Notes from Public Meeting

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Planning History
History of Site
Canal Side Developments
Comments on Latest Plans
Survey Results
Template Letter of Objection
Write to the Developers

Summary of comments / questions from the floor and replies:

Plans all show traffic from the development area hitting two roundabouts on the new road that are already heavily congested at peak times. This will add to the existing problems and push more traffic onto alternative routes e.g. Gibbins Road and Weoley Park Road towards the Bristol Road to avoid queues at junction of Chapel Lane/Bristol Road.

The junction of Gibbins Road, Weoley Park Road and Weoley Ave is already much busier as traffic avoids Chapel Lane, however this development will add more traffic.

Also the college site at the junction of Weoley Park Road and Bristol Road is planned to be the new school run by University of Birmingham which will increase the traffic even more with staff for the school let alone parents dropping children off.

If the Dudley No2 Canal is not built into the park during the building phase of the main development it will never get built.

The Canals and Rivers Trust are not happy with the latest plan as the proposed junction for the Dudley No 2 Canal would be too close to the existing canal bridge and therefore difficult for barges to enter the reinstated canal. Previous plans had junctions that provided more navigable access and which would be acceptable to the Canals and Rivers Trust.

Life Sciences Park – University of Birmingham has capacity in its existing life sciences park. Also there are still spaces on the Pebble mill development, which was aimed at science and technology. There is concern that there is no demand for a development of the planned size and that it will remain unbuilt or empty for a considerable time.

The 2007 plan which had approval wasn’t built as Sainsbury’s couldn’t find a partner initially for the housing etc. Subsequently laws have changed about site clean-up which means the soil must be cleaned and left on site. This alters how the difference in levels can be managed. There is at least a 6 metre difference across the site, which the final development must cope with.

The council guidelines for the Selly Oak area give very specific scopes for a number of aspects which the latest plan with walkways through undercroft car parks and stepped access to Bristol Road do not meet. Ramps are required to meet needs for cyclists, disabled and people with pushchairs, and well lit, open easily identified walkways are also part of the guidelines but aren’t in the plans.

Heritage buildings are specifically excluded from the development e.g. the Pump House.
Is the amount of retail space actually needed given changing shopping habits of consumers, moving away from traditional store fronts and moving to shopping on-line for a lot of goods. This is a valid concern as there could be empty units which would decrease the attractiveness of the development.

Concern was raised about the lack of leisure facilities given the amount of new housing being planned on Elliot Road and the new hospital site. Selly Oak has no cinema, sports centre etc. for residents. The students have access to facilities at the University but residents don’t.

The Sainsburys store only has one entrance planned i.e. from the car park. Yet other Sainsburys stores have entrances to high Streets as well as car parks e.g. Northfield. The Maypole store also has travelator and underground parking to cope with site level changes.

Questions were raised about whether we can lobby councillors, who sit on the planning committee. Concern was expressed by our local councillors who were at the meeting that this is possible as the planning process has strict rules as it is a quasi-judicial process.

Written comments submitted after the meeting

I like to see Selly Oak roads, especially the new roads to have better walking access and safe crossing, traffic calming. On the Bristol Rd coming from Northfield, speeding cars coming from 40mph to 30 mph are a menace. On crossing traffic lights from Weoley Park Rd they don’t always stop at red lights are they not slowing down at the 3-mph signs, lights need addition of speed cameras to catch and deter such drivers. I have nearly been run over a few times.

Traffic very very bad at present. It is likely to get horrendous with current plans.

Most plans are not pedestrian + cyclist friendly, they should be.

Canal must be reinstated. Selly Oak has already lost too much of its heritage.

Viable canal and walkway though site. Both 2012 plans have flaws.

Economically viable – which probably means some retail  - but not so much that it kills the local area.

More than enough student accommodation already – of no economic benefit to the area during holidays.

Reinstatement of canal as a feature high priority

Relationship with Bristol Rd, Railway station, new housing development on Selly Oak hospital site important.

Late entry of Life Sciences problematical

If the canal link is not incorporated in the development then it will never be sone and a very attractive option will be lost.

Get rid of the bill board around the railway station / Bristol rd. Put tress and shrubs instead, providing a more pleasing view.

I would like Sainsbury’s to face the Bristol Rd and proper walkways on the site, safer for pedestrians.

The roadways need to cater for the traffic congestion will be worse. Sainsbury’s could be smaller. On the other heand do we need this site!

More consultation is needed.

Will the developers take ay notice of the community proposal?

Will site help with unemployment in the area?

Banbury is worth a visit to see how well a properly sized canal can be incorporated in the plans. (Perhaps the developers might like to go and see it). Car park is a slight walk away from the shops but is in constant use!

Heritage buildings need to be kept and restored (eg Pump house).

I would like to see the preservation of Selly Oak heritage buildings.

Urgent action needs to occur to resolve traffic problems on Gibbins Rd, Lodge Hill Rd and Bristol Rd.

It is important that the site is outward facing to encourage interaction with the surrounding parts of Selly Oak, Harborne etc otherwise risks repetition of te ‘concrete collar’ of the ring roads in city centre.

The community partnership is a great step forward – needs to take an overview of the whole regeneration projects.

We need more leisure areas and things in the community for people.

Pedestrian access for Lottie Rd / Katie Rd / Oak Tree lane / Langleys Rd and the new hospital site house is critical.

Needs joined up thinking re hospital site development and access form the Battery Retail Park.

Traffic and future use of triangle site and the future of chapel lane re the traffic from the bypass.

Timetable important we need things to happen soon and not in another 5-6 years.

Written answers to the question: What else would you like to see built on the site:
More development if the triangle north of the canal (ex goodmans) – this, with the Dingle area, is potentially a new ‘het’ for Selly Oak close to the station.

Good canal walkway with the new (hopefully!) canals.

Reviews plans for roads and layout – traffic congestion.

A small marina and terminal for boat trips and possible water bus. Do something with the pump-house which is of industrial heritage interest.

Perhaps a pub instead of a restaurant. Also a garden area.
Pedestrian access from different parts of Selly Oak.

Light manufacturing and other uses.

Other walkways over the canal to unite the library and the rest of Selly Oak (+ cycle links).

Safe and congestion free roads.
Absolutely no more student accommodation.
Smaller life science park to enable alternative facilities.

Not so much something to be built rather can we have some open areas for relaxing – seating walks etc. Play areas etc.

Public space for art

New library, gym, cinema, bowling

Activity and learning centre to motivate and inspire our young people

Heath centre

Missing B&Q

Filling station by canal to service boats