LOCAL ISSUES UPDATE:
Criminal Justice support for
The Home Office published their witness
intimidation strategy earlier this year which brings together a number of previously
separate elements both within and outside the criminal justice system. The work involves court based measures such
as facilitating witnesses giving evidence by means other than through attendance at Court
(live TV links, pre-recorded evidence) and community based measures such as
rehousing those who are the subject of violence and threats.
You can access more details at: http://www.cjsonline.org/library/pdf/18890_victims_and_witness_strategy.pdf
For more info on crime policy, click here.
Pit Leasow Close window replacement
In April, residents complained to me about the
poor condition of the wooden windows in Pit Leasow Close, a sheltered housing scheme. On a
visit I confirmed the windows are in a very poor condition and many now beyond economic
repair. The Housing Department have now agreed
that Pit Leasow Close will be included in the window replacement programme for the next
financial year (2004/2005) and other joinery will be repaired and painted.
I have regularly complained to the Council about
their failure over many years to paint Council homes, which is leading to the need for
windows to be replaced prematurely. At last it
has been accepted that a painting programme needs to be reinstated but this will come too
late to save what would have been the unnecessary expense of window replacement even in
relatively new developments like Pit Leasow Close.
Nearhill Road garages
In November 2002, whilst on a
walkabout in the West Heath area, a resident pointed out the poor condition of
the garages in Nearhill Road (and communal area serving them). The communal area had a
huge pothole and many of the garages were in no fit state for use following break-ins and
incidents of arson. Following correspondence
with the Housing Department, they have arranged for the pothole to be filled in and have
also decided to demolish many of the garages. I
am pressing the Council to come up with acceptable proposals for the site.
I receive many complaints about low level nuisance
caused by young people gathering in residential areas.
In such circumstances, my usual approach is to contact relevant agencies
such as the Police, Council Housing Department (where appropriate) and Council Youth
Service. The new community wardens that have
been set up in Kings Norton and Moseley wards have also been playing a useful role in
observing and reporting anti-social behaviour. I have found that when these various
organisations work together effectively, it is possible to direct the youths towards more
Ingoldsby Estate cleaning contracts
On walkabouts on the Estate, I have been made
aware of the poor standard of cleaning in the communal areas of three storey flats. I have complained about the poor supervision of the
private contractors and the Housing Department have now stressed to staff that robust
audits of cleaning standards need to be maintained and have agreed to put up notices
detailing the cleaning specification in each block so that residents can inform the
Housing Department when standards are not met.
Flyposting and illegal placards on lampposts can
be a real blight on the local environment and I have raised this with the Councils
Environmental and Consumer Services Department. Over
the summer months the Council initiated an exercise at certain hot spots in
the constituency to tackle illegal placards and propose a similar initiative to deal with
flyposting later in the year. If you notice
problems with either of these issues in your area, you should report the matter to the
Environmental and Consumer Services Department, Four Dwellings, Quinton Road West, Birmingham
B32 1PJ. Alternatively, you could call them on 303 5440 or send an e-mail to: email@example.com.
Taxi Services for disabled people
Several disabled constituents have been in regular
contact with me about the problems they experience in accessing taxi services, due to the
reluctance on the part of many drivers to take people who use wheelchairs. Although this can sometimes be attributed to taxis
which simply cannot accommodate wheelchair users, it seems the extra time and effort
required in helping disabled people on and off board is seen by a small minority of taxi
drivers as too time consuming.
This is all about to change! TOA, the taxi-owners co-operative that runs
most of Birminghams black cabs have recently invested in a modern call handling
system using GPS (Global Positioning System) in every taxi.
The system uses satellite technology to map locations of cabs and fares and
automatically directs cabs to the nearest jobs. This
should stop drivers cherry picking what they see as better jobs and avoiding
less lucrative fares.
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