Alvechurch Parish Council Newsletter Winter 2013

Alvechurch Parish Council (PC) is trying different ways of communicating with residents. We aim to issue four newsletters a year (more often than previously), some directly in the Village like this. Our website outlines the responsibilities of the Parish Council and has monthly highlights of Council meetings. We welcome suggestions on how you want to communicate with us and be kept informed.

Proposed Housing at Hopwood

A proposal for 22 new houses was “deferred” by Bromsgrove District Council’s Planning Committee. The Parish Council and local residents strongly opposed it, and District Council Planning officers recommended rejection. The site is in the green belt, and outside the village. BDC’s own policy says we have enough non-green belt land for housing in the district until 2023. National policy is that house building in the green belt should only be in exceptional circumstances such as affordable housing. BDC’s draft Plan recommends that any future housing should be in the larger settlements, like Alvechurch, not small hamlets.

However, Roger Hollingworth, District Council Leader (also Alvechurch ward councillor) supported the development. Despite its being clearly in the green belt, he argued that permitted use of the land for storage had turned it into “brown field,” which can be built on.

The PC will follow our objection up with planning officers to ascertain the history of the site and see why it appears like a brownfield site. In any event, it is still in green belt. Maintaining the green belt around hamlets like Hopwood is an important principle regardless of the quality of the land. The application will be reconsidered, probably in December.

Participation in Parish Council Committees

We especially welcome residents’ contribution to two new committees. The Youth, Sports and Recreation Committee aims for excellent leisure facilities, including Hopwood, Rowney Green and the Meadows. In its last meeting it considered parking at Rowney Green during matches, asking clubs to ensure there is full signage to parking places and a steward on duty, and participants from Alvechurch share cars. It welcomed successful drainage and reseeding at the Meadows which will make the football field fully available next year. The next meeting is 24 February

The Community Safety Committee incorporates much of the previous PACT. It considered changes in policing in our area. Highways issues included the long-running A441 problems in Hopwood. The PC chairman has written to the County Council requesting improved road markings and footways, recommended by the Safer Roads Partnership. The PC is considering buying another Vehicle Activated Sign to help reduce speed there. Parking on pavements in Alvechurch, especially near the school, will be tackled by a community campaign. Pavement parking is not illegal unless the footway is obstructed.

The new Emergency Planning arrangements for dealing with events such as flooding or major accidents need community volunteers as part of a communication network to help people affected. The next meeting is 27 January and will include Neighbourhood Watch issues.

Planning for the future

There is a separate article in the Village this month about the Bromsgrove District Plan. The Parish Council hopes to make full use of it in Neighbourhood Planning. Please read it! You will be invited to take part in further consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan.

Other news

The Redditch Branch Railway Line improvement has been approved. The PC has secured an undertaking that the station car park will be improved. We also asked for a Station Travel Plan project, to link trains with other means of transport, and this will follow the upgrade.

The PC has written to a landowner asking him to clear rubbish left by travellers who visited Alvechurch. He has promised to clear it. If he does not, the PC will follow this up and will always take firm action to protect our countryside.