RESPONSE FROM LYNNE JONES MP TO
SELLY OAK DEVELOPMENT
STUDY QUESTIONNAIRE 1999
submission (August 1999) is reproduced below.
Plans are on display at
Selly Oak Library
|1. New Hospital Facilities and Service
I support new investments in hospital services currently provided at the Queen
Elizabeth and Selly Oak Hospitals. My preference would be for the Plaza
option, as proposed in the Development Study, which involves the relocation of the
Psychiatric Hospital. The hospital should not go ahead until:
- the relocation of the psychiatric hospital and employment services centre is agreed;
- a clearly planned interim parking strategy has been developed;
- finance for the building of the road and upgrading of the University station has been
- assurances have been given that the Health Authority will keep its promise that the new
hospital will not be built at the expense of other priorities in healthcare.
I am concerned that the supplement to the 26 May edition of Birmingham Voice, Have
Your Say on Selly Oak, gives the impression that the Plaza option
for the new hospital involves building "on land between the Womens Hospital
and the Psychiatric Hospital". The authors of the study actually proposed the
relocation of the Psychiatric Hospital, the employment services centre and, possibly, the
medical school laboratories. Only this option gives the flexibility for future
developments to adapt to changing health care needs.
2. New Employment Uses
I support the proposed medi-business park and the creation of 1000 high-tech jobs in
the Selly Oak area, but would like to see the garden centre and as much of the allotments
area as possible retained. A more acceptable option would be to develop the main
medi-park, in conjunction with expansion of the medical school, on land released by the
relocation of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
3. New Retail Park
I am not prepared to support additional retail development until a shopping strategy
for South Birmingham has been produced. I am extremely concerned at the proposal to
increase the size of the Sainsburys store by 45%, especially as Sainsbury also wish
to build large stores in Northfield and at the Maypole.
I am concerned that no mention is made in the Voice supplement of the
Studys assessment that the new retail park would attract at least 9000 extra
vehicles a day to the area. I do not believe that the rest of the Selly Oak shopping area
would be improved by such an increase in traffic.
Have the Directors of Planning, Transportation and Economic Development altered the
view they expressed in their joint report to various Council committees, in
January/February of this year, that the maximum retail option is too large and
unacceptable? I note that the minimum option includes 1050 parking spaces and the maximum
option 1270 parking spaces. Council officers stated in January that the consultants who
produced the Study considered that all significant developments should contribute to
provision of the new infrastructure. Yet, in the Development Study, the consultants actually
state that, even without a contribution to the infrastructure, the minimum retail option
returns a substantial deficit due to the abnormal costs of the site. Only the maximum
retail option might yield a small surplus. In view of the fact that assessments of both
the minimum and maximum retail options exclude the road and infrastructure, the
lack of viability of the minimum option and the unacceptability, even to Council officers,
of the maximum option, I find it difficult to understand why the Council is promoting
large-scale retail redevelopment.
4. New Housing
Any new housing should be provided in such a way as to assist, not hinder the return of
as much of the terraced housing in Bournbrook and Selly Oak for family use. All new
housing should be to a high standard, and a large proportion should be affordable by
people on average and below average incomes.
5. Environmental Improvements
I am in favour of improvements to the environment and traffic reduction on Bristol
Road, but I am not convinced that the proposals achieve these aims. In particular, I am
concerned about the adverse impact on Bournbrook of the proposed junction with the relief
road and Bristol Road, and extra traffic being generated by expansion in retail
I am in favour of any proposals to enhance pedestrian and cycle routes, and introduce
traffic calming along residential roads. How will these be financed?
In relation to improvements to public space and public squares, I am mostly
concerned to ensure that the nature reserves along Bournbrook Valley and other natural
areas are preserved. I am not sure why a new park is proposed. The City already has
difficulty maintaining other parks, including the nearby Selly Oak park. This proposal
seems a sop to opposition about the loss of allotments and nature reserves.
I would be in favour of the new public square linking the University station and any
I do not think that the improvements to public transport are adequate to deter car
use along Bristol Road. To some extent this is outside the scope of the Study. The Council
needs to find ways to discourage traffic coming from the City boundaries, Longbridge and
Northfield. Park and Ride, a new station at Rubery and congestion pricing are all
suggestions that need investigating.
I support the proposal to provide a new railway station at Raddlebarn Road, and am also
attracted by the idea of moving the Selly Oak station nearer to Bristol Road with better
car parking arrangements. What prospects are there of finance for these developments?
New Link Road
If the hospital development on the Plaza site is to go ahead, a new road
between Harborne Lane and the hospital entrance is absolutely essential. Redevelopment
of the hospital on the Plaza site is unacceptable without accompanying road
infrastructure. The road should be built so as to retain the nursery and as much of the
allotment site as possible. Any link to the Bristol Road via Grange road is
unacceptable, and I understood this to be the view of City Council officers in the
report mentioned above from January/February 1999. I am concerned about the adverse impact
of a new junction with the Bristol Road in the Bournbrook area. Further work needs to
be done so that any realistic options can be considered in a future consultation exercise,
also taking into account other traffic reduction policies affecting the A38 corridor.
7. General Comments
I remain concerned that elected representatives have had no access to the consultants,
either before or after their report was produced. I was outraged to be told by a Planning
Officer that this was because the commissioning parties "considered it important
that an independent perspective be obtained about the future of the Selly Oak area and
that the conclusions are not influenced by any particular interest or individual views".
In their report, the consultants state that a number of discussions took place with "key
partners" in the study, as well as other agencies who have a role in the area. I
understand this included the Lapal Canal Trust and Centro.
It is quite wrong to have excluded elected representatives and to have relied only on
Council officers to convey to the consultants the views of the local community. I believe
that the involvement of myself and colleagues at an earlier stage would have allowed many
outstanding concerns and queries to be cleared up. At the consultation stage, it should
have been possible for the public to question the consultants about their report.