Sandwell Liberal Democrats attended some of the Transport for West Midlands consultations in Great Barr. These were held to update residents on changes to the proposals for the Walsall to Great Barr section of their Sprint bus service. Unfortunately it did not include any further details of a proposed Park & Ride station near Junction 7 of the M6, and only included vague assertions regarding the Scott Arms junction. These proposals will cause chaos for residents and damage the environment. Contact us if you agree.
Merrion's Close/Walstead Road Park & Ride Proposal
As noted above, there were no details outlined for a proposed Park & Ride station that is proposed for the Merrion's Close/Walstead Road area. We have heard various plans are being considered for this, and a decision by Walsall Council is expected to be announced shortly. So it was very disappointing that no further details were available.
Several residents expressed their frustration at this secrecy and lack of transparency and consultation before taking a decision. We suspect that Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will be given the unenviable job of conduction a consultation with residents after an unpopular decision has been made.
Low-emission vs Zero-emission
TfWM still seem determined to use diesel "low-emission" bendy buses when they first introduce these new services, even though there are electric buses that could be used from the start. For all Birmingham City Council's claims that these proposals are need to help reduce harmful emissions, the proposals only claim that they will be a "low-emission" solution, and staff from TfWM have said that initially they would be diesel buses. Since there already companies offering electric buses, this seems to be a stubborn resistance to looking at a more environmentally friendly alternative.
Scott Arms Junction
The consultations about changes along the Birmingham Road between the motorway junction and the Scott Arms are very vague. They promise to plant two new trees for every one of the existing 11 trees they will remove, and resort to woolly rhetoric about slight improvements to traffic flow. There was no mention of what will happened to the feeder bus services from local estates that connect residents there with the main bus routes.
It is LibDem policy to restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need; and a LibDem government would have provided £4.5 billion over the next five years for this programme.
Perry Barr Flyover
As many people will have heard, Birmingham City Council has rushed through its decision to demolish the Perry Barr flyover, without dealing with the petition protesting the proposal. This is undemocratic and means that the voices of local residents in Great Barr and Perry Barr will not be heard. It is typical of the high-handed approach that Birmingham has taken in its rush to use the Commonwealth Games as an excuse to implement short-sighted plans that will cause major disruption to local people and commuters.
The plans of the changes can be found on the Transport for West Midlands site: