Fairfax Road


Richard exposed the failure of the Council to proceed with the Fairfax Road regeneration scheme on time and pushed for progress. In Parliament during February he welcomed the big increase in funding for Birmingham from the Labour Government but criticised the Conservative- Lib Dem administration, which runs the City Council, for shelving a Labour plan to put an extra £7.3m into better youth facilities and estate clean up projects.

Wednesday 2nd February

On 2nd February, Richard Burden, welcomed a Tree Planting ceremony that took place at Fairfax Road in his constituency but he also warned Birmingham City Council that there should be no more delays in implementing improvement plans to the adjacent shopping parade which have been outstanding for two years.

Concern is rife about the continuing failure of the Council to make a start on previously agreed improvements to a shopping parade across the road which has suffered badly from vandalism and anti social behaviour. Mr Burden said that the hastily arranged tree planting ceremony should not distract attention from the failure of the council to commence these security improvements.

Following representations from Mr Burden and residents in 2003, the former Labour cabinet member for Housing on the City Council agreed to carry out a series of emergency security works to the Fairfax Road shopping parade, followed by a longer term programme of security gating and other improvements. The emergency work went ahead and in early 2004 Mr Burden was assured by the City Council that the rest of the security works would commence in early summer 2004. Control of the Council passed to a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in June 2004 but the Fairfax Road scheme did not commence. Mr Burden was then assured that work would commence in November. At the last minute, however, the start on site was again cancelled on instructions from the Head office of the City Housing department. The work has still not commenced and last week Mr Burden wrote to the City’s Director of Housing to demand an end to the delays.

Mr Burden said today:

“I welcome the tree planting and am pleased that some of the environmental improvements are going ahead. But that is no excuse for the continuing delays to the works which were agreed for the shopping parade. The former Labour Council made a promise to local people and allocated the funds. That promise should be honoured by the Conservative administration which has been in control since last summer. There should be no more delays.”

In addition to the work on the shopping parade, local residents have been promised that the second phase of improvements to the environment and youth facilities will commence this summer, including the construction of a multi-use games area. Mr Burden said it was also important for residents to insist that the timetable for this work should not slip following cuts in funding for youth facilities and estate clean up projects which were voted through the Council by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition a few weeks ago despite Labour opposition

“I am told that the money is in place so there will be no excuse for Phase 2 not going ahead this summer. Birmingham is also getting a big increase in Government funding this year. But the story of the Fairfax Road shopping parade means we can’t take anything for granted. I am worried about the £7.3m which the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition have already cut from the budget that was available for youth facilities and environmental improvements. I have written to the Leader of the Council and asked for assurances that projects in Northfield will not be jeopardized.”  

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.