Dear Editor, Just a reminder that BIA has TWO ends to the runway - whilst one end is being expanded the other lies deeply embedded in Marston Green. "The longer runway will affect homes close to the foot of the existing runway," says a local MP.
Flow of aircraft will double. We are told larger aircraft are less noisy, however a longer runway will produce an increase in noise of standard aircraft as they could now be above the bund by the point of take off. Unfortunately BIA Consultation were unable to give us details on this with regard to the impact of noise at our particular location, but concerns would be fed into consultation feedback.
So OK, we "chose to live next door to an airport" - retort some unsympathetic supporters guess what? little did we know that seven years on we would be unable to sleep in bedrooms airport-side, be unable to open windows due to noise and smells akin to burning rubber. Double-glazing being little solution on hot summer nights.
Through previous modernisation our house had original sound insulation removed. On enquiry with BIA, we were told this would not be renewed as our house had previously benefited from the scheme.
Was this when the scheme first started some 30 years ago?
In March 2007, BIA embarked on a tree planting initiative locally, in an endeavour to mitigate impact on the environment. Unfortunately Elmdon Lane last year suffered a great ecological loss due to developers' contractors felling numerous trees and hedgerows in advance of planning applications being passed. To our cost hedgerows and trees, which went some way to blanket aircraft noise, are now lost forever whether building goes ahead or not.
Where is the reporting on the health impact studies undertaken by the airport last year? Why were comment feedback forms only handed out at the consultation and not sent to local residents individually, as past airport literature has been done to cover all residents and neighbours to BIA?
Along with BIA's non-committal approach to recent planning applications for a major development of housing next to the airport bund, with little thought or care for safety or welfare of the inhabitants, are we to conclude that Marston Green has lost its identity now that the airport has bigger plans afoot?
To the end of the road
Dear Editor, I read with interest the recent 'Tired and Weary of singing the Blues' letter from a Blues fan.
I have been a Blues fan for almost 50 years, many of them as a season ticket holder, and I find our lack of ambition very depressing. It is true that the Golds and Sullivan both saved us and brought initial stability to the club but how much longer should we,the fans, be eternally grateful.
The saying that 'you get what you pay for' has never been truer in the Premier League and Blues' investment has been at best modest and at worse almost criminally insufficient for the purposes of staying in the division. This is reflected in a squad that is about on a par with Derby and Fulham, hence our league position.
Admittedly Sullivan and the Golds had their fingers burnt by Steve Bruce's general lack of judgement in the transfer market, but following Sullivan's notorious 'not spending his children's inheritance' remarks,the Board is obviously set on running the club like a corner shop with a Micawber-like approach of ensuring a profit.This lack of ambition,rather than the ticket prices, is the reason for the uninspiring attendance figures, lack of atmosphere and below-average performances on the pitch.
I'm even beginning to think that Carson Yeung might be our saviour after all, because the current Board has obviously taken us as far as it is willing.
However, being a true Blues fan which is undoubtedly character building, unlike 'Tired and Weary', this fan will be keeping on to the end of the road whether it is Hong Kong or Hereford United.
Timing of comments 'no accident'
Dear Editor, I was not surprised when Denis Minnis chose to instigate my recent 'trial by press'. In my view, his decision to report me to the Standards Committee (and his actions to let everyone know before the situation has been investigated or ruled on) is cheap.
Mr Minnis was a Labour councillor and cabinet member for housing during those dark days of 'housing in Birmingham'. These inappropriate words do not hide the shameful housing policies of his friends regarding our Armed Forces personnel and the inadequacy of their immigration policy.
I am sure that the timing of his comments was no accident, coming as they did on the day of my announcement that this council, under this administration, has achieved a tenant satisfaction rate higher than anything seen before.
This contrasts starkly with his abysmal record of neglect and the use of over £12 million of our tenants' money to get rid of them in the failed stock transfer fiasco. He may, of course, be suffering with symptoms of jealousy. He lost his seat and his job to me.
However there was no need to advise the press of his intentions. I am sure I will at least get a fair hearing at the Standards Board.
Coun JOHN LINES
Lessons from Hong Kong
Dear Editor, Just over two years ago I was privileged to have an article and one of my photographs published in your columns. It discussed the merits of Hong Kong as a world class city through commitment from its government, developers, clients and consultants to promote connectivity via covered walkways and passageways to link major buildings, shopping malls and public transportation systems.
Having returned to Hong Kong for several months last year, this vision by the various stakeholders in the planning and development process there reinforced my views that all major projects in Birmingham, and the broader Midlands area, could similarly benefit from consideration by our own leaders in providing such linkage within future and even some existing developments.
Another area in which developers could learn from Hong Kong, is the abundance of artwork placed in these public spaces which immediately lifts the spirit of workers, shoppers and tourists transiting the spaces, which are then valued more and not vandalised despite only minimal security in evidence.
These spaces work well, since if the quality of the built environment is enhanced, people take time to notice and pay the respect that is deserved. Clearly this has no immediate tangible payback to the developer, but the long-term benefits of providing the public with spaces that are attractive to visit must surely be a worthwhile objective? In Hong Kong it was evident that when one developer takes the lead, others will follow - who will be first in Birmingham to make a difference?
A glimpse of old Oldbury
Dear Editor, Your feature on Oldbury in the recent Weekend magazine provides a fascinating glimpse into the past history of the area, and in particular the local government changes it has undergone.
Specifically, with the creation of Warley County Borough in 1966, tremendous strides were made towards unification and, as I can testify from personal experience as Mayor in 1969-70, much had been achieved by the time the axe fell again in 1974.
By the way, the canal scene is on the Titford canal - (it is a long way from Lifford!), and is not the Mayor's Parlour noted for being in the Big House?
Coun HAROLD JACKSON
Forty years behind schedule
Dear Editor, So New Street is only the beginning? (New Street - the start of our transport revolution, Post February 13).
It took us 20 years to get this far so, by my calculation, our transport network should reach standards fit for 2008 by around 2048.
A redundant dream or real vision and quality?
Dear Editor, The Birmingham Post of Wednesday February 13 is definitely one to keep for the archive. Page 3, 'Egos, politics and delays - but who won the battle?' for starters, and page 5 'Pallasades holds the key to success' for dessert.
Terry Grimley (starting with the dessert), as so frequently, articulates exactly what we are all quietly thinking; giving sobering perception to calm the euphoria of the politicians. This time it is over the new New Steet Station announcement.
Surely a truly world-class railway station features three elements: outstanding architectural design; ongoing passenger comfort, safety and throughput; and adequate train service capacity and management.
It is clear that the third criterion is left largely unsolved in the agreed proposals, so the millions of pounds identified will need to be spent effectively on creating a genuinely meritorious infrastructure and a real and lasting user experience to justify the hype, the cost and the dream.
However, if the Pallasades, or any over-arching shopping concept is allowed to subordinate the design of the station into a form of compromised undercroft - however dressed up - then the project will inevitably struggle to be anything other than mediocre in its final delivery.
Passenger waiting areas may well be lighter and roomier, but will the materials be architecturally pleasing and lasting? An apparently encouraging aspect is that Martin Chambers is at the helm, so long as he draws firmly upon the internal and timeless cathedral-like quality of his Touchwood Shopping Centre rather than the transitory gimmickry of Millennium Point's oh-so-forgettable exterior and 'Star Wars' atrium.
And with egos subdued over time, whether it is Liam Byrne or Mike Whitby we have to thank for the scheme at last going ahead is largely immaterial, except for what history records.
Will the station be much heralded (as the one built in the 1960s) and then so sadly redundant in all respects 40 years later, or will it display genuine vision and quality and still be valued and relevant in 100 and more years time?
Now that would be something to boast about gentlemen.
Dear Editor, I read with interest the recent Post column by Robin Fletcher and his references to the Jewellery Quarter.
I was pleased to hear that he enjoyed a high quality of service while shopping for jewellery in the Quarter and with over 100 independent retail outlets there is undoubtedly a wonderful choice. However, his comment about marketing the area is well made, particularly with a World Heritage Site proposed.
Consequently, we are working closely with local businesses and Marketing Birmingham to raise the Quarter's profile with plans including a state of the art JQ 'website', a new Jewellery Quarter Guide and a 'Made in the Jewellery Quarter' campaign.
It is areas like the Quarter which represent the unique selling points that visitors look for when visiting major international cities with which Birmingham has to compete.
Operations Director JQRP
Dear Editor, Where would I place the "hidden treasures" of Birmingham? (Birmingham's hidden cultural gems to shine, Post February 15).
Well, thanks for the offer, but definitely not in Harborne, thank you very much, where anything that doesn't move is highly likely to become the target of vandals or graffiti artists.