Image a photograph of the draft plan for Northfields Way, taken by madwblog.
Yesterday evening (29th February 2016) brought the first of two community consultations on the proposed barriers for Northfields Way. The second is to be held at Clayhanger Methodist Church on Clayhanger Lane on Monday 7th March 2016, 5.30 – 7.30 pm. The drop in session is extremely informative and I would urge any Clayhanger resident to attend if you are able.
Laura Terry, Area Manager for Brownhills, Pelsall, Rushall-Shelfield Area Partnership, leads the drop-in sessions with a warm, reassuring welcome and a highly professional manner. This lady has the answers to your questions and some that you didn’t know you needed to ask!
Laura begins by explaining that Area Partnership have taken the decision to come straight to Clayhanger residents with the plan rather than working through locally elected members. She explains that with elections coming up, the proposed plan could be used to gain votes and advantage for a candidate. I’m glad she’s noticed – I like this lady.
Laura talks through the plan, explaining that this has been drawn up by Highway Engineers (got the proper boys on the job) and is, in the Council’s view, the best solution with the budget allocated. Laura explains that it’s a question of priorities, “What is the biggest problem that you want to stop?” she asks. The small group of four of us huddled around the table agree that it’s vehicles and illegal encampments. It becomes obvious to us that concrete blocks – although unsightly – are the only solution. Laura encourages us to talk through our ideas – trees, planters, metal fencing – but all, unfortunately, are no match for the determined illegal encamper. Laura knows. She’s seen it.
Our little ‘committee’ of four have more ideas too. Again, Laura encourages us to record these on the feedback sheets. Anything is up for discussion and Laura indicates that asking for more money should not stop us asking for further improvements to the plan. We discuss dog waste bins, traffic calming and ways to prevent the cutting of the corner into Allerdale Road. With the eye of a teacher, Laura makes sure we have written all our ideas down.
The ‘committee’ of four discuss our ideas and record them on the feedback sheet.
PC Nicholls has also came along to the session and chats with us about the role of the Police in ASB and what happens when we dial 101. “All calls are logged,” he explains and a pattern of behaviour can be seen. Laura agrees. She urges us to always call the Community Safety Unit, as well as 101, to report any nuisance or ASB issues. The more calls that are logged, she says, the higher priority an area becomes – this attracts budget allocation to help with issues.
I ask Laura if there is a timescale to completing the process and getting the barriers installed. She is unable to say, but assures us that as soon as the next drop-in session next Monday is complete, she will collate the proposals residents have made and pass them onto the Highways Department later next week. From there, a formal consultation will begin to close the road. So no definite date, but we are much further forward than we were at the beginning of February when there seemed to be no definite plan for the barriers. Now at least we know we are going to get them.
An hour later, another resident arrives and even though there is only a few minutes of the session left, Laura greets the gentleman with unhurried enthusiasm.
It’s been an extremely informative and fruitful session. I have come away feeling confident that Laura will collate our ideas and pass them on to the Highways Department who will then re-draft the plan if necessary and begin the formal consultation to close Northfields Way at the junction with Allerdale Road.
Contact Laura to ask a question: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Safety Unit: 01922648291
Police non-emergency: 101