Birmingham Declaration On Climate Change

Ladywood ward - city centre housingBirmingham Liberal Democrats took a bold step this week proposing the “Birmingham Declaration On Climate Change”, which was adopted at Tuesday's full Council meeting.

Proposed by group leader Cllr Paul Tilsley and seconded by Ladywood’s Parliamentary Candidate Cllr Ayoub Khan, the Declaration shows Birmingham’s desire to lead the way out of this dual economic and environmental crisis we find ourselves in.

The Declaration will mean the country’s biggest local authority will use its purchasing power to stimulate the city’s green economy, creating new jobs whilst reducing energy bills for the residents.

I am delighted to see a commitment to connect 10% of homes to district heating systems, something which is already happening in Ladywood. There’s also a commitment to create a further ten eco-communities based on the successful Summerfield model.

In addition to this, the declaration states that by 2015 all Council vehicles should be electric or LPG, an electric car charging infrastructure will be developed, 50% of the Council's energy use will be from renewable sources, the Council's energy consumption will be cut by 25% and 10% of homes will have retrofit insulation.


The Cube – Modern Masterpiece or White Elephant?

The final phase of The Mailbox development is nearing completion. Named The Cube, the mixed-use development will provide a new hotel, with more shops, offices, apartments, bars and restaurants around Birmingham's canal district.

Many residents have contacted me to say the look of the building is nothing like they expected and could turn out to be an embarrassing mistake.

It was a similar story when the Mailbox itself was constructed and of course when the silver disc covered Selfridges building opened. But in time, Brummies seem to have taken both to their hearts.

So take a look at the artists impression, followed by the actual construction of the Cube. What do you think?

The Cube - artists impression

The Cube - during construction, August 2009

Planning Application for New Library of Birmingham

Site of the new Library of Birmingham
Proposed design of the new Library of Birmingham

The detailed planning application for the new Library of Birmingham has been submitted, which kicks off a public consultation period. It would appear the controversial design concept remains, although the height has been slightly reduced after complaints it would dwarf its neighbours.

I am pleased to see the building will be connected to the Broad Street CHP (Combined Heat and Power) network. I am also intrigued by this:

Publicly accessible terraces at the third and seventh floors will provide outdoor green spaces for a range of activities, including quiet areas to read and relax with views over the city – while a ‘brown roof’ will provide a natural habitat for wildlife.

Planning Online is currenlty down, having some much needed improvement work, but the plans will be available to view there in the next few days. Alternatively, you can view the plans at the Planning Office, Alpha Tower.


City Centre Neighbourhood Forum

Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum

On Monday evening I was invited along to a committee meeting of the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum. The group have trouble communicating on a regular basis with residents of the city centre, because the vast majority live in private developments with door entry codes. I joined them for the first portion of the meeting, where I presented a few tips and tricks on getting the local community engaged via the internet and specifically blogging.

Before I left we discussed a number of other issues including the Broad Street BID.

If you live within the city centre boundary (as defined by the map below), I'd encourage you to bookmark the Neighbourhood Forum Blog.

Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum area

Summer Walkabout in Ladywood

It was such a beautiful morning yesterday that I decided upon an impromptu walkabout the estates of Ladywood with a friend. We spent over two hours wandering from the Jewellery Quarter to Summer Hill Road, King Edwards Road, St Marks Crescent, Ledsam Street, Rodney Close, Guild Close, St Vincent St West and along Ladywood Middleway to Five Ways. We then stopped for breakfast on Broad Street before cutting through Brindley Place and back to the Jewellery Quarter.

It was a gorgeous day and we weren't the only ones strolling around - there was a real friendly atmosphere wherever we went. I took down several pieces of casework and along with my friend, we took the opportunity to take some snaps...

Rodney Close, Ladywood, in Bloom Ladywood play area
Birmingham Confucian Society, Ledsam Street, Ladywood Corner of King Edwards Road and Goodman Street, Ladywood
Demolition work on Broad Street, Birmingham Looking for food by the NIA
The Flapper, Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham Cambrian Wharf, Birmingham

The walk got me thinking. Ladywood ward isn't the first place many people think of going for a walk when the sun is shining, but there are some wonderful sights to see. Over the next few months I'll create a few walks and post them up here - hopefully residents and visitors alike will find them useful.