Tag Archives: Birmingham Parks

Park Life….

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Continuing vandalism in Fox Hollies Park.

I went for my usual early morning walk today with Alfie, my little Yorkie.  I decided to walk in Fox Hollies park.  Some of the people who read my blog will know I am expecting a number of enthusiastic volunteers to turn up on Saturday 24th May, to have a pick up litter day.  Yay!

I walked down from Shirley Road towards the bridge over Westley Brook and as I did so, I could clearly see that a number of lamp posts that line the walkway from Oakhurst Road through the park and up to Pool Farm Road have been pulled down, smashed up and scattered over the parkland.  I am so upset.  A friend I was walking with said to me,  “I think you`re on to a loser with your litter pick bab,”  and I could see why.  Then I got talking to some locals and these are some of the comments they came out with…..

“I live on the outskirts of the park, I got so fed up with kids smashing my garden fence up and burning the wood in the litter bins, I had to install steel palisade fences to keep them out.

Palisade fences are designed for security, they have metal barbs on the top.  In fact if you stroll around the park you will see that a number of homes have had to have this kind of fencing erected, it reminds me of a war zone and not a family park.

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Another gentleman I spoke to said,

“Good on you for doing something to bring this to everyone`s attention, the police don`t want to know.  It isn`t safe to walk here now.”

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Last Friday afternoon I took myself for a stroll at the Gospel Lane end of the park and a boy in a hoody, on a bright blue and shiny new quad bike, drove straight at me and a group of mums who were sitting quietly playing with their kids.  I spoke to some people about it before I went home, shaken and very angry.  They say the police don`t want to know.

Back to the lamp posts…..

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If I knock a lamp post down with my car, my insurance company would have to pay out close on £1,500 to have it put up again.  The lamp posts in the park are entirely destroyed.  The electricity company responsible for their power had to be called out in the middle of the night to make them safe.  I`ve just spoken with them, they tell me it will cost Birmingham tax payers` approximately £10,000 to replace the lamp posts and this is additional to the fee incurred last night in making them safe.  The company said that they would discuss something much more robust with Birmingham City Council which will of course cost a lot more money.  They said if the police don`t want to know, what hope do local residents have?  They said that they view this as a deliberate act, designed to intimidate the local community and enable various nefarious activities to go on under cover of darkness.  It would take a long time to pull down five lamp posts, it isn`t an easy task so where were the police?  Several calls were made to them.

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WHAT`S TO BE DONE?

Here are some of the suggestions the local people commented to me this morning…..

The park should have wardens and the police should be on standby to take a call from them.

The park should be security fenced all round, gated and locked at night.

The grounds should be left to grow wild, with just narrow pathways mown for people out walking, this would discourage kids on quads and motorbikes.

Kids who are caught offending should be sent to the army or a boot camp.

We could set up a vigilante group and patrol the parks ourselves.

I want to know –  if  West Midlands Police are not taking this seriously, then why aren`t they?  If we allow this kind of activity to continue, someone will be hurt.

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If you`d like to show the local young criminals that we will not be intimidated and let them destroy our parks, come and join us picking up litter on Saturday the 24th at 11am. We are meeting at Gospel Lane car park

 

 

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This is a Birmingham park in 2014.

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013 The pictures you see here are of a Birmingham park in 2014….. In 2006 I visited southern India.  It was a most magical and wonderful place as anyone who has back packed across India, will tell you.  One of the areas I visited was the state of Tamil Nadu where there is a large city called Madurai which sits on the banks of the river Vaigai.  It was here that I realised how shockingly filthy India`s waterways can be and I stopped to photograph a part of the river where a lot of rubbish had been allowed to gather and pollute the water. I am attaching here, some more pictures that I took today.  Not of southern India but of Fox Hollies Park near where I live.  The water running through it is a (mostly underground) culvert called Westley Brook.  The brook is a feeder to the river Cole and runs all the way up to Bacons End , next door to Chelmsley Wood.  It shocks and saddens me to see how filthy the brook has become and it reminded me of my visit to India. 016 In the sixteen hundreds the land where the park sits was owned by the Holley family and much later by the Fox family who farmed there until until 1869 so the site was a former country estate acquired by Birmingham city council in 1929.  Fox Hollies Hall was a manor house situated in Acocks Green and belonged to the Walker family.  The hall stood until it was demolished to make way for several large housing estates at Gospel, Edenbridge and Pool Farm.  The remains of the great gates are still to be seen on Fox Hollies Road. Westley Brook runs through the middle of the landscape and Broomhall Mill was built here where corn was milled until sadly, the building was demolished in 1890. There is a Bronze Age burnt mound to see in the park as well as a deep pool which I think must have been the mill pond.   Ancient carp swim lazily around there, some of them must be forty or fifty years old. In 1989, 3,000 new trees were planted to enhance the land so it is particularly sad to see the brook and the parkland in such a sorry state when once it was so grand. 017 You can see for yourself the amount of litter that now strews the ground and the amount of stuff that kids and grown ups regularly chuck into the brook.  A burnt out motor bike is the latest addition, it isn`t uncommon to find motorbike wrecks in this park.  Kids steal them to have burn ups where they race up and down churning up the grass and terrorising people like me out walking their dogs.  You won`t find families picnicking here in the summer, it just isn`t safe.   God alone knows what infection a child or a much loved family pet would wind up with if they fell into that toxic water, the thought alarms and concerns me every time I walk there. 019 Well…….  I`ve had enough and I feel it is high time for ACTION!  The local elections are coming up in May.  I intend e-mailing this blog to all of the councillors who represent my ward and asking them, “What do you intend to do to clean up this park and make it once more a safe and beautiful place to visit?  If you read this on Face Book, please do me a favour and share it.  I know there are many people in Birmingham, Fox Hollies and Acocks Green who agree with me and who maybe might join the protest. Thank you!