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BIRMINGHAM: Referendum could mean no paved driveways

BIRMINGHAM: Referendum could mean no paved driveways

Credit: Birmingham City Council.

Homeowners in Perry Barr could be prevented from paving over front gardens to address flooding if a neighbourhood plan is approved by voters this week.

A referendum is to be held on October 28 on the Beeches, Booths and Barr (3Bs) Neighbourhood Plan – relating to a designated area of the Perry Barr ward.

The area roughly corresponds to the part of the ward north of the River Tame up to the A4041.

It does not include the One Stop Shopping Centre or the new housing being built at the former Birmingham City University (BCU) campus.

Residents will be asked to vote on whether they want the city to adopt the neighbourhood plan – developed over a six-year period – which would then shape planning decisions in the area.

The plan is intended to create a “garden suburb” where green spaces are allowed to flourish. It also aims to address flooding risk after 100 homes were flooded in a single day in 2016.

Among the suite of measures being suggested is the suggestion homeowners are discouraged from further paving over of front gardens, thought to have contributed to flooding.

A requirement is suggested for all developments – including the conversion of front gardens for parking – to show consideration has been made to address water run-off.

Other measures include finding ways to “improve the connections” between Perry Park, Perry Hall Park, Turnberry Park and Kingsdown Park to boost usage of them.

Tree planting would also be made a priority – with funding sought to replant trees previously lost and make it a policy for new developments to include the planting of trees on the street and other spaces.

Improvement of shopping areas including around Tower Hill should be supported with Tower Hill designated a local centre by the city council, according to the plan.

Perry Beeches resident Deborah Hey-Smith, 64, a landlord, said: “I am from the country but have lived in Birmingham for around 40 years and think green spaces are absolutely vital.

“We have an allotment where we have had lots of wildlife in it – that would be preserved, kept.”

Referring to the Perry Beeches estate, she said: “It used to be lawns at the front. Water would seep into the ground.”

But she said there are more cases now of paving being used on drives which leaves the water with nowhere to go.

Cllr Jon Hunt (Lib Dem, Perry Barr), who has been involved in the development of the plan – which was consulted on over the last winter – said: “It has taken six years to get this far.

“The plan aims to declare the area a garden suburb, recognising the fantastic gardens people have got and all the great work people have going on in parks in the area.”

He also said the plan aims to address the “significant flooding risk which has emerged” and hopes adoption of the plan would help the city council’s bid for funding from the Environment Agency for a flood prevention scheme for Perry Beeches.

“[Some residents] thought we were going to get powers to rip out their front drivers which is not quite the case”, he said, adding the plan addresses only new applications.

Information about the plan itself, the area subject to the referendum and the location of polling stations can be found on the council’s website at: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20054/local_plan_documents/1032/beeches_booths_and_barr_3bs_neighbourhood_plan

Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter


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