Café in the Park
Wythall Park have opened a café in Britannia room – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 11am – 3pm. They sell Coffee, tea, pop, cakes, chips and sandwiches. Really nice food it is too.
This is just during school holidays at the moment, or so I’m told, as a pilot scheme so get down there and support them. If it goes well hopefully it will expand to other days.
Some of us put this idea forward as a suggestion over 2 years ago so although its taken a while at least they are finally having a go. Support your local park – maybe we might end up with the local facility the people of Wythall really deserve.
S3 Bus Service – No Decision Yet
Following the announcement from Worcestershire County Council at the end of 2013 that all subsidised bus services in the County may be withdrawn extensive public consultations have taken place.
Wythall Parish Council organised a public meeting at Park Hall in January to discuss the threat to the S3 bus service (and to gauge support for saving Wythall Library). The S3 service currently receives a County subsidy of more than £40,000 per annum.
The Cabinet at County Hall subsequently decided to revise the proposals and instructed officers to formulate a programme of revised bus services with a budget of £1.1m. A review of each subsidised service is currently taking place in preparation for a Cabinet agenda item to be discussed in June 2014.
The possibility of delivering each bus service in a more cost-effective way will be explored and discussions are ongoing with operators. In the case of the S3 service between Wythall and Solihull it may well be the case that the section of route within Worcestershire will be re-tendered and a new operator may run a service through Wythall to link up with other routes at Maypole and/or Majors Green. No alterations to existing bus services will happen before September 2014.
No firm proposals or decisions have been made yet and the situation is being closely monitored by County Councillor Stephen Peters. Residents living in South Wythall may wish to lobby the County Councillor for Alvechurch, Mrs June Griffiths who is always pleased to hear from them on 01527 62018.
A surprising consequence of the planned housing development at Bleakhouse Farm is the revelation that a sum of £250,000 is included within the S.106 Agreement specifically to provide revenue support for the S3 bus service. The funding will be triggered when construction work commences on site and it would be a travesty if we were to lose the S3 bus service when this long-term funding is on the horizon. This situation will be monitored by the Parish Council in conjunction with your County Councillors.
The Parish Council also continues to explore the possibilities for additional Community Transport within Wythall to cater for people who have difficulty in walking to the nearest bus stop.
This open letter was received from Peter Rowbottom of Hagley Residents Association, who face the same issues regarding house building that we do in Wythall. Please read and take note.
Dear Wythall Residents
As lead petitioner of the New Homes Bonus Petition which I recently submitted to Bromsgrove District Council , Bromsgrove Council Democratic Services have now informed me that as a result of the petition reaching over 1250 signatures ( the final total was 1429 ), the matter is now on the agenda at Full Council on 16th April at 6pm at The Council House.
This is the first time that a petition submitted to BDC has ever forced a Full Council debate.
If you remember, this petition is calling on BDC to alter its current policy and pass on New Homes Bonus monies that they receive from Central Government to communities affected by house building after community consultation.
Those were the original intentions of the scheme.
It is now vital that all 39 Bromsgrove District Councillors who can vote on whether or not to change the policy are lobbied ahead of any vote. Ultimately it is the district councillors themselves who will decide.
To that end, I ask everyone who signed the petition or anyone who did not but believes this money should be passed on to all the valuable community facilities and groups across Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Catshill, Hagley, Wythall and elsewhere in the district, to contact their local district councillor urging them to support the petition at the Full Council meeting on 16th April and vote to change the policy.
Villagers may also wish to quote the example of neighbouring Wychavon District Council who introduced a formal protocol in 2011 that results in up to 40% of New Homes Bonus money going to community facilities and groups.
To remind everyone of the amount of NHB money Bromsgrove Council receive, it is £950,000 in 2014/15 alone, with that yearly figure set to be well over £1million for future years.
Plans for setting up a charitable trust to manage Wythall Library are continuing to make progress. A steering group comprising Sue Baxter, Stephen Peters and Christine Turner have taken the first steps towards setting up the charity by securing paid professional support from the “Changing Futures Fund” organised by Worcestershire County Council. The strategic objectives and organisational goals have been set.
It has been decided that the best structure for the trust will be a new format known as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) which will be registered with the Charity Commission. It will have a constitution which will enable it to own or lease property, have employees if desired and powers to enter into legal contracts and to operate other community ventures if the need arises. There will be a mechanism for new trustees to be appointed in due course. The initial setting-up costs will be funded by a Divisional Fund grant arranged by County Cllr Stephen Peters.
The main priority has been to get the new business structure in place by 1st April 2014 or soon thereafter. Once the charity is up and running it will apply to Wythall Parish Council for a grant to cover the Year 1 running costs of the library building and the Parish Council has already indicated that the funds can be found without having to increase the Council Tax precept this year. Other grant sources will also be explored and there will be an opportunity for well-wishers to donate money if so desired.
A business plan and projected budget have been prepared based on the known costs from the previous year when the County Council operated the library building. The charity will benefit from 80% business rates relief and we shall be asking our local District Council colleagues to support a request for a further 20% discretionary relief.
The library building will be leased to the charity by the County Council (for a peppercorn rent) and the trust will be responsible for the internal maintenance and upkeep of the building and for keeping the external areas tidy. The County Council will continue to provide the full library service and staff as existing. We shall be seeking other partners to rent some of the internal office area to give us an income stream to assist with funding. The existing room hire and other events will continue and it is hoped that volunteer involvement will enable longer opening hours and greater use of the internal space. There will be plenty of opportunities for helpers to contribute their time and expertise including assisting in the library, internal cleaning and maintenance as well as clerical and administrative work.
Further progress reports will be given over the next few weeks to keep users and local residents acquainted with latest developments. The trust will make its plans and accounts publicly available in recognition of the financial help and tremendous support and goodwill that it has received from within the community to retain the library as an asset to be used and enjoyed by everyone in Wythall.
If you would like more information or wish to help out as a volunteer or prospective trustee please contact Cllr Mrs Sue Baxter on 01564 824920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published by the Library Trust steering group
4 March 2014
Bleakhouse Farm Housing Development, Station Road, Wythall
The S.106 agreement is on the public access website.
The 60 page legal document contains details of various obligations and payments that Gallagher Estates have agreed to honour in order to obtain the Planning Consent:
- A sum of £250,000 to be paid to Centro as revenue support (a subsidy) for the S3 bus service to Solihull.
- An Off-Site Public Open Space contribution not quantified but believed to be in excess of £300,000 for sports pitches, floodlights, car park and changing rooms at Woodrush RFC; new fitness suites, astro turf pitch, dance studio, changing rooms and pitch improvements at Woodrush High School Academy; improvements to the footpath and fencing in Beaudesert Natural open space; and new outdoor gym equipment at Wythall Park.
- Contribute £30,000 or carry out designated alterations and improvement works to the Village Hall toilet facilities.
- A sum of £40,000 for improvements to Wythall Station (provision of CCTV)
- 40% minimum provision of affordable housing
- An education contribution based on a County Council formula for additional facilities at Wythall Green primary school.
- Contribute £20,000 for cycle route linkage provision
- £20,000 for bus stop improvements (2 new shelters in Station Road)
- £10,500 for footway improvements along a 200m length of Station Road together with an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing point.
In addition, Gallaghers will have to pay commuted sums or arrange for the management of the On-Site public open space, on-site area of play for youngsters and the sustainable drainage provision and balancing ponds serving the development.
The precise figures for some of the obligations are subject to complex district council formulae. Some of the contributions are dependent on Gallaghers not making similar contributions in relation to the Lowbrook Farm development if that should proceed.
The sums are to be paid at agreed stages of house completion.
Thanks to Councillor Stephen Peters for providing this information.
If any of our other of our local councillors would like to contribute to the content on this web site and keep residents informed of what’s going on or being planned for Wythall and Holywood, you are more than welcome. We can even give you a publishing login and show you how to use the site personally or as a group if you prefer.
Keeping in touch with residents doesn’t only have to happen at election time and a community site like this provides you with the most relevant and local platform you could wish for.
You may have noticed that Wythall.org is growing in popularity and features well in the search engine results for anything that concerns Wythall – so this is a great platform that is only going to get better.