Thimblemill Rec. proposal going to Planning on Wednesday

Plans to chop down the woodland on the Thimblemill Recreation ground to clear the way for building 13 luxury homes will go to Sandwell Council's planning committee on Wednesday.

The plans have been recommended for approval by planning officers, despite the opposition of local Ward councillors and a petition signed by over 1,000 calling for the woodland to be preserved.

Smethwick councillor Richard Marshall said, “We are not anti-house building, but everyone knows we are surrounded by perfectly good sites in this area where new homes could be built without the need to destroy the last bit of natural uncultivated woodland in Smethwick. There are a number of environmental questions around this particular site which have not been answered, including issues of wildlife, drainage, and the road access on to Thimblemill Road.”

Abbey councillor Bob Piper said, “We feel there are perfectly good planning ground to throw out this report. I am not happy that some of the environmental issues are supposedly going to be agreed as conditions of the application after the planning consent has been granted. If these matters are going to be resolved it should be before the application is approved and open to public scrutiny, not cobbled together in private behind closed doors.”

The application will be considered by the planning committee in public session at Sandwell Council House in Oldbury on Wednesday 24th September at 5pm.

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For all those who think Harborne is nirvana… via the brilliant Simon Lea




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Lots of great ideas…

Lots of people, with lots of good ideas for Bearwood Road improvements this evening. The impressive thing was that there were so many people with such a positivity and enthusiasm for the area, keen to discuss the proposals in the consultation document, as well as coming up with ideas of their own.

If you couldn't make it tonight, do try to pop in and see us at the Baptist Church on Saturday morning.

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Tonight, between 6pm and 8pm there is a drop-in session to give you an opportunity to take a look at some draft plans for improvements along Bearwood Road

It isn't a 'meeting' in the sense that you turn up, sit quietly during a presentation, and then maybe get a chance to ask a question. You can pop-in anytime during the two hours, take a look at the plans, have a talk with a planner or councillor if you want, and let us know what you think of the suggestions, or make some of your own.

We've already had some good feedback online, and if you can't make it to St Mary's Church Hall tonight, there will be another opportunity on Saturday morning at Bearwood Baptist Church in Rawlings Road.

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Bearwood Road improvements

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.14.37Over the next few weeks we will be consulting on some proposals for improvements along the length of Bearwood Road. The initial proposals are based on various suggestions we have received over the last few years, and include items like improving the physical environment, making things easier and safer for pedestrians, and some items like new waste bins, street lighting and general maintenance improvements. These are outline proposals are designed to kick off the consultation and some may not even be practical or affordable in the financial package – but we want to start the conversation.

The draft of proposals can be downloaded here and there is some more detail on some maps here and here which may not reproduce too well on all computers, but if you would like a copy by e-mail, let us know via There is also a response form to enable Abbey Ward residents to comment on the existing proposals and submit ideas of their own, that can be downloaded here.

We are holding two public consultation sessions at:

St Mary's Church Hall

Wednesday 17th September

6pm – 8pm


Bearwood Baptist Church

Saturday 20th September

Rawlings Road

9am – 12 noon

Abbey Ward councillors and Sandwell Council Officers will be present to discuss the issues and hear your views and with some larger scale maps.

Again, for people unable to get along, fill in the feedback form or e-mail us your views and suggestions to


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Vote for the People’s Park!

Around 1902 William Henry Jones, owner of factories and quarries, bought Warley Abbey and the estate. Mr Jones saw profit in building on the farmland and was planning to build up to 3000 homes to meet a rising demand.

Happily, a committee of local industrialists stepped in to save the Abbey and the surrounding grounds. Headed by wealthy glassmaker Alexander Macombe Chance, the committee gained the backing of the Birmingham City Council leader Joseph Chamberlain. An appeal for funds was launched. Money poured in from the public to add to the funds provided by the council, and the estate was bought by Birmingham Corporation in 1905.

At the official opening Alexander Macombe Chance addressed the crowds. Chance said, ‘I want it known as the ‘people’s park’, for there never was a park in the Midlands before that was paid for directly by the money of the people’.

Today, Warley Woods is still a park run by the people, with a group of local volunteers helping to maintain it as a place to be enjoyed as a place of leisure, entertainment, recreation and exercise.

Every year there is a popular vote across Britain where people can vote for their favourite Green Flag park.

You can vote here today.

Vote for the People’s Park and ask your friends and e-mail contacts to take part too!

(photograph of the meadow at sunset by the wonderful Simon Lea)


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On Sunday 14th September the free Bearwood jam event will take place at Lightwoods Park skate park from 10.00am – 4.30pm.

Sandwell Council and Bearwood's Mr Tom Naylor are working together again in hosting the Bearwood Jam which is a free to enter / watch extreme sports competition being held at Lightwoods Park Skate park in Bearwood. The categories for each competition are Scooter, Skateboard and BMX with prizes going out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, plus more prizes up for grabs thanks to a host of sponsors.

So come along and join us, and if you can ride a skateboard, scooter or a BMX, then why not show off your skills at the jam. Anyone can enter but entrants will only be able to use the park at certain time depending on what competition entered. Just arrive 15 minutes before the competition start time to register, the times for each competition are:

· SCOOTERS 10.00 – 12.00

· SKATEBOARDS 12.00 – 14.00

· BMX 14.00 – 16.00

We have live music throughout the day with a headline act of DANTANNA who have recently been doing a lot for the Bearwood scene and will be performing from 4.00pm – 4.30pm. Other acts include DJ Craig Goodall, DJ Estee, DJ Nash and beat boxing extraordinaire SID FX.

We are looking for volunteers to help steward the event, register competitors for each competition at the registration desk and help to collect litter during the day. If you are interested in getting involved please come down to the skate park in Lightwoods Park between the hours of 9.30am and 4.30pm to sign in.

For further information please contact: Cherie O’Sullivan, Lightwoods Park Project Officer on 0121 569 4740 and

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