The Abbey Ward councillors will holding a consultation in September on a set of proposals aimed at brightening up Bearwood Road and dealing with some of the issues that have been raised with us in recent years.
Sandwell Council has earmarked around a million pounds for projects, and whilst we have some proposals we want to hear the views of local people about them, as well as hearing some ideas that we may be able to implement now or in the future.
Some of the proposals we already have include improving pedestrian crossings, tree planting on Bearwood Road, living walls, new waste bins, dealing with the ‘shabby’ gateway entrance near the Hagley Road junction, and removing clutter and surplus signage.
Planning Officers are currently drawing together the proposals in to a consultation document, and when that is ready we will post them on the blog, put them in public places like the library, and we will be arranging a couple of drop-in sessions where people can see the details, ask questions, and make their suggestions for improvements.
Abbey Councillor Steve Eling said,
“This consultation will be about real improvements that are going to happen. We are keen to get things moving now that the money is in place and we look forward to talking to residents and traders and receiving consultation responses.”
We know that with only a million pounds we can’t do some of the things that people will want to see, but we are open to ideas, and if some things aren’t immediately affordable, they can certainly be factored in as part of a longer term plan for Bearwood. We also have to be aware of issues which have competing demands. For instance, some people would want a completely pedestrianised Bearwood Road, but we have to balance that with whether it would drive more traders away, or cause major traffic issues in residential side streets.
Also, despite what some people think, the council don’t own any of the shops on Bearwood Road. We cannot decide who they are let to, nor how much the rent is set at. They are owned by private landlords, so contributions saying, “We want a shop which sells fresh fish/books/gentlemen’s outfitting etc.” are no doubt interesting, but not something we can control.
More information to follow shortly….