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

Seven Streets Park Rescue

15/05/2020 at 1:15 pm | Posted in Green Spaces, Streets, Walking | Leave a comment

The application to City Planners for a line of garages across the entrance to Seven Streets Park as reported on this blog received a number of objections from local people and also from Council’s Leisure department and it has been REFUSED. The officer’s report said as follows;

“The proposed 3 garages are considered to be unacceptable in principle as the construction of any form of structure at this site would fail to re-inforce or create a positive sense of place and respond appropriately to the local area context. Due to the location, size and design of the proposed 3 garages, the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the design and visual amenity of the surrounding area and would also have a detrimental impact on residential amenity by narrowing the southern entrance/exit to Seven Streets Pocket Park and enclosing the part of the park to the rear of the application site, in turn creating an unattractive environment which would discourage surrounding residents from using the space.”

Well done to those who have been digging and planting there; they will surely be encouraged . The coronovirus has made walking and outdoor space even more important for us all.  John Newson, BHIOP

This space needs to be looked after !!!


Threat to Seven Streets Park

18/04/2020 at 3:55 pm | Posted in Green Spaces, Walking | Leave a comment

There is a planning application to build garages across one entrance to Seven Streets Park in Balsall Heath (Runcorn Road). This has been public space since 1980, but a strip was sold by the council to a private owner, who has applied to put up garaging for three vehicles. Already it has been fenced off and the path dug up. Comments and objections about it can be made online until the end of Thursday 23rd. The application number and details are here 2020/00796/PA click on associated documents. The link for you to make your comments is here use this link

I can supply more details if you want. John Newson bhiop[at]jericho.org.uk

Picture of the park entrance


Everything has changed

04/04/2020 at 8:37 am | Posted in Air pollution, Cycling, Gardens, Green Spaces, Streets, Walking | Leave a comment

The virus COVID19 has required everyone in Balsall Heath to Stay at Home, so as to avoid spreading the disease. There is fear of infection, of losing your job, of getting into debt, so these are very difficult times for many people. All gatherings of more than 2 people are banned but local organisations are trying to offer advice and help.

Yet, it is also true that the restrictions have made the area much quieter and cleaner. Cars are mostly parked up, giving people  the space to walk and cycle. Footways are clear to use. Traffic congestion has gone and the air is cleaner than we have ever known it. . People are walking and exercising every day in the local parks. Gardeners are hard at work. There is hardly any street litter because the takeaway outlets are closed and people are preparing food at home.  We could say that in some ways a healthier way of life has been forced on us, and it would be good to keep some of those benefits after the virus has gone.

More working from home and less driving  would remove the case for widening the Moseley Road, as proposed by Transport for West Midlands. A city with less traffic is proposed by the new Birmingham Transport Plan, which the city council has put out for consultation, asking if the public support it ( ending 9th April) – Birmingham Transport Plan

John Newson, (working from home)


Coronavirus – walking the right way

27/03/2020 at 10:48 am | Posted in Green Spaces, Streets, Walking | Leave a comment

A very good and full advice summary has been produced by Living Streets, covering when and how to walk outside, so as not to add to the transmission of the virus HERE


Seven Streets Park Awakens

26/02/2020 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Green Spaces, Streets | Leave a comment

On Sunday March 1st, there will be a Spring Fair with family fun, to wake up Seven Streets Park, where improvements are being made and a ‘friends of the park’ group is starting. It is opposite to Balsall Heath City Farm, (which will be open) between Clifton Road and Runcorn Road and it runs from from 1-4 pm. See you there !

More details

First Dogs’ Toilet

13/02/2020 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Green Spaces, Recycling, Walking | Leave a comment
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In Moseley Park we have opened the first dogs’ composting toilet. I saw one in the grounds of the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, and discussions began about whether it could happen here. Dog walkers and their dogs assembled to see the ribbon cut and to “”make donations”.

An advantage of Moseley Park is that the manager and trustees can be innovative, while the limited number of people who pay for a key fob for daily access are willing to cooperate. It is essential that only the compostable bags which are on offer in the Park are used for the poo, because regular plastic doesn’t compost. Then it is over to the worms. I expect the bin will never be emptied and additions just keep breaking down. It is Nature’s Way.. A chain secures the lid so children cannot climb in, nor the lid blow open. it is a closed system, except at the bottom where the wheelie bin has been cut off and buried.   John Newson


Taking to the Streets

26/01/2020 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Green Spaces, Streets, Trees, Walking | Leave a comment
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Moseley Road through Balsall Heath is getting more beautiful and welcoming. Derelict planting boxes have been removed along the Moseley Road. This long-standing problem was tackled when BHIOP organised the demolition of five rotten ones, with the good soil being removed to  a nearby garden, the City Farm and the church on Cromer Street, for future growing projects. Sanje and his team drove  the heavy wood and metal to the ‘tip’. The boxes that are still in fair condition have been planted up and many bulbs are already showing themselves, to give a display in springtime. Thanks to the volunteers who helped with all this physical work, and to Lidl for donating plants. We have given more space for pedestrians to reoccupy and to appreciate Balsall Heath’s wide pavements (pic below).

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Cycling Revolution has come through with some new green cycle stands, placed outside Lidl and the Baths/Library, which we asked for. They are already well used.

The avenue of trees lining Moseley Road have acquired signs saying ‘Don’t Cut Me Down’ and yellow ribbons and yarn. The Cabinet member for Transport, Cllr Waseem Zaffar will very soon visit the area and hear the concerns of Balsall Heathans about plans to narrow the footways, cut down the trees and to add another traffic lane here.


Greener spaces, better places

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Fruiting bodies

02/12/2019 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Food, Gardens, Green Spaces | Leave a comment

In the depths of winter on 1st December, nine people pruned the apple trees at Balsall Heath City Farm to get a better crop next summer. We had a classroom session with Rob Tilling of Let’s Grow Together,  then all went outside and learned practically on the trees: we got into a group snipping away to help the trees avoid damage or disease and to bear the right number of good fruit. The day built our knowledge and confidence to take our pruning into gardens in the area. Balsall Heath Orchard !

Treepruning 2019BigLottery logo

More on Road Widening

07/11/2019 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Air pollution, Cycling, Green Spaces, Streets, Train station, Trees, Walking | Leave a comment
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The Ward Forum for Balsall Heath & Sparkbrook will discuss the Moseley Road widening scheme on Wednesday 13th Nov. The 3 Ward councillors will attend, with members of the public. I have been asked to give an explanation of the scheme and its impact. Please come along if you can, since the councillors are there to hear and represent local opinion back to the City Council.

Meeting starts at Balsall Heath Church Centre at 7 pm, but the item is some way down the agenda (attached).

Online, there is an opportunity to comment on the reopening of Kings Heath station, people may want to support it and ask for Balsall Heath to get the same . Use application number 2019/08129/PA here

Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s petition saying No to road widening continues to gather signatures here

Comments on the scheme can be made at Beheard until 22 Nov. BeHeard website

Moseley Road


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