Summer is here…and Bearwood is Blooming

Well, at last, Summer is here (don’t blink) and this year’s Bearwood in Bloom is bigger and better than ever with more businesses, organisations and volunteers joining in than ever before to make our shopping areas so much more attractive and pleasing to the eye .

This year the flowers for the tubs were put together by volunteers accessing Sandwell MBC Mental Health Vocational and Employment Service with staff support from Tina Cundy, Project Support Worker. The tubs also received a small donation of plants and flowers from Homebase and B&Q

The most notable difference this year is the addition of the wooden surrounds which have been made up at cost price by our own Rutland Sheds with money donated by Sandwell MBC and Bearwood Traders.

One new intiative for this year is the introduction of veg and herbs in some of the planters, these have been kindly donated by Kate Slade and friends from Bearwood allotments.

Traders Association Chair Richard Marshall explained the reasoning behind this initiative…..

“It stems from last year when we initially put the tubs out we had a few of the new plants taken and, always trying to make something positive from a negative, I wondered how we could turn this around, and came up with the idea of vegetables and herbs. That way if people did take stuff then at least it may be useful to them. Also it gives people a chance to try stuff they may not normally use . So now when you buy say a piece of lamb from Higgins butchers you can take a snippet of fresh mint, or when you pop to the Antonios Food Emporium you can  sample some courgette.”

There are 15 main planters around the town with each one being unique and anyone interested in plants and flowers should track each one down to have a look , there is even a Union Flag in commemoration of the Queens Jubilee and the Olympic Games .

This year as previously said more areas are displaying hanging baskets and planted areas, with Bearwood Baptist Church, Samba bar, Mike Drapers numerous shops and Roberts and Brains being welcome additions to old favourites like the Bear Tavern, Azzaritoo and the area opposite Bearwood Road School all looking as fabulous as ever

One thing to remember folks is that these planters are yours, take ownership of them, feel free to water and dead head them if needed.

(Some photos to follow)

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37 Responses to Summer is here…and Bearwood is Blooming

  1. jezcollins says:

    This is good news but I need to point out here that my wife, Jennie Sandford, first suggested this idea of planting herbs and blackberry bushes on grass verges, in the tubs and so on. There is much literature out there about urban orchards etc and the Bearwood Pantry group are doing a lot of work around local and sustainable food networks. There seems to be a lot of revisionism going on in Bearwood about who is suggesting and doing things which I feel is divisive and creates tensions. There should be more joined up work and a sharing of the credit for the Bearwood initiatives that are taking place.

    • Bob says:

      Jez, I partially agree about this nonsense of claiming of who thought of what first, although with all due respect…you’ve just done that yourself. As far as I can see the Traders Association have done this, not suggested it as if it were an original idea (it has been done in lots of places, for years). And for that I think they deserve credit, in the same way as the Shuffle deserve credit for their music events, the Woods for their picnic (an idea that was 100 years old), the Lightwoods Friends for their Festival, Bearwood on Ice etc, the Crafty Muthas for their Handmade events…and all of the other voluntary things happening in Bearwood.

      So I make no apology for posting things on here about any of these things… whoever wants to claim credit for thinking of it, is welcome to do so.

  2. jezcollins says:

    Thanks Bob, I made the comment precisely because this is becoming more of an issue. I think if the Traders Assoc acknowledged where these ideas come from there would be a much better sense of working together. I do think the Trader Assoc DO some great things but they clearly don’t have the initial ideas on all these projects and this causes resentment when things are implemented as if it was their idea, this is not conducive to creating joint working practices. I think this is clearly becoming an issue judging by Facebook etc and in the end will be detrimental to everyone in Bearwood. I’m not involved in any of the different groups but do feel that the ‘alternate’ trading and community groups get squeezed out and not included in discussions abt projects for Bearwood. There has to be an understanding that these groups have significantly more people behind them, while they have to understand the Traders Assoc carry more economic impact. Together they become a formidable group. They need to work together with the Cllrs as facilitators.

    • Bob says:

      Jez, personally, I don’t care who ‘thinks’ of the ideas. Myself, I have a dozen good ideas before breakfast each morning, but to paraphrase an old German philosopher “The task is not just to understand the world but to change it.” I could have thought of Atticus… but you actually did it! I know which is more important.

      I can’t see this ‘squeezed out’ concept. I don’t know who is squeezing who. I have followed some of the daft comments on Facebook, and I got sent a series of e-mails from various people which didn’t make much sense either. People who want to do something… get on and do it is my advice, whether you do it together or seperately matters less than whether you do it.

  3. Richard chair of Bearwood Taders says:

    Jez, I am totally bemused your coments, I have never had so much as a chat with jennie about anything in partiular let alone sharing ideas , also I hadnt even met Jennie till earlier this year, when it clearly states in the initial post that the idea I implemented in the planters I have put out was discussed with others last year, I have not and would not ever say that an idea that I am putting into place with whichever organisation I am associated with around Bearwood and Sandwell (of which there are many) is one of my own if it was not and always put on record where the idea came from.

    And if you Jennie or anyone else is upset by that then I apologise, but we are talking about brightening up the shopping areas not claiming credit for the fortunes of the tetrapak empire. As for anyone being squeezed out I have no knowledge of such things but I can say this does not sound like the council or cllrs or even council officers that I have had dealings with in the past as there is an every increasing list of groups and good causes that they bend over backwards to accomodate.

  4. Carl Schneider says:

    Sadly the national survey results support Jez’s report that the community in Bearwood feel disenfranchised. Here are the facts:

    http://www.sandwelltrends.info/lisv2/navigation/maps.asp?QUERYID=207

    Only 12.8% feel they can affect decisions. I am not pointing fingers and please don’t shoot the messenger. The fact that people in Abbey Ward feel the least involved in decision making in Sandwell (which in turn is poor for the region) HAS to change. This IS a great community with MANY wonderful people. I hope that we can work together.

    • Bob says:

      Carl, I gave up relying on opinion polls on the night Neil Kinnock lost the general election despite every opinion poll saying the contrary. They even told me people thought Nick Clegg was a good idea.

      I don’t want to point fingers either, but if we are willy waving in public, looking at the minutes of your last Better Bearwood meeting you attracted just over a dozen people (not all of whom lived in the Ward) out of the 8,800 plus registered voters in Bearwood. Perhaps we should have a survey to see how many people think that is a representative sample of people in the area, and how you propose to bring about change with that size sample.

      As councillors we get representations from lots of people, not all of whom are in a group as large as yours, and we do our best to represent and respond to them all.

      • Carl Schneider says:

        Bob, it is sad that you ignore your constituents in that manner. A community survey of your electorate performed by Sandwell Council sounds like the very thing an elected representative should be paying attention to. Your very response above proves the results current. Its a shame really and I hope that you are able to turn it around for all of our sakes.

        p.s. as you have read the minutes you have read that I am not on the Better Bearwood executive. Just a concerned member of the public that you represent. I am not setting myself out to represent any organisation or association thank you other than being a member of your constituency.

      • Bob says:

        Carl, I didn’t even know it had an ‘Executive”. Who elected them?

        I was elected by 40% of the entire electorate of Bearwood, and it is them I am accountable, not ‘surveys’ or self-appointed ‘community representatives’.

  5. Marie Marshall says:

    Jezz, l think you are being quite presumptuous by your comments, as you say your not a member of any group. . If so how do you know where ideas originate from and if your wife did think of this idea what did she do about it?

    l was with Richard when some of the plants got stolen last year and he suggested herbs and veg and l thought he’d gone mad. Then he asked Kate from the Allotments Society re his acknowledgement on the initial posting (and If you would like to contact the Traders Association l am sure that they can tell you where every idea/project that they have been involved in originated from).

    I can also tell you the Traders Association work hard for this area – thank you for acknowledging that – and work with many groups as part of a wider team and it seems to me that there are certain groups that talk about doing everything but don’t actually do anything, then constantly resent anyone that does. If these groups want to do anything in Bearwood then all they have to do is come up with an ORIGINAL idea speak to the council and they will give them any help they need. The only thing is that this usually means the group would have to give up lots of valuable time with no rewards i.e. working till 9 of an evening to get the tubs and the surrounds on the high street each tub and surround having to be individually wheeled, this is after a day at work, giving up time in the day to attend meetings, constant phone calls to make sure ideas come to fruition, this with no reward, no advertising for individual business ventures’ all this is done just to make the area look better for everyone.

  6. Carl Schneider says:

    No reply link to your last post Bob so I had to reply down here. My understanding was that you represent ALL the Ward not just those that voted for you. Thank you for clarifying.

    • Bob says:

      Bit of a philosophical point, Carl. I am accountable to all of our electorate, I take up issues on behalf of anyone, but “”represent”… I’m not sure that’s possible. Some people want things which are diametrically opposed to others. It isn’t possible to please everyone.

  7. Carl Schneider says:

    Oh and thanks for shooting! 🙂

  8. Samantha says:

    As a new resident of the area, l have attended the last few BetterBearwood meetings, and i have to agree with Bob, I cannot remember their being a vote for an executive to be appointed when was this? Also one of the last meetings two Abbey ward councillors attended along with a council officer whom i can’t remember his name (sorry) and they seemed very willing to help as long as we as a group came up with an idea to improve Bearwood that wasn’t already being implemened. So i think that as we only have a very small group we will need a lot of help from others to achieve anything and i think that this attitude is probably why our group remains so unrepresentative of the community.

  9. Jez Collins says:

    Hi everyone, Richard and Michelle, I’ve not mentioned Richards name so not sure why anyone feels bemuse about what I have writtend. Michelle, Bob will recall the discussions he and I had in 2006/7 on the terrace of my bar about getting an active Traders Assoc and things like becoming a Bid area, unfortunately I was unsuccessful in making this a functioning group so I’m delighted that this has now been established (I mean the Traders Assoc) and I recognise the work it does for the area. But…it is one piece of a jigsaw called the community and I am merely stating that a section of this community feels more and more disenfranchised from the processes that are going on. One of this is the sense that people are putting forward ideas or suggestions that then turn up as if originated from the Traders Assoc and I think this is what causes issues. My comments are more a plea to for these groups to work more closely together, there is more to be gained this way while respecting everyone’s different agendas. And I’m sorry if this seems like a criticism but I don’t think the Traders Assoc is an open grump that represents the whole of Bearwood and this is something that particularly saddens me about your comments Bob. You seem intent on criticising the Better Bearwood group (of which I have no alliance to) yet never question the Traders Group and their motivation, what is the difference? And Bob, willy waving as you call is stupid. At the last election only 2,674 voted, approx 2/3 of the ward voted for no one. % means nothing, why would you criticise a group of people getting involved in their community to make their society better. Labour was built on this ethos. I really don’t understand it.
    And Michelle, you highlighted an error I made earlier when I said I wasn’t part of a group. I was wrong I am am member of a group and that is a member of this community. Like a lot of people I want us to improve where we live in all manner of mays and we have different approaches in how we might achieve this but we need to work together to do this and there will be disagreements but hey ho, I’d hope everyone was mature enough to understand this.
    And Richard you did meet Jen before this year, outside Global as I recall where you both spoke about the new planting tubs. (I’m not suggesting you remember every conversation you have 🙂 )
    I hope this discussion is taken in the spirit it is intended, a call for all interested parties to meet and work together for what are shared aims, a better, more vibrant, more economically sustainable Bearwood. I have much admiration for all the different groups trying to achieve this.
    In solidarity. Jez

    • jezcollins says:

      Oops sorry, I meant Marie, not Michelle. Sorry Marie!

    • Bob says:

      Jez, I won’t answer for the Traders or Richard (it’s Marie, by the way) but I don’t have any criticism of the Better Bearwood group. I wasn’t overly impressed with their first bid, but held my peace, publicised it, posted the video on the blog, and referred people to the Facebook page.

      I wasn’t even in the country for the fractious meeting between the councillors and Better Bearwood, but I was less than impressed by some of the accusatory e-mails from the BB people saying councillors had scuppered the second bid.

      Water under the bridge Jez – my last election showed a 56% share of a 67% turnout by the way – but my only request to BB has been to request them to properly constitute themselves so that I know who they speak on behalf of, and to whom they are accountable. Anyone can claim to speak on behalf of ‘the community’ (as if there was just one), but it isn’t unreasonable to ask who gave them that authority and how are they accountable to those they claim to speak on behalf of.

      In solidarity.

      Bob

    • rchard says:

      Jez no one to my knowledge no one has said that the traders association speaks for everyone, it speaks for traders( and of course its not an open ‘grump’) and works for the good of the community as it is resident based- I would l ike to know what ideas you are actually refering to when you say’ sections of the community put forward ideas for them to then turn up as if originated from the traders’?

      Jezz by your comment you insinuate that you were there when your wife is supposed to have had this liason with me outside Global but the reality of it is I had never met up with you either until we met in Azzaritoo earlier this year when you came to a Mary Portas meeting

  10. marie says:

    Jez whos this aimed at as my names Marie and the only other female that has commented is Samantha

  11. jezcollins says:

    Hi Marie, I’ve already highlighted my mistake, check under the entry at 9.33….sorry

  12. Matt Taylor says:

    Hi Bob,
    You may not have been impressed with the first bid, but if it was not for the BetterBearwood group, the first bid would not have been subject (as you know) to much community consultation, correct me if I am wrong, but Better Bearwood was formed through a belief in the wider community & consultation, if Richard Marshall at that time had had his way, the bid would have been started by a very small and select group of people, excluding the wider community who wanted to be involved. Better Bearwood seem to be getting kicked by certain parties for doing what everyone wants. Consulting. And this they did as much as they could at the time, a lot of people gave up a a lot of time consulting with the community & trying their level best to get beyond the remits of the internet.
    It seems to me that certain groups are used to getting their own way with unchallenged support from the council and they see new groups as competition and this is causing resentment.
    Samantha, as a member of the Better Bearwood group, you seem to have been doing everything within your power over the last month or so to destroy it, would this have anything to do with your close relationship to the Marshall family, maybe I am speaking out of turn, but if you wanted to do something positive maybe you could use your influence to bring these groups together, rather than drive them further apart.

    As Jez said, solidarity…lets hope we can work towards this in the future…

    Matt

    • Bob says:

      Actually, Matt, there would have been no BB Portas bid if Richard hadn’t called together a group in the first place. You then slightly re-write history. Because of the short time scales (5 weeks) Richard wanted to put together some suggestions based around what people knew about the community, and then consult with people about those proposals. Others wanted ‘a more diverse range of people’ to put the bid together, including the minority ethnic population, and the Polish community, I recall.

      As a consequence we had a large consultation resulting in a rushed bid which didnt seem to bear much resemblence to the consultation, and a confusing video, and no sign of the BME community – let alone the Poles. Everyone may want consulting, but with a small group of people and totally unrealistic timetables, there really wasn’t the time to do it.

      But as I say, I still publicised it extensively, as I have done with all of the other Groups who want to do something, including the Bearwood Promoters, the Friends Group(s), the Bearwood in Bloom folk, Warley Woods, Bearwood Chapel, Bearwood Handmade, and much, much more. I don’t ask the Bearwood Promoters if they have consulted far and wide about the sort of music they put on, I say, go for it, you are livening up the old place. If you have examples of new groups being hampered or prevented from doing anything by ‘the council’ or the councillors, please give me examples and I’ll see if we can do anything about it. So far we have been short of evidence to back up these allegations which keep being casually thrown around.

      Best of luck to the BB group, and all of the other groups striving to improve our town.

      PS – Matt, I can point to plenty of examples where I have promoted Better Bearwood’s Portas bid. Could you give me one single example of an instance where I have obstructed anything they have done?

  13. rchard says:

    I cannot believe some of the mis-guided mis-interpreted tosh that is being put on this post purporting to be fact. I have done nothing except help and assist idividuals and groups to help set up and establish themselves to make Bearwood a better place for anyone that lives works or visits here, to say anything else is just a blatant un-truth. I am not going to openly point fingers of blame at people as its not professional and I dont believe it helps anyone, but the fact is following Leigh Rudd identifying the Portas competition , I as traders chair pulled together what I thought was a team of professional people with wide ranging views who were widely linked within the community and council representing many groups with the clear objective of winning a competition with only 5 wks to do it in, not excluding anyone but to come up with a series of ideas within the group to put out to the wider public to agree on, this was purely for the competition and never ever was it seen as a bigger long term picture for Bearwood. I think if you look at all the successful bids they had this kind of representative group from the off and I think this is the reason why the first and now second Portas bid in Bearwood has failed. AND on a final point the BB ‘executive’ have cut me off from the email listing not the other way round so if there is any anomosity or resentment it is from their side not mine, thats not the way I work as I’d hope anyone I work with would openly say.

  14. Matt Taylor says:

    Bob,
    You may be correct in your history, however if everything was this straight forward, why did a large proportion of the people involved feel shut out after the first meeting & feel the need to head in a different direction?
    Surely a bid (even one that fails) that is put together by the community is better than a bid that is put together by a select group who think they know what the community want. The group then consulted with the community & got over 600 responses, are you saying that none of these were from the BME or Polish community, as most of the questionnaires were given out on the high street I find this difficult to believe.
    I am not sure where in my original comment you think I accused you of blocking anyone from doing anything, I think you should have read my original posting more thoroughly before replying, maybe it was beacuse it was 7.15am, so I will forgive you that! I think you do a good job of promoting all Bearwood groups.
    Going forward I think that we need more transparency on how public money is spent in Bearwood, I believe the feeling is (as Jez stated earlier) that Team Bearwood & the traders seem to have the ear of the council & the cash sewn up with no consultancy – whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter – the fact is there is no transparency (so rumours be it true or false will arise), where are the minutes from the traders association & other meetings,who decides who gets public money, as soon as you are seen to be spending from public pots you put yourself on a pedestal & should therefore be open & honest about your plans.
    I think you miss the point Bob, the crafty mothers, the promoters etc, rely on no-one except themselves they are self sufficient & do not need any funding from public pots to exist.
    Correct me if I am wrong (I am sure you will) but the public spend that the traders & team Bearwood incur is by its very nature a matter for the community as a whole. If you can point me in the direction of minutes from the traders association I would be happy to read them as they should be in the public domain along with any consultation documents to support any MBC spend.
    Oh & Richard all Better Bearwood meetings are open to everyone, I am not sure there is an email list. They were widely publicised on facebook & in the wider community (I think, I am not representative of BB) therefore you would have been most welcome to attend.

    Matt

    • Bob says:

      Matt, I’m at work now until about 8pm tonight so I’m not ignoring you but unable to give a quick response… although I’m not sure what public money you are talking about. Team Bearwood asked through the Neighbourhood Forum for a tiny amount of money for the fluorescent vests to help them Steward Bearwood on Ice, and I think there was a kick start grant of a couple of hundred quid last year to pay towards Bearwood in Bloom. Other than that I don’t recall any public money at all, but perhaps others know better.

    • Bob says:

      Following your contemptible comments to Samantha, which have clearly been hurtful, I am not prepared to engage with you or your friends on here Matt. I don’t want this site to be turned into the sour slanging match that have become the norm on the Facebook page.

      I will simply say that to my knowledge the Bearwood Traders Association has not had a penny piece off the Council, in fact the Traders have put a lot of their own money in. The only money that was spent on Team Bearwood was buying some bibs for volunteers, who put in hundreds of unpaid hours for the Bearwood on Ice event which could not have happened without them.

      You just carry on consulting.

  15. Mark Griffiths says:

    I think they look great, let’s all do our best to keep any litter out of them and we should have a nice looking Bearwood for the whole summer! The wooden surrounds are definitely an improvement on last years (not that they were bad), good work Rutland Sheds!

  16. Samantha says:

    Matt, YES you are speaking out of turn.
    I am a grown up, single mother with a full time demanding job, a voice and a mind of my OWN.
    I haven’t been in the area for very long and wanted to get involved in the community and thought this group would allow me to do that. I am quite upset by your insinuations Matt, as i have said i have my own voice and mind and will say what i feel is appropriate.
    I have helped with team bearwood on a couple of occasions in the park and woods and delivered leaflets for the traders news and not on any occasion did i feel isolated, i was only ever welcomed. Your comments have made me feel that by doing this i am consorting with the enemy.
    Surely the point is that anyone who does anything in Bearwood to improve the area should be thanked.
    To be honest, I don’t feel that i have done anything to divide this group i have my own opinions and if i disagree with any member of any group then i feel i have the right to say.
    I was at the last meeting and there was no executive elected while i was there and i feel that my question was valid as to when this was agreed. If you are telling me that by speaking my mind or asking questions is dividing the group, then how am i supposed to feel when attending the next meeting? ( when is this? as i haven’t had any dates through, maybe i have already been excluded) Ok as long as i agree with everyone, is this what you mean by solidarity.
    l feel that you have been completely unfair and put me in a very uncomfortable position for no justifiable reason.

  17. Marie says:

    Matt, how dare you bring my family into any comments on this blog in such a derisory manner, l don’t know why you seem to have such venom for anything my family and especially my husband does in this area. Maybe you can answer this question?
    All we do is try to make Bearwood a nicer place for everyone and l really don’t know why you have such a problem with this. You keep saying that your not part of the bb group so are you angry as a resident of Bearwood or that we haven’t consulted before we have,
    put flowers on the high street,
    volunteer for events in the park,
    do litter picks around the area
    that my son and daughter give up there valuable time to help at the youth group at St Mary’s church
    that my husband as well as a full time job works around an extra 20 volunteer hrs a week for this area
    that we raised nearly £1500 for the Thimblemill cemetry family fund
    that we help tidy Thimblemill Brook,
    that we do regular nightly visits to the park to help keep our children safe.
    that my husband goes out with the police to make sure that they keep ontop of issues in our area
    WHAT IS IT MATT, CARL, JEZZ?
    We can all be keyboard warriors, the thing is if you and any group that you may or may not be associated with got off their backsides and did a tenth of the volunteer hours my family puts in then imagine what Bearwood could be.
    Don’t think l am in any way complaining about doing what we do, or that we expect anyone to put the hours in that we do, we love it and have lots of volunteers that love it too ,over 150 individals have helped out Team Bearwood in the last 6 months (not many from the bb group only Coral and her husband Phil and it was lovely to have them on board).
    My final points and one l am quite disgusted with, is how you think that you can use this site to bully a new resident to the area because she dared to disagree with a group that you are not supposed to belong to or was it solely because she heped out with us around the area, this is cruel an quite pathetic. (Samantha take no notice you can help us any time)
    Finally, l really cannot understand why you and others apart from one, that say your not part of the bb group, think it is ok to turn such a positive post into such a negative thread, this seems to be like the bullying tactics on the Bearwood facebook page and l and my family are no longer going to be a part of it and l think you all should be ashamed of yourselves.
    P.S. Matt, as you or anyone else has access to Richards number, if you have any accusations to throw his way be a man about it and contact him direct instead (as l have said before) of being a keyboard warrior.

    • Bob says:

      Marie, I appreciate you are upset, rightly so, particularly after some of the things being thrown around about Richard, but could we leave people to throw insults at each other on Facebook rather than turn the Bearwood Blog into that sort of site. Please. This site gets up to 10,000 original hits a month and is followed very closely by the media, and these unseemly negative rows do none of us any favours in portraying Bearwood in a positive light. Thanks.

  18. jezcollins says:

    Woah! I’ve said before that these types of spaces aren’t the best to have considered conversations, I’m happy to meet Richard, Marie and Bob and have a discussion about this. My intention when I first posted was to highlight what I think is an area of concern for some people (me included) which is beginning to have detrimental affects on the stated aims of a number of organisations and to suggest more should be done to encourage co-operation between the parties, and I have sat on both sides of the fence as a trader and consumer/citizen. Lets meet for a beer and we can talk this through and move forward. I need to re-iterate though that I am not an active member of any group, I don’t use the Bearwood Facebook group and I won’t be representing or seeking to represent their views.
    And this will be my last comment on here following Bob’s request.
    If you want to email me you can here jez.collins@bcu.ac.uk

  19. marie says:

    Agreed Bob, as always the minoritory spoil it for the majoritory

  20. marie says:

    and I apologise for coming across as emotional but what wife wouldnt be after seeing all the hours her husband puts in for no reward other than to make the place he now lives resemble the lovely place he and others grew up as a kid – Bearwood!

  21. Matt Taylor says:

    It seems to me that Jez is sticking up for Jen, Marie is sticking up for Richard & I am sticking up for Sall (albeit not very well by the looks of it) All of whom are trying to do their best for the community & Bearwood as a whole, so as Jez has suggested lets get together & sort this out.
    Samantha I am not in the BB group & my intention was not to drive you from the group my post was based on the repeatedly negative comments you placed
    on the facebook page, that is all (and what I & others could have or did read into them).
    At the moment some groups aren’t working together imagine what could
    happen if we all put our differences aside and didm

  22. Steve Eling says:

    Well I for one am stunned by the sort of nasty and insulting comments that have been made in response to an article that is about brightening up Bearwood, with the support of the local community and traders and has been done on a largely voluntary basis.

    How about a “well done to all those who have put in the effort”, which is what is being said by people who have spoken to me, and who don’t have the sort of axe to grind that appears to be behind some of the comments.

    I have heard, though, that this is the norm for Bearwood on facebook. I don’t use facebook myself, but if what I hear is true then it is hardly, like the comments posted on here, a good advert for Bearwood. In fact as a lifetime Bearwood resident and councillor for the ward for 26 years, I have never known such fractious division and hostility.

    Just on the Portas bid, to set the record straight, it was Richard Marshall that approached me at the start asking me to ensure that the Council would give its support to a bid (which was a requirement). This I did and offered any other support that would be helpful. Later, at the meeting referred to above where Ann Jaron and I attended, we offered what we considered to be helpful advice and further support. Our offer of support was never called upon.

    So, and in response to some of the comments, from the person who brought about the transfer of Lightwoods Park to local control and the involvement of the local community, as I did with Warley Woods, I can say not only for myself but also for Bob and Ann we neither need to defend our democratic legitimacy or our record of supporting community engagement in making improvements to Bearwood, and with our support and engagement, we have achieved this without a load of bitching and people poking each other in the eye.

  23. Carl Schneider says:

    Please don’t draw me into this Marie. I made no comment other than to Bob regarding the low proportion of residents that believe themselves able to influence decision making. That and to state I hope we can work together as a community.

    I also said that I am just representing myself as a constituent and don’t speak for any group. I hope that I can volunteer alongside you in good faith in future as I did last week at Lightwoods Park.

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