Great Barr Update and Isolation of Nether Hall

Apologies for the lack of updates recently but I am now working in London so my time is now rather limited. I obviously still take a close interest in the ongoing discussion about Great Barr Hall and note with interest the piece in last week’s Observer.

We do have a comment from a local Councillor in Adrian Andrew welcoming the discussions and in general the plans as we know them. However I do also note in the same piece there is again no discussion on how the building works will be paid for, that is the crucial point. Approaches to the new owners have failed to answer the question so we wait and see for the planning proposals to be submitted.

I did get excited (yep, thats the type of life I lead !!) when I saw a planning application for the area (12/1486/FL) but on inspection this is only about changing the building types for the third phase of the development (running at the back of Park Farm Road).

However on a previous blog the piece below was posted by a Nether Hall Resident and I believe it requires a wider viewing.

He/She raises two points which I will discuss after the quote.

As a Nether Hall Resident I look at any promises by any development company with a sense of huge skepticism. Bovis Home sold to the local populace and especially people like me who bought a home on the estate that there would be huge amounts of renovation to the parkland. 5 years ago we would told that in no time at all we would be able so cycle or walk around woodland over the whole estate, enjoy the restored walled gardens, brooks, streams etc. By the end of 2012 we have a bit of lawn in the centre of the development and a sometimes open, always scary portal into the parkland where you soon come face to face with friendly dobermans guarding the hall. We were also all assured that the local infrastructure would support the development but there are no new schools, doctors or shops.

To make it clear though at the moment Nether Hall residents are not expected to pay any management costs.

I cannot see how the enabling work will either lead to a) the funds to maintain the hall or b) improve (and importantly secure) the parkland around. I also cannot see how the area can support another 40 to 100 new families?!?

On the first point I totally agree. The people on Nether Hall have been totally let down by Bovis in many ways. The environment is frankly bad for people to live with slowed up developlments. I am aware also the quality of the finishing to the housing. On top on this frankly the relationship between the residents on Nether Hall and the rest of Pheasey is non existent.

We do share the same political boundaries, we do share the same facilities and have to live in the same space as each other. It would be great to have better community cohesion but I fear there are too many obstacles to that.

On the second point as mentioned above we are all in the dark on how this will be paid for. The pieces in the Observer have been very soft and almost a PR release. It is only when we have the full plans laid in front of us any of us can judge. By now it would be good for the owners to come out with a public statement on how they will pay for it.

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15 thoughts on “Great Barr Update and Isolation of Nether Hall

  1. Hi Ian,
    Very good piece above; i agree entirely with your concerns with regard to the proposed new development in Great Barr Park/renovation of Great Barr Hall.
    You couldn’t have commented on the articles relating to the above in the Great Barr Observer with any greater scepticism (which i duly share); All of them do indeed read like long prepared and agreed PR releases.
    Very good/interesting remarks too from our neighbouring ‘Nether Hall Resident’; All local residents need to be informed now just how the new owners/developers intend to fund their proposals; And they and our ‘current’ elected local politicians need to understand that the park/local area cannot support any further development/housing whatsoever.

  2. I understand that from January 2013 the isolation of Nether Hall Park residents will be greater due to the removal of the 651 bus service which I believe was funded by Bovis? Has this service been reprieved? Nothing in the local papers that I know of . Bovis have never been socially responsible – they made a big thing of giving 50k to Pheasey Park Farm primary school but this was to avoid building affordable social housing on its development I believe. Correct me if I’m wrong. Nether Field Park has never been about its residents just about cold hard cash!

      • Actually Ian, a fair number of Nether Hall residents use the 651 especially the elderly and people (usually ladies) with shopping from Asda. It is also useful for Pheasey and Park Farm when the 5 (451) isn’t running to timetable and you want to get to the Birmingham side of the Scott Arms without waiting to cross at the lights. Plus it also goes to Hamstead.

  3. Hi Duncan,
    That’s the first i’d heard of the 651 bus service being cancelled; If the service is being withdrawn next month then no doubt there will be an article regarding the removal of the service, followed by letters on that topic in the Great Barr Observer. It would be interesting to hear the views of non-car owners/drivers residing in Nether Hall regarding the 651 bus service and it’s possible removal.
    Under European Union rules agreed to by previous UK Governments, all housing developments over approx 18 properties, must have around a third of the proposed build set aside for social housing. There are a number of social houses and flats located at the top end of the Bovis development situated behind the top end of Park Farm Road and Crail Grove. About two-thirds of Nether Hall properties are privately owned. Bovis did i believe hand over money to Park Farm School and to other local schools, although i doubt that payment of those sums was anything to do with the building or not building of social housing in Nether Hall.
    I agree with you that building the Nether Hall development was never about it’s residents, it was always about making cold, hard, cash; and lot’s of it!!!

    • Steve, do you think when your house was built (Presume it was not a council one where you live) the builders did it for no profit. In fact as you are open in support of a party that supports the free market are you calling for public funds to rebuild the hall and restore the land ?

      and the social housing component has NOTHING To do with Europe as Pickles removed this requirement from new developments and councils can not enforce it.

      • My mother informed me yesterday (not sure who told her) that the 651 is reprieved until March (end of?)

  4. Hi Ian,
    You presume correctly, my home is privately owned; and of course the builders constructed it to make a profit. The difference between all of the houses that were constructed in Pheasey/Park Farm and Orchard Hills between 1899 and 1974 and the Bovis development was the outright opposition to the latter build from local residents. The views of local residents were simply not taken into account by the developers and a number of elected politicians.
    I’d of course like to see Great Barr Hall and it’s surrounding parkland restored; It’s extremely unlikely that any monies from the public purse will be used to fund/effect that.
    When the Bovis development was given approval, it was under European Union rules, dreamt up by unelected bureaucrats/politicians, that at least one third of the properties constructed were to be set aside for social housing. The laws around house building/construction have indeed been amended (on more than one occasion) by Eric Pickles since May 2010.

  5. Back to the obvious and continuing problem with Pheasey/Park Farm/Netherhall,none of our Councillors live anywhere near the estates so only care at election time(mast,parking etc.etc) they do not have to meet locals daily only at their surgeries.
    So do not expect anything or help from them with whatever is proposed. DJ.

  6. Hi Ian,
    ‘Everyone on there (Nether Hall) has a car’; – I very much doubt it. for example, there are a number of elderly residents in Nether Hall ( i’ve spoken with a good few of them during three local election campaigns), some of whom may never have passed a driving test or owned a car; or because of age related illnesses or just great age or because they no longer feel comfortable driving on our increasingly busy roads, have ceased to drive/own a vehicle; and as Duncan correctly states, now rely on the 651 to access local shops and services.
    Clearly, there is a need for the 651 service, regardless of your completely polar view on this topic. Your opinion that just ten individuals have used the service looks plainly ridiculous.
    Hi DJ,
    Like yourself, i had become completely disenchanted with some local Councillors from both Euro-Labour and the Conservative parties over a number of years. I finally decided to do something about it; and so this Pheasey/Park Farm resident of some 53 years, has now stood as a local UKIP candidate in Pheasey/Park Farm in a number of Local Council elections and at the last election took a shade under 20% of the total vote. Approx 530 votes.
    As a local resident and Walsall Council Tax Payer, you are entitled to put yourself forward as a candidate for our suburb in the next round of elections in June 2014, whether as a member of a political party or as an independent candidate. And the more local people standing the better as far as i’m concerned.

    • Hi there i would like to comment to whoever thinks 651 is not a massive help to people on the netherhall park…i actually use it quite frequent with my little girl who is 3 and can find it a bit of a walk to up and down the drive as i live at the top in one of the apartments and as starting school soon would be a bit of a strain getting to and from i also see other mothers who catch it with youngsters also helps us do shopping and the same to elderly people visiting or going to and from scott arms or asda! I can honestly say it sure would be missed on the estate and been a huge help to many of us just because we dont all use it at once dont mean there is only 10 of us who use it!

  7. Hi Sarah,
    An interesting post, which re-emphasizes a real need for the 651 bus service for local residents as outlined initially by another local resident Duncan Maggs on this site around three weeks ago.
    If there is any attempt to remove the service from our suburb, i wouldn’t be at all surprised to see local residents campaign to keep it running. With more people moving to Nether Hall as more homes are constructed there, uptake of the service will no doubt increase and talk of scrapping it seems crazy to my view.

    • Travelling on the 651 the other week I noticed a National Express notice advising passengers that the service was to be replaced on 22nd April by an extension of the 46 (former 406) from its terminus at Scott Arms Monday to Saturday. The 46 will terminate at Queslett Asda for these journeys. I can’t remember the timings but I think they were similar to the 651 service frequency.
      My only concern is that the 46 curerntly uses single decker buses much longer than the mini-bus style used for the 651. Will the 46 buses be able to negotiate the Nether Hall hill and the limited turning circle at the top with their existing vehicles?

  8. Pingback: Reaction from Nether Hall resident on development and trouble | News and Views about Pheasey Park Farm

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