Make A Difference With Data Unworkshop 24/02/2011

Have we, as local citizens of Hodge Hill, thought enough about what information is available to us online?

Frequently accessed data includes land registry information, crime statistics, planning applications and neighbourhood tasking meeting minutes, but what information would you like to access online?

Last night, B36Blogger attended the Make A Difference With Data unworkshop at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, which is part of the Making a Difference With Data project.

We discussed what information is already available to local citizens, what barriers there are in accessing information, what information we would like to be able to access and how it would change things.

One interesting topic was the usefulness of Twitter, although we can complain to our local council via telephone or written letter, how many people complain via Twitter? It takes up far less time, common complaints can be easily logged and  categorised  and statistics can be compiled on a much easier and accessible basis.

Blogs, such as B36Blogger should also act as a complaints platform, local residents should make use of their local blog to make their opinions known and also create discussion around common complaints. Not only is this a great place to voice opinion, but through your local blog you can meet your neighbours and work together to get things done.

We want to be able to access statistics when it comes to complaints. We want our local council to record calls, put them under catagories and be able to access information on common complaints, and also find out how many are followed up, investigated or resolved.

As B36Blogger has already covered, Police UK have released a crime map web site for you to find out how many crimes are recorded in your area, but what we can’t access is the information regarding how often the information is updated, what was done in the area about the crimes and even when they took place.

It seemed to be a common problem that data can be confusing, data should be easy to read and easy to locate the most important information and highest and lowest statistics.

We want local authorities to make locating data easier, for example, Birmingham Ciy Council are often guilty for  making information hard to find and ‘burying’ it within their site. For exmaple, accessing minutes from the last neighbourhood tasking meeeting can be particularly tricky. This could be  because they have hundreds of pages and headings or perhpas that their search box isn’t effective or they are simlpy putting things under the wrong headings.

There are many issues surrounding access, availability and reading local data and statistics. Have you ever had any problems with local data, or problems accessing local statistics?

Nicky Getgood  interviews B36Blogger’s editor Jessica Dutton, listen here.

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Snapshots of a demolition

As the work to demolish the Bayley and Stoneycroft Towers on the Bromford estate continues, passers-by stop to watch as bit by bit, the multi-storey falls away.

Pieces of the building are showering down to the ground, a faint rumble is heard in the distance and passers-by stop to watch the building be demolished.

Even local residents have been coming out to take pictures and videos on their phones.

Local resident on the Bromford estate, Andrew, says “I’m glad that they are finally being demolished, they were an eyesore.”

Bromford Towers demolition/ Jessica Dutton

Bromford Towers demolition/ Jessica Dutton

B36Blogger takes ownership of these pictures, all rights reserved.

Demolition of Bromford & Firs towers begins

In November of last year liambyrne.co.uk reported that the internal soft stripping had begun on the 20 storey Bromford and Firs towers.

This week, work has begun by Birmingham City Council to demolish the multi storeys that shadow over the M6 and the whole of the Bromford estate.

According to 24dash.com the work to demolish the flats has begun as the cost of refurbishment was estimated to cost around £7.4million.

The work to demolish the flats has been delayed for some time, but they have been coming down bit by bit each day this week.

Councillor John Lines said: “I’m delighted we are now in a position to get rid of these towers and I thank the Homes and Communities Agency for supporting us with funding.

Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Housing continued,“I’m committed to building more high quality new council homes in the area and making improvements to the wider community. Last year we started work on 600 new council homes through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust and I’m keen to continue to deliver more new council homes for our people in Hodge Hill.”

Watch out for updates and pictures of the process on B36Blogger.

Valentine’s Day special: Love is in the air at Hodge Hill florists

As the supermarket shelves are emptied of chocolates, and the card shops are left bare, the florists are also being run off their feet with Valentine’s Day orders and last-minute customers.

Beaufort Florists located on Coleshill road in Hodge Hill was no exception, stocked with roses, bears and champagne, they expected to be very busy today.

And it seems there are no new trends this year in Hodge Hill, as men are still opting for the traditional Valentine’s Day flower.

“The red rose is still as popular, no new trends or different flowers have been requested so far,” said a spokesperson for Beaufort Florists.

And it seems the men of Hodge Hill are making no outlandish gestures this year, as Beaufort Florists have had no special requests or marriage proposal cards in any bouquets… you boring lot!

The shop was steadily busy, with a constant trickle of men wandering in, looking slightly confused and awkward, one customer had even backed his car up to the front door to fit his large bouquet and balloons for his lucky lady in the boot.

“Our typical customers on Valentine’s Day are definitely men looking for a last-minute bouquet and gift”

We expect that they will have many more male customer’s today, even up to closing time..

However, in the recent climate are men spending as much on their loved ones? Speaking to Beaufort Florists about the credit crunch, they said:

“The recession has definitely affected our business, we don’t sell as many add on gifts as we would have in previous years such as bears or champagne to accompany the bouquet. The bouquets we sell have got smaller and we sell a lot of pre arranged bouquets that are on display out the front of the shop.”

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day, leave your comments below!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for regular updates. Find out more.

Hodge Hill: Have your say!

According to west-midlands.police.uk the main priorities that arose in the last neighbourhood tasking meeting were tackling drug dealing and drug use on the Bromford Estate, reducing anti social behaviour and parking issues around our schools.

From personal experience, I know that travelling past Hodge Hill school on early mornings and in the afternoons, traffic can be quite hectic.

To find out  what is in progress to tackle these issues, residents of Hodge Hill can attend a neighbourhood tasking meeting.

Don’t sit back and let issues about your area go unspoken, the next meeting for Hodge Hill will be held at Ambridge House, Bromford Drive on February 24th at 10am.

Police and council members urge you to tell them about crime and community issues in your area.

What do you think are the main issues in Hodge Hill? Leave your comments below.

For more information visit the West Midlands Police website.

Hodge Hill is put on the map… the crime map

According to Police.uk Hodge Hill have 201 reported crimes in the area, ranging from burglary to violent crime, anti social behavior and vehicle crime.

In a radius stretching as far as Fort Parkway to Kitts Green road the crimes include:

-21 counts of burglary

-61 counts of anti-social behavior

-6 counts of robbery

-16 counts of vehicle crime

-33 counts of violent crime

-64 counts of other crime, which can include criminal damage, shoplifting and drug offences.

Bromford Drive proved to have the most counts of crime in the radius, with a total of 13 reported crimes, 3 of those on Sundew Croft including burglary, anti social behavior, violent crime and other crime.

Moving up to Chester road in Castle Bromwich, there are 8 reported counts of crime including anti social behavior, violent crime and other crime.

The site requires only a postcode to provide you access to crime data in your area.

Access Police.uk here.