You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…

…they've paved paradise…and put up a parking lot!

They're planning to put 13 4-bedroomed, two & three storey dwellings, with double garages, on the land behind the pool at the Thimblemill Recreation ground. You can see all of the planning documents, including a habitat and protective species report here

Some local people think it is a bad idea, and believe the people of the area should be included as protective species as well as the wildlife! If you agree with them…you could sign their petition to the planning authorities here

And if you need any added incentive, here's Simon Lea's beautiful picture of the Thimblemill Pool


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21 Responses to You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…

  1. nick blower says:

    Isn’t there anyway we can protest against this ridiculous idea!

    • Bob says:

      Yes, in addition to the petition people can lobby their councillors (although if they are on the planning committee they cannot promise to support you, otherwise they would be prevented from voting because they would have pre-judged the outcome) and those not on planning can offer their support. People could turn up at planning to show the strength of the opposition, if there are sufficient numbers they could demonstrate prior to the committee. A public meeting would test the strength of feeling, and a series of mothers with pushchairs crossing Thimblemill Road in a steady stream could cause traffic chaos to draw attention to the dangerous road…(so I couldn’t possibly advocate that!)

  2. Simon says:

    I’m a member of the Thimblemill Recreational club (aka GKN) and had no idea this was happening. I understand the club is struggling financially but did not think things were that bad that they are selling land off.

  3. rosemarie hadley says:

    I was always under the impression that this land was protected in some way for the local community to enjoy?

    • Bob says:

      I don’t think so Rosemary because I doubt the planning permission would have been accepted if there was a covenant on the land.

  4. Sally Taylor says:

    Bob, does a comment here count as lobbying my local councillor? I’ve only just come across this wonderful piece of land, after sending my son to Lilliput Lodge Nursery. It would be such a shame to see it go. I also think it’s a shame that it’s not open to the public (the pond at least), but that’s a whole other conversation…

    • Bob says:

      It can count as lobbying, Sally, but as none of the Abbey councillors currently sit on planning committee we are open to as much lobbying as people want to do. I will be supporting any activities by the Ward councillors and residents in Smethwick to oppose this application.

  5. Ellen Fenton says:

    I remember reading not so long ago that this piece of land along with the rest of the brook was important and rare in an urban setting, something to do with peoples needs, I want to say Maslows hierarchy but I’m not sure, either way Bob I would be very grateful if there is anything you can do to protect the small pieces of land like this that Bearwood has left and not let them pave paradise with parking lots, which let’s face it with room for at a minimum 26 cars, is what they are really trying to do!

  6. Kelly Ahmed nee marshall says:

    I have obtained the title deeds and unfortunately there are no covenants on the land.

  7. Dave Waldron says:

    The pool is not going to be touched. Tbh I have no problem with it, people normally through litter over the fence and if your not a member of the Rec club you get a right bollocking for walking around the pool

  8. Smithy says:

    From what i hear the housing project is to help fund the GKN to stay open !!.So if the housing does not go ahead the GKN will close and the whole lot will be housing as the entire land would be sold.

    • Bob says:

      I very much doubt they would obtain planning permission for that either.

      • Smithy says:

        The tennis court area was sold for housing a few years ago,to fund GKN costs,every year the GKN are saying they are losing money.If the entire land was sold you are saying to me it won’t be built on.Money talks these days.If the club closes it won’t be left as wasteland that’s for sure.

      • Bob says:

        Maybe, but planning permission isn’t for sale.

  9. keithbracey says:

    Residential developers are NOT allowed Planing Consent to develop on Sports Field land without there being a quid pro quo that they provide a ‘Community Benefit’ for the local area….The former Avery Sports Ground on Sandon Road opposite the end of Barnsley Road is owned by Persimmon Homes…..they have entered into an agreement with a local sports club and Birmingham City Council, the Planning Authority for that site (it is just in Birmingham) to provide a Community Sports facility, probably rugby-related for a local sports club on a proportion of the site with the balance undergoing residential development.

    This is known by Local Authority Planning Officers ( I used to work in Planning and Regeneration Department of Birmingham City Council, until being made redundant) as ‘Planning Gain’.

    This term is used whereby local ‘community gains’ a sporting facility in return for a residential developer receiving residential planning consent

    I would not be surprised if Thimblemill Rec have some sort of agreement with the developer involved and the local planning authority (Sandwell Council), or at least they should have so that the community gains and we do not lose valuable woodland without there being a ‘community gain’ ie some sort of new community sporting facility as part of the deal.

    This is what is happening at Sandon Road and the former Avery Sports Ground

    Can you shed any light on that Bob? Will there be any ‘planning gain’ of an additional community sports facility as part of this deal?

    If as they say the Sports Club will cease to exist if they are not allowed to sell off land for residential development this would appear to be a sensible way forward so that at least the local Bearwood Community gets something out of it like a 4G artificial pitch for hockey/football/rugby.

    At the rugby union club I support Moseley who play on Birmingham City Council parkland at Billesley Common in South Birmingham they installed a new 3G artificial pitch which is suitable for soccer and rugby with the assistance of Birmingham City Council

    The Moseley Rugby Club 3G pitch hosts junio rugby and local soccer clubs

    British Lions Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell are filming the Channel 4 ‘School of Hard Knocks’ TV programme there this week…….

    Just a sporting thought……………………Bearwood might be able to get a ‘Community Sports Facility’ as part of this deal……..?

    Enlighten us please Bob?

    Is it something Sandwell Council and Thimblemill Recreation Club have considered?

    • Bob says:

      Keith, I doubt the planning officers would indicate their views on this one way or the other whilst the consultation process was underway. When the consultation closes it may well be a matter they have to take into consideration.

  10. keithbracey says:

    Thanks Bob……..certainly I think Sandwell Council Planning Officers should try to follow what Birmingham Planning Officers have achieved at The Avery Sports Ground site, which will hopefully be to the community’s benefit……a nice 4G artificial pitch for hockey and soccer, especially as the Thimblemill Recreation ground plays host to several football clubs, many of them based in Bearwood.

    A new state-of-the-art artificial pitch would be a great boon for the Borough of Sandwell and the Bearwood area……to go with the new Sports Centre at the Harry Mitchell site in Smethwick and the new ‘Lifestyle Centre’ at Portway Road in Oldbury…..

    I know, I know the other two are Sandwell Council-owned and run……but one can dream……?????Can’t one….?

    As someone whose daughter plays National League hockey for Harborne Hockey Club Ladies 1st XI at the age of 17 and who was selected for the England Under 18 Hockey Squad at the Futures Cup at Cannock Hockey Club last October……self interest…..? Moi……?…….Nah!!!!……Never!

    Up the Villa…..!!!!!!!

    • Smithy says:

      Since Avery Sports closed what has bearwood gained from this,absolute nothing.The site has been closed for 15+ years wasting away.
      May i just say if they do build on the site proposed at the GKN anyone who knows the area will know it will be a prime spot for the houses to flood.The land at the moment is overgrown and bog land to be honest,Remove the trees and cement over then all rainfall would converge onto this site.Thimblemill island is bad enough as it is for flooding.I’d never buy a house on the new site that’s for sure…

  11. Kimberley says:

    Are there any updates on this?

  12. Stephen Horton says:

    If the club needs help to stay afloat….why not join up as members and patronize the place. There are few enough drinking establishments around now as it is. The grounds are nice and well kept. You can take your children or grandchildren there and enjoy what the place has to offer….let’s all do a little bit to keep whats there.

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