Character of village to be ruined by bus showcase scheme

Acocks Green residents are up in arms about the damaging effect proposals for the outer circle bus showcase scheme will have on their village centre, so they have banded together to organise a public meeting. They are worried that many people are still unclear what it will mean for them, while others have been completely left out of the consultation process.

The proposals which are part of the £26 million bus show case scheme on the Outer Circle route will see the destruction of several mature trees [1] and a drastic remodelling of the road layout. This will lead to faster traffic and a much less pedestrian-friendly village centre. This proposal will at most shave only a couple of minutes off bus journey times and the character of the village will be ruined for ever.

Local resident Julia Lardon felt so incensed about the proposals she decided to get together with other local residents and organise a public meeting to discuss the issues. She said:

"The Council Transportation Department just don't seem to understand Acocks Green or its needs at all. As far as Acocks Green people are concerned this is a threat to what we always call 'The Green', the heart of our village, and the part of the bus lane already put in has already caused several accidents."

Local resident Brian Bushell said:

"These plans will ruin forever our village centre. We will lose our distinctive green and many mature trees. The proposed new road layout and narrowed pavements will lead to much faster traffic and more of it; it will be a less pleasant and more dangerous environment for pedestrians"

Young Acocks Green people are also deeply concerned. Twelve-year-old Esh has taken petition forms around Acocks Green, on her own inititiative, because she feels so strongly about this issue.

Similarly destructive schemes are being planned for other parts of the route notably on Station Road in Stechford, School Road in Hall Green, and Six Ways Erdington, involving some demolition of properties, slicing into people's front gardens and chopping down yet more trees. Residents on School Road in Hall Green have already staged their own demonstration about the proposals.

Martin Stride from Friends of the Earth said:

'These road improvement proposals are proving to be deeply unpopular with residents not only here in Acocks Green, but also on other parts of the route. The plans will do nothing to improve bus services on the outer circle route. They will just ruin the local environment and the extra road space provided by the road widening and junction remodelling will fill up with even more cars resulting in yet more traffic congestion and pollution. We are worried that the bus show case scheme is being used as a way of pushing through damaging road widening and junction remodelling schemes under the cover of public transport improvements.

He went on to say:

"Yes, we need better bus services on the outer circle route, and we welcome the investment in new bus shelters and improved timetable information which will be made, but these destructive road proposals are a waste of money and will not achieve anything"

Resident Bridget O'Neil added:

"I just can't believe they are doing this to us. I am so angry, and no one wants it."

It's vital that as many people as possible attend this meeting to find out what's going on and object to these proposals before the deadline which is the 30th July [2].

Editor's Notes

Schemes of destruction for other stretches of route 11:

  1. Six Ways Erdington and Wood End Road: demolition of properties and road widening
  2. Station Road/Flaxley Road: Demolition of several houses and shops for road widening and a large traffic island
  3. Hall Green School Road : destruction of mature street trees for a widened road
  4. Station Road Stechford near junction with Bordesley Green East destruction of several hedgerows and 10 mature trees including a very large old oak tree.

[1] Mature trees such as those which are threatened play a crucial role in reducing the impacts of air pollution; they are the 'air conditioners' of our city The extra road space provided by the widening will fill up with even more cars resulting in yet more traffic congestion and pollution (Source: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, 2000, Trees and Sustainable Urban Air Quality, p8).

[2] Residents at various location along the route and Friends of the Earth wrote to the council pleading for an extension to the deadline which was on the 16th July. They felt that they had not had enough time to digest the implications of the plans and many people were unaware of what was happening. The City Council said they would accept comments up until the 30th July 2004 .