On Thursday 23rd Feb I attended the 1st meeting of a new neighbourhood forum for the Birchfield neighbourhood of Birmingham, part of the Lozells and East Handsworth ward.
The event was attended by around 20 local residents, some new to the area, some who have been living in Birchfield for many years. I sat next to Rose, a woman in her eighties, who loves the area for the social life – she has made many friends through the range of churches she visits throughout the week.
Common themes that the forum members wish to tackle were the environment and litter; crime; activities for young people and educational and employment opportunities for adults in the area. There was also discussion about the future developments on the former Tweed, Calder and Birchfield Tower blocks site. The tower blocks and nearby maisonettes were demolished in 2010 to make way for new family housing. Unfortunately, with the ending of Urban Living and the economic downturn, development on this site has been delayed.
Residents also raised concerns about the recent changes to the collection days and the Council’s communication about this, as well as the increase in burglaries in the area and the need for Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
Some at the meeting expressed hopes that the forum can act to campaign; to run activities and to respond also to the powers for local neighbourhood forums afforded by the Localism Bill.
The next meeting will take place in around 4- 6 weeks time – for further information contact Rajinder Rattu on 0121 448 8187 or rajinderr (at) neighbourhoodconsultancy.co.uk