‘Disgust’ as Birmingham housing estates in ‘catastrophic’ condition ahead of City Council transfer
A damning report into the condition of a number of Birmingham housing estates was debated this week by city officials who criticized the city for its lack of care.
Royal Sutton Coldfield City Council has been seeking for some time to take over Sutton Coldfield’s 11 allotment sites – what council leader Cllr Simon Ward (Four Oaks, Cons.) should have been under city control since the creation of the parish authority. in 2016.
But the transfer is taking place at a ‘freezing’ pace, he said, and following an investigation report into the state of the estates, councilors have reacted angrily to their ‘dilapidated’ state. .
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A surveyor’s report outlines the state of Sutton’s attributions in November last year and was reviewed at this week’s strategy and resources committee meeting on Tuesday February 8.
Allotments and all attached social clubs were reviewed. Each site had problems to solve. And councilors said they were concerned about the dilapidation, that toilets at the sites were out of service and that some housing estates were “island sites” where the city would retain the access road.
The objective was “to improve the sites for the 700 plot owners”.
The report said the Four Oaks Common social club was in a “poor condition” and would need “extensive repairs” before it reopened. The clubhouse and toilets at Forge Farm were “dilapidated”, with further toilet problems noted at Falcon Lodge, New Hall Valley and The Boulevard.
Donegal Road, Falcon Lodge, Four Oaks Common, Sunnybank Road/Sheffield Road and White Farm Road also had ‘inconsistent’ boundary issues.
Hardstanding at Donegal Road, Forge Farm, Four Oaks Common, New Hall Valley, The Boulevard, The Hill, Walmley Ash and White Farm Road was in ‘poor condition’
Donegal Road, Falcon Lodge, Forge Farm, The Boulevard and The Hill all had “dilapidated fences”.
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Cllr David Pears (Trinity, Cons.) Called the state of the housing estates “absolutely disgusting”.
He said, “There are dilapidated fences, dilapidated buildings. I think Birmingham City Council has failed in its duty to uphold these powers.
“People paid their fares. People paid for their subscriptions. Picking it up in this state is absolutely disgusting.
“It’s going to cost a bit to fix this.”
Cllr John Cooper (Walmley and Minworth, Cons.) said, “I don’t know where to start. Along with Birmingham, the housing estates are in a sorry state. People can’t use the toilet for six months because they turn off the water.
“I don’t think we should accept them. Mr Pocock [Cllr Rob Pocock, Vesey, Lab.] must bring back to his group, they must also play their part.
“Subdivisions are self-contained units with entry roads. In 1974 we transferred all the sites. Birmingham should transfer the roads [back to us].”
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While Cllr Terry Wood (Walmley and Minworth, Cons.) said the city council should seek a takeover as soon as possible to help plot holders.
He said: “Some housing estates are in poor condition and our desire is to take the housing estates, to take them back, as soon as possible.
“We have a plan and a program and it will take five to 10 years to put them in order and it will incur costs.
“The estate people are great and as soon as we can help them, we should.”
Council leader Cllr Simon Ward agreed and said: ‘I sat in a room with these allotment holders. We have to give them back those allowances.
“We don’t want to bump heads for another six years. The main thing is to support the people who run the sites. Give them confidence, that this authority supports them.
The debate turned into a wider criticism of the problems Sutton City Council was having with Conservative councilors saying Birmingham City Council was not acting quickly on the issues they wanted to address.
Cllr Pocock said two more town/parish councils were being considered at Perry Barr and Balsall Heath.
Cllr Clare Horrocks (Four Oaks, Cons.) said, “It’s disappointing that they’re so unwilling to learn from other boards in the country. There is no shortage of parish and municipal councils throughout the country.
“There are excellent and phenomenal examples of successful decentralization in the UK.
“Birmingham City Council is looking to create more, but with all due respect should focus on getting it right with what already exists.”
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Cllr Ward said: ‘Developments are already a town or parish council matter. It’s not even supposed to be a transfer.
While Ewan Mackey (Rougley, Cons.) added: “If Birmingham has more parish and town councils we may find the door becomes less blocked.”
The report was noted.
The town hall will now appoint a quantity surveyor to develop a future maintenance program for the subdivision grounds. While City Council notaries continue to work with City Council on the transfer of housing estates.