Ahead of today’s public consultation event in Longbridge, last week Labour Councillors Brett O’Reilly, Ian Cruise, Andy Cartwright and I looked at some of the options for addressing some of traffic “pinch points” around the Longbridge redevelopment site.
Next week I will be meeting the Chair and Acting Principal of Bournville College to run through the financial and strategic issues they are facing. We will be discussing what needs to be done to safeguard opportunities for young people in the South Birmingham area and beyond, and to build a secure future for the college itself – a keystone of the redevelopment of the Longbridge area.
I don’t want to pre-empt that meeting. However, both common sense and what is already known suggest that there is neither one single cause of the problems the college is facing nor one single solution. By the same token it would be utterly shallow for anyone to try to divert attention away from some of the real problems the college is facing for no better reason than self-interest.
That however, seem to be precisely what the Conservatives are now trying to do. Writing on Facebook today, the Tory Parliamentary candidate for Northfield had this to say:
“Any suggestion that it is government funds that has led to these problems is highly inaccurate. Government funding settlements are agreed years in advance and whatever problems the college faces are not linked to this.”
You can’t get clearer than that, can you? Whatever has gone wrong – it’s nothing to do with their gang. Blame someone else.
Really? Consider this:
I was very concerned to see, via Facebook, that parking charges were introduced late last week for the parking spaces available outside the Bull’s Head pub on Kings Norton Green.
A number of local residents had been ticketed as they had parked there without realising that these charges had been introduced, and that they were subject to a fine of £50.
I raised the issue with Birmingham City Council’s Highways Department, and they have confirmed that these charges should not have been introduced as the area is public highway rather than privately owned. The parking company responsible are to remove the signs within the next 24 hours.
Responding to reports in the media about Bournville College in Longbridge, Richard Burden MP said:
“I am very concerned about the news of the cuts being faced by Bournville College.
Bournville is not only hugely important to expanding apprenticeships and providing young people with the skills and opportunities they deserve. It is also a cornerstone of the regeneration of the Longbridge area.
I have asked for an urgent meeting with the Chair of Governors and the Acting Principal. I will also be raising the matter with Ministers who must face up to what their policies are doing to further education and the life chances of young people.”
I know a lot of local people have experienced problems with London Midland Trains “Leaf Fall” service. I have written to London Midland to raise local people’s concerns about the amended timetable. You can find a copy of their reply to my letter here.
As you will see, London Midland have reinstated stops on the 7.52 Longbridge to Four Oaks Service and the 8.10 Lichfield to Longbridge. I have written back to underline the difficulties which passengers have faced – and to stress the important of passengers being consulted in the future, and for better information to be provided in the event of changes being introduced.