has had an application to turn it into a vets passed.
* The former Black Country Stoves shop on High Street has been approved for a launderette.
* HVC supplies in Bull Street has had an application for five homes agreed. An earlier application for six homes had been rejected because of lack of parking facilities.
* The former Round Oak Pub had been approved for a home improvements store on the ground floor and one flat upstairs.
* Harts Hill bus station – adjacent to hazardous chemical plants had had an application for a supermakret withdrawn as well and an application for 45 homes withdrawn.

DW is creating a 3 year database of applications to enable further close monitoring.

Any Other Urgent Business

There was no other urgent business.

The meeting closed at 7.30pm.

Minutes of 15th July 2013 Civic Society Meeting – see what was discussed and what was decided

Brierley Hill Civic Society
Brierley Hill Civic Society

Brierley Hill Civic society met on Monday, 15th July.

The key speaker, funding by the Community First programme was Terry Church who gave a cracking talk on “1942 – a vintage year”.

The society also heard updates and local issues.  You can read the minutes here: Continue reading Minutes of 15th July 2013 Civic Society Meeting – see what was discussed and what was decided