Hodge Hill drug crime

In November last year, Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne talked of a persistant drug crime problem in the local area and efforts in place to attempt to control the problem.

Speaking of new initiatives, the local MP described plans for a ‘taking the ground’ scheme which intended to clean up the area in order to deter drug dealers from hanging around Hodge Hill.

However, five months on and West Midlands Police find that they are still carrying out drug searches accross Hodge Hill.

On 21st April @bhameastpolice announced just how many search warrants they had carried out in the area. :

“Our teams in Hodge Hill constituency have carried out 21 warrants (drugs and search warrants) since the start of April#serveprotectwmp

If you have any complaints of drug dealing in the local area, get in touch via our ‘contact’ page or leave a comment below.

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.

Hodge Hill MP still boycotts Tesco a year on

Nearly one year ago Tesco opened it’s doors to the residents of Hodge Hill.

For local MP Liam Byrne and many residents of Hodge Hill, it had been a long battle to prevent the build, and one that left both Liam and the local community somewhat defeated.

The build caused so much controversy because it happened to be built on the local Brockhurst playing field, used by many children and adults for sporting activities.

According to The Birmingham Mail, three acres of Brockhurst playing field were sacrificed in the build; in return, Tesco supposedly promised to re surface the damaged playing field and build new changing rooms.

On it’s one-year anniversary, Liam’s feelings about the development remain unchanged.

“Well, everything that we warned about and were worried about has now happened,” Liam told B36 Blogger.

“Both the council and Tesco did not keep their promises. They promised sports facilities, and promised to give back to the local community. They have given nothing back,” Liam continued.

In December of last year, the Birmingham Mail reported that Tesco’s 24-hour opening grant had been given the green light, to the worry of many residents.

Understandably many people living near and around the Tesco superstore are worried about the effects the 24-hour license will cause.

“They have now applied for a license to open 24hours, which means more noise pollution,” says Liam.

The results of the 24-hour license can only be monitored over the coming months, with residents living so close to the store; it is likely to cause some sort of noise at some point.

Liam Byrne’s office is also in close perimeter as it lies at the side of the store itself on Coleshill road and so was directly affected by the build.

“They even took the back wall off our office on Coleshill road, so the winter months were very cold,” says Liam.

After the long battle, there is little to be done to reverse the effects of the build, and so Liam expresses his hope that Tesco will perhaps consider the local community in the future.

“All we want now is for them to be good corporate citizens, minimise their noise and give back to the local community.”

Liam, understandably, had little more to say about the store, as he has never paid it a visit:

“I have never once been in there; I buy my lunch from Somerfield!”


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Advice Surgery

Image by Chris Campbell

As promised, the dates are in for the local ‘Advice Surgeries’ held by Liam Byrne and his team.

You can go along to any of these surgeries to discuss any area related issues.

Liam holds the surgeries on the first weekend of every month. It is usually by appointment only, so you will need to book ahead at the Hodge Hill office by telephoning 0121 789 7287.

The times and dates of the surgeries can be found below.

Shard End Community Centre – Packington Ave- First Friday from 6.30 pm- 7.30 pm

Khidmat Centre– Heather Road- First Saturday from 9.30-10.30am

Saltley Methodist Church – Alum Rock Rd- from 11.00am – 12.30pm

Hodge Hill constituency office– Second Friday – 4pm – 5pm

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The present and future of Hodge Hill, an interview with Liam Byrne.

Many residents of Hodge Hill know themselves what the problems are in the local area, but in a climate of uncertainty and the Government’s budget growing ever smaller, where does this leave Hodge Hill? And what are we doing to defend our community?

B36Blogger talks to local Hodge Hill Labour MP, Liam Byrne, about his vision for Hodge Hill’s future.

Police

“Police cuts are one of the main issues we face at the moment, we expect that up to 800 officers from West Midlands Police will be lost from our local streets by March 2011. We also predict that up to 1,200 officers could go in the next few years. We don’t want to lose our officers.”

Labour activists have recently put plans in place to defend the local community, and they call for the community’s support.

“We have recently been given the green light to launch our ‘Save Our Cops’ campaign, we will be hitting the streets and doorsteps across the city over the coming weeks, asking for the city’s support.”

It is not just police cuts that have affected Hodge Hill; communication cuts mean that Liam has a much stricter budget when it comes to reaching out to the local community. The communication slashes mean volunteers are being relied on to post the message out by hand to your doors.

You can keep up to date with meetings and local news on B36Blogger and Liam Byrne’s Blog.

Liam says, “We are extremely worried that the work we have done over the past five years will be lost.”

Drugs

Another persistent problem in Hodge Hill is drug-related crime, something that has been happening under our noses for some time. Some may consider it a taboo issue to discuss drug dealing on your street, but many residents have seen this happening, Liam does not fail to address this issue and has been pro- active in finding ways to tackle this long-term problem.

“We need to get drug dealers off the streets. Our new Assistant Chief Constable is Sharon Rowe. ACC Rowe has massive experience to bring to Birmingham from the Met in London. I’m glad we’ll have that experience on hand in our fight against the dealers trying to profit from poison. We want to underline how vitally important we see the fight against drugs to be. We are looking at how other communities who have been successful in these issues, and how they have dealt with the problem. We will be following their ‘Taking the ground’ scheme; we combine police, the local Council and the local community. We ask the community to make an investment into their local area. We do this by literally ‘taking the ground’ from the dealers, so we ask the community to take pride in their area, we help to make the area look nice, this acts as a deterrent to drug dealers.”

Street Surgery

Every week Liam talks to the local residents of Hodge Hill and surrounding areas in a scheme called ‘Weekly Street Surgery.’ Often residents will be unaware that Liam will be visiting.

“Weekly street surgery has been active for 6 years. We select a street for that week and literally go and knock on doors. We talk to residents and fill out a sheet on their suggestions or issues with their street and area. I go out with Labour volunteers; we have a diary with our schedule for where we will be in that week. People are usually pleased that I have come out to talk to them.”

This is a great way for you, as local Hodge Hill residents to get your voice heard, your opinion does matter, and it’s the residents of Hodge Hill that know the most about what is going on in the area.

Look out for a schedule of where Liam will be each week on the B36Blogger site.

Weekly resident meetings are also to be resumed in January, this year local police officers will also be involved in meetings. This is another way for you to get involved in your local community, and hear what other residents have to say. Also look out for your invitation to these meetings coming through your post box.

Parents also have a chance to speak to Liam, as he also conducts a weekly ‘School gate surgery.’

“We go to a different school each week and talk to parents about any issues they might have. We learn the most from street and school gate surgery because we get the chance to talk to residents and find out what they are unhappy with.”

Hodge Hill 2020

The budget cuts do not mean it is not all doom and gloom for Hodge Hill, Liam’s vision for Hodge Hill has made some significant developments.

The ‘HH2020’ scheme promises a new sports village, improved shopping facilities and family housing. Already three kinds of progress have been made.

“We have made significant developments in physical regeneration, the planning application for the redevelopment of Shard End Crescent and adjoining maisonettes in already underway, and the developments are already visible. We have also provided new parking in Alum Rock, we want to make it a better place to go shopping.”

Liam also proposes to get community service up and running, there is already a scheme in place to get 2-3,000 youngsters increasing their confidence, which will give them great potential for the future. Liam is working with head teachers in schools to get this scheme to improve youngster’s self esteem in place within all Hodge Hill schools.

The Big Lottery Team has also recently awarded the Bromford and the Firs £1 million in long-term funding for good causes on the estates.

“We have learnt the value of having a vision for this community, and we are making steady steps forward, nothing happens as quickly as you want it to.”

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