Future City Plan

23/03/2021 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Only a few days remain to comment on this vison for 2040 from Birmingham City Council planners, closing at the end of Friday 26th March. The idea is to join inner city neighbourhoods, including Balsall Heath and Highgate, onto the city centre, as “Central Birmingham”. This involves reducing the barrier of the Middleway, with crossings for pedestrians and cyclists. Green spaces are to be linked up, and even space for food growing is mentioned.

However, it is also about attracting inward investment and new developments, with perhaps the danger of pricing out existing residents and businesses. The Balsall Heath Development Plan needs to be supported as the expression of local community’s aspiration for a “sustainable community”. BHIOP will make a submission, saying these things, based on our work over many years – and so can you… Consultation; Future City Plan at BeHeard

Town Square for Balsall Heath

02/03/2021 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The deadline for your views on the Town Square is the end of Friday 5th March. Changes can start this summer 2021 with some small improvements. Longer term, the Town Square proposals would involve making more space for pedestrians and cyclists, without widening the roads. Car parking space to be re-organised. It should be possible to make this fit with funding for bus priority along the A435 that was discussed in 2019, since when the pandemic has made any narrowing of the footways impossible. There are access issues to be resolved with the Town Square, but the impact of traffic overall should be reduced and the approach is similar to the centres of Moseley and Kings Heath. Picture below is the location in April 2018 when traffic was diverted for one day. The Plan and the Survey for you to make your submission are at Beheard

Date labels waste food

29/01/2021 at 4:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Often food that has passed its ‘Best Before’ date is perfectly safe to eat for weeks, or even months afterwards. Date label confusion causes a great deal of food to be wasted. The “Too Good To Go” campaign aims to help people to better understand whether produce is safe to eat . “Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste” is the slogan, endorsed by 25 leading food brands.

Not throwing away good food saves you money, saves on producing and packaging and on waste disposal as well. Some useful information about the meaning of Best Before, Sell By and Use By dates is at Too Good To Go


Simple energy advice

03/01/2021 at 11:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There is a good website that shows easy ways to cut your gas and electric bills, without feeling cold, see Video

Balsall Heath has many older homes that need a lot of insulation work to hold the heat. Blocking draughts is very important, and I have draught stripped my front and back doors. Lowering heating control by just 1 C can save 10% on heating over a winter.

The website has advice for tenants , as well as improvements that homeowners can make. There is also information about grants and an advice phone number to ring. You can check also with the Energy Savings Trust website

Present for cyclists

21/12/2020 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Cycling, Streets | Leave a comment

We have cleared the Rea Valley Cycle Path through Balsall Heath, back to its correct width. On the shortest day, 21st December volunteers from Sustrans, BHIOP and litter pickers came together to clear the accumulated leaves, soil and grass which was narrowing the path and forcing cyclists from different directions much too close together. In the dark evenings, this was getting dangerous, while reports to the council had drawn no action. The Rea Valley Cycle Route was opened in 1990 and has been adopted as part of the Sustrans national cycle network, and is used by hundreds of cyclists every day.

A lady brought tea and biscuits when she saw that we were doing and several passers-by offered to help in future. Cyclists said thank you!

Replace Incineration with Recycling

03/11/2020 at 10:51 am | Posted in Air pollution, Food, Recycling | Leave a comment

A Petition has been started, calling on Birmingham City Council to make a plan to run down its incineration of council-collected waste, and instead to reuse, recycle, compost or digest what people throw away. . The incinerator at Tyseley is a huge emitter of carbon dioxide, and the Council has adopted a Climate Emergency Declaration, to reduce to zero carbon by 2030.

Many people in Balsall Heath try to recycle and compost at home, but a big change is wanted if Birmingham is to reach the recycling rate of the best cities. Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s petition will go the Council at the start of December.

The petition is HERE


Video -The Re-greening of Balsall Heath

13/10/2020 at 2:00 pm | Posted in Gardens, Green Spaces | Leave a comment

It’s is not all bad news! During the covid lockdown, a great video has been produced, starring Balsall Heath gardener and poet Jeremy Hunt, who shows how the Bee Garden was made and other community gardening successes in our neighbourhood.

An inspiring story about how we can build back greener Video here

Electrify your bike

26/09/2020 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Air pollution, Cycling, Streets | Leave a comment

Could you add a battery and electric motor to your existing bike ? Many people have started cycling again this summer, but that find getting up hills in Birmingham really slows you down.

I was pleased to meet someone at the Moseley Farmers Market with a great idea. Instead of buying a new electric bike, at say £2,000, it is possible to add a motor to your front hub, leaving the rear wheel with the gears as they are. Moseleyebikes can supply a kit for you to electrify an existing bike. More details are at their site

Just this !

Improve our Parks

04/09/2020 at 5:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Birmingham Parks Survey 2020 gives a chance. It’s done every two years to find out how happy you are with local parks – and uncover what improvements YOU would like to see.

Butterfly spotters wanted

22/07/2020 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Gardens, Green Spaces, Wildlife | Leave a comment

It is time to count the butterflies in Balsall Heath and surrounding areas. Not all of them of course. You just stay in one area for 15 minutes and count what you see. It is best done on a dry and sunny day, without much wind.  It is really relaxing and makes you forget everything and pay full attention.

It can be done in a back garden or park, or anywhere with some flowers. The Big Butterfly Count is a UK-wide survey, between Friday 17 July and Sunday 9 August, offering identification guides and online maps, so you can see what other people have recorded. Many names are rather obvious, such as Large White and Common Blue, so you do not need to be an expert. . This survey can be done alone, or with others and it really suits all ages.

Peacock Butterfly

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