The want to ensure there is parking for

The
Princess Alice Retail car park in New Oscott has been sold off to housing
developers among fears that it would cause ‘inadequate’ public parking spaces
in the area.

Housing developer S. Wallace Developments wants
to demolish the car park and rebuild it with a mixed-use development of
apartments, houses and minor retail units.

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But after meeting with S. Wallace Developments
representatives, Birmingham City and Sutton Town Councils are worried the
current plans would result in over 150 free parking spaces being lost.

This, the councils say, would have a ‘seriously
negative impact’ on New Oscott’s attractiveness to consumers and businesses.

As of 2014 New Oscott has seen a slight
commercial growth with brand new businesses and shops starting to appear in the
retail park.

Town Clerk Christopher Ives said: “The councils
welcome the development of the Princess Alice Retail Park, but are very
concerned about the loss of public parking.

“Of course, we are very keen to see the
regeneration of the area and want to ensure there is parking for people to use
the retail park.

“There are over 400 parking spaces in total in
the Princess Alice Retail Park and the loss of 150 spaces would be devastating
to businesses.

“We have urged Birmingham City Council cabinet
member Majid Mahmood to reconsider the deal until residents and businesses are
satisfied with their terms of parking in the area.”

Princess Alice Retail Park is approximately 7
miles north of Birmingham city centre in Sutton Coldfield and is one of the
most desirable residential suburbs of the West Midlands conurbation.

 

‘future
potential customers’

The plan put forward by S. Wallace Developments
will involve using the 50,775 sq ft of land currently occupied by the carpark
that will be fronting the A452 (T) Chester Road.

Michael MacIver, a director of S. Wallace
Developments, said “Our plan to renovate the car park will increase the revenue
of local businesses nearby, local residents will become future potential
customers to them.”

“Our most important goal is to see the
regeneration in the area and we believe the answer will be housing this is what
we have made clear to the councils.”

“There are no plans that have been lodged at
the moment. Anyone coming forward to buy it must do a comprehensive survey on
parking spaces in the area and we’ll be following that carefully.”

He added that S. Wallace Developments hoped to
hear from Birmingham City Council ‘soon’ regarding the sale.

Earlier this year Princess Alice Retail Park
was the scene of a major rodent infestation where the cause was found out to be
waste left near the recycling area.

S. Wallace Developments commented on the matter
to the council as the incident that would not occurred if the development was
already underway.

The Retail Park was the site of a large and
well-known children’s home from the late 19th century, yet when the site was
sold for redevelopment in the 1980s the home was demolished leaving Brampton
Hall which is now the Community Centre.

 

By Mark Weetman

 

 

Story 3

7,000 people respond to tackling fire service consultation
cuts

Seven
thousand responses to a consultation on proposed cuts to fire stations
including Ladywood have been handed in to the West Midlands Fire Service HQ.

The replies, collected by Shabana Mahmood the
MP for Ladywood are against the proposals, that are said to see night shifts
being manned entirely by part-time retained crews in a bid to help fill a £4.3m
blackhole.

The Chief Fire Officer of the West Midlands
Fire Service, Phil Loach, is suggesting a mixed crew system at two out of three
stations – Ladywood, Aston or Highgate.

This in turn will see on-call part time crews
covering nights at the station, rather than the current full-time crew.

West Midlands Fire Service have said previously
they are doing their best to balance the books in a difficult financial
situation – but those against the changes have warned that “lives could be
lost”.

Shabana Mahmood said “I’ve have just handed in
7,000 consultations filled in by the residents of Ladywood and Aston about these
proposals,”

“These consultations are against the changes.
We don’t want a second-class fire service in Birmingham.

“A fire service that provides the security and
confidence in the local community is what we need now more than ever,

“If you’re in need of being cut out of your
car, or if it’s your house that happens to be on fire at night, waiting an
extra fifteen minutes could mean the difference between life or death.”

The Fire Research Investigation Team (FRIT)
have urged that precaution should be taken in relation to cuts to its budget,
as it does not want see a drop in the quality of the service.

 

‘as
much feedback as possible’

West Midlands Fire Service Group Manager, Ben
Brook disputes the MP’s fifteen minutes claim, saying that according to their
figures the delay would be “a little over five minutes”.

He says “The goal for the independent public
consultation is to get as much feedback as possible and from as many people as
possible, to help the Fire Authority make their decisions in February,”

“It is therefore really important that
people have taken the time to have their say.

“The key message from us is that if you’ve not
already taken part, please do, as we really want to hear your views.”

He also said that of 40 fire appliances across
the county, 23 are already successfully manned by on-call firefighters.

The consultation ends on December 20th and a
final decision is expected in January.

Feature plans for the West Midlands Fire Service
are to commit on keeping open its 38 fire stations, with at least one standard
fire engine at all of them, as well as maintaining its five-minute target
response time to high-risk incidents.

Birmingham, Coventry and Walsall area fire stations
will each have two fire engines available around-the-clock.

The Brigade still face tough times ahead in
terms of a reduced budget however the Brigade claims to be recruiting 50 New
Firefighters in early 2018.

 

By Mark Weetman

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