Tony Thapar, the Co-ordinator at the Moseley Community Development Trust, reported today:
"Tesco have confirmed to me that they are now marketing the site."
This announcement ends nine years of discussions about plans for a Tesco store on the Meteor Ford site.
On Wednesday 20th June, representatives from various local groups met with a representative from Tesco, Aspect Arboriculture and the Birmingham City Council Planning department. We were supported by two of our ward councillors (Ernie Hendricks and Martin Straker-Welds), and Howard Drury, an independent arboriculturalist.
To summarise, the tree will remain in situ until it is agreed that it is unsafe and must be removed. The view of Aspect Arboriculture is that the species and current root morphology of the tree will render it unable to withstand the changes to the site that will follow. Our view is that the development should be sensitive to this - so if there is a way of performing the remediation, groundworks and subsequent development without breaching the root protection area, we would like this route to be taken.
We can make no guarantees other than to exhaust every possibility to save the tree. So have a read of the notes and see what you think.
13 June 2012
Dear Councillor Sharpe and members of the Planning Committee
Re: Horse Chestnut Tree – Meteor Ford Site, Moseley
On Sunday morning, June 10th, Moseley residents demonstrated their opposition to the felling of a chestnut tree on the Meteor Ford site and succeeded in stopping this work.
Two weeks previously Councillor Hendricks had stopped the removal of the tree, on the grounds that the approved plans for the site showed clearly that the tree was to be retained. Subsequently, the councillors were assured that they would be informed before any further work took place - and that more evidence would be provided as to the necessity of removing the tree. Indeed independent advice, sought by Fiona Adams of the Moseley Society, indicated that the tree was in perfect health, with as much as 200 years of life ahead of it.
On Monday Peter Wright, on behalf of the City Council, issued a press release. This stated that, due to the necessity of drilling boreholes within the root protection area of the tree, which would irrevocably damage the tree, written consent was issued by the Local Planning Authority on Feb 16th for the removal of the tree.
Following the Moseley Forum meeting on Monday, I am writing to you to ask for evidence that the boreholes have to be sited in those positions. The tree is an important landmark and Moseley residents, and Doctors from the practice that intends to move to the Medical Centre which forms part of the development, feel strongly that the tree should be retained.
Cllrs Hendricks and Straker Welds met with Council Officers on Monday who agreed to arrange a meeting with members of the community, councillors and the agent/developer. Cllr Straker Welds will also invite a Doctor from the practice mentioned above.
We hope that you will inform Tesco’s agent/developer that, despite the existing planning consent, the contractor must not remove the tree before this meeting has taken place.
With best wishes from
Esther Boyd on behalf of David Isgrove, Moseley Forum Chair
Copied to Gareth Stuttard at Wake Green Surgery, Moseley+Kings Heath councillors, Moseley CDT and Moseley Forum
To be sent separately to Waheed Nazir and Peter Wright - and to Tyler Parkes with a request that they forward it to Tesco
The Tesco development (Meteor Ford) is back on the agenda. A couple of weeks ago, Tony Thapar from Moseley CDT was warned that Tesco intended to cut down a tree on the Meteor Ford site because it is allegedly preventing them from drilling boreholes as part of the remediation process. When the tree surgeons arrived, he called Councillor Hendricks, who sent them away on the grounds that the approved plans for the site clearly showed that the tree was to be retained. Subsequently, the councillors were assured that they would be informed before any further work was carried out - and that more evidence would be provided as to the necessity of removing the tree. Indeed, independent advice sought by Fiona Adams of the Moseley Society indicated that the tree was in perfect health, with as much as 200 years of life ahead of it.
However the agreed arrangement was not stuck to - so on Sunday (June 10th) residents raced to the Meteor Ford site to prevent the tree from being felled once more. It had already lost a couple of branches by the time we arrived. The stand-off lasted for about 5 hours but, after a well-handled intervention by the local police, it was agreed that the tree surgeons would leave - and left the councillors and other community representatives to seek clarity on how this should be handled.
Councillors Hendricks and Straker-Welds met Planning Department officers on Monday (June 11th) who agreed to arrange a meeting with members of the community, councillors and the agent/developer. Cllr Straker Welds will also invite a Doctor from the Wake Green Surgery.
Afterwards Peter Wright, on behalf of the City Council, issued a press release. This stated that, due to the necessity of drilling boreholes within the root protection area of the tree, which would irrevocably damage the tree, written consent was issued by the Local Planning Authority on Feb 16th for the removal of the tree.
At Monday’s Moseley Forum meeting it was agreed that Forum should write to the Director of Regeneration (Waheed Nazir), the Chair of the Planning Committee (Mike Sharpe) and all members of the Planning Committee, to ask for evidence that the boreholes have to be sited within the root protection area. A copy will be sent to the developer, Tyler Parkes, with a request that it is sent to the relevant person at Tesco.
Moseley Forum believes that it is very important that local people are able to have confidence in council processes, and we will keep you informed as events progress.
If you would like to be part of a telephone tree, to ensure that residents can act quickly if contractors arrive unannounced to remove the tree, please phone Claire on 07878 792 763 or Esther on 449 6675. You may like to offer to spread the word by telephone, email, Twitter or Facebook or you may like to join protesters around the tree. We look forward to hearing from you.
has launched a consultation to determine what improvements can be made to the Churchyard of St Mary's Church.
The Parish of St Mary in Moseley wish to implement an access and interpretation
scheme to improve the churchyard environment with the aims of:
- telling the story of the church & its churchyard
- improving security and tackling anti-social behaviour
- transforming it into an accessible green space for the benefit of the local community & visitors to Moseley
The Church has commissioned the environmental consultants & landscape architects,, to construct a questionnaire - with an accompanying leaflet to explain some of the issues - and so survey the people of Moseley for their views.
Views are being sought about these proposals to improve the Churchyard and all completed questionnaires will be entered for a prize draw to win a £25 Marks & Spencer voucher.
Moore Environment are specialists in:
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- Environmental Design & Management
- Landscape Architecture
Further details of this consultation are available directly fromwebpage along with news of other work that Moore Environment have done in Birmingham and further afield.
All responses to Moore Environment's survey for St Mary's Churchyard must be returned to the Parish Office of St Mary's Church, (nextdoor to the church on St Mary's Row), by 27th July 2011.
News update - see article in Birmingham Post:
Jo Jones of the SAVE MOSELEY VILLAGE campaign wrote:
I am very sorry to inform you that the Meteor Ford development was approved today at planning committee by 8 votes to 7. All councillors voted as before (the development had been deferred, minded to refuse on February 10th) but there was an additional conservative councillor at committee today. All conservatives voted for the development, all lib dem and labour against, with the exception of Ian Ward, labour councillor, who voted for the development. The first vote was 7 votes against 7 votes, which gave the planning chair (con) the right to decide the outcome by voting a second time.
This occurred despite a last minute letter on behalf of Roger Godsiff MP, questioning the validity of PCT involvement in the development. Cllr Smith asked what would happen if the medical centre could not be included in the development and whether the supermarket would increase in size to absorb the additional space. This very important query was not answered.
The case hinged on parking and highways implications and what they considered to be lack of technical evidence for refusal. Birmingham City Council (BCC) obtained legal advice from Ian Dove QC this week in advance of the committee meeting, who stated that there was no sustainable reason for refusal... on highways and parking. Crucially, it seems that he gave no judgement on the validity of a refusal on retail impact (and probably none was solicited by BCC). BCC have consistently failed to accept retail impact (on Moseley village) as a reason for refusal despite it being requested by planning committee on February 10th. Many believe that this would have been our strong card should the developer have chosen to take the case to appeal (should the refusal vote have been maintained today).
Several of the councillors questioned the role of the planning committee, given that they were being urged to follow the recommendation of the planning officer, who had also already sought legal counsel on the highways issue. There was also unhappiness at the bullying tactics of the developer's legal counsel.
Thank you to all of you who have worked to represent local views and try to influence this application. We now need to consider what, if anything can be done.
PS from Esther Boyd, writing as a member of the campaign: if you read the Birmingham Mail article (link above) you will note that the Chair, Peter Douglas Osborne, voted in the first vote, changing what would have been a 7:6 vote for refusal into a draw, and giving himself, as Chair, the right to use his casting vote.
The new report to Planning Committee is attached below - the first six pages contain persuasive arguments from the Developer, and a comment from the Medical Practice, that the application for a supermarket, a medical centre and 14 flats should be approved.
The SAVE MOSELEY VILLAGE campaign will be questioning much of the information and giving grounds to members of the Planning Committee to stand by their decision to refuse the application.
UPDATE 2 Mar 2011
Colin Gough sent the following message to Councillors today. The attachments are posted below
We trust that the following attachments will be useful in your deliberations on the Meteor Ford planing application at tomorrow's
The attachments comprise:
a) a letter listing valid reasons for rejecting the development
b) an annotated map illustrating the flawed developer's retail assessment and ridiculous assumptions made directly affecting the viability and vitality of Moseley Village - Appendix A
c) our own analysis and data illustrating the current shortage of nearby week-day and busy Saturday on- and off-street parking - correcting the incorrect and highly misleading account of the developer's survey presented to the Committee in the current papers
d) Appendices B1 and B2 - the photographic montage in B2 illustrates the saturation of almost all nearby parking on a busy Saturday.
We have taken professional advice about the threat of costs and are told that this has been absurdly over-blown. Our letter provides further reassurance about the risks involved in not following the officer's advice.
Your decision needs to be made on planning merits alone.
Given what is at stake for the future of Moseley Village, an independent retail impact study is crucial, even though the planning officer has used his discretionary powers not to make one. Members would be entirely justified in seeking one now - if necessary, postponing a decision until this is done. The findings would either reassure residents/traders that there is nothing to fear or clarify the strong retail reasons for rejection.
Save Moseley Village
The good news is already reported in the Birmingham Mail: http://tinyurl.com/63opng7.
The Planning Committee did not agree with the planning officer’s report which recommended approval: by a majority of 7:5 they were “minded to refuse”. Council officers now must provide sound reasons for refusal and bring the matter back to committee.
Before the meeting SAVE MOSELEY VILLAGE campaigners, with the help of planning consultants, provided council officers with reasons for refusal.
We look forward to receiving the date when the matter will return to Planning Committee.
Interest in the site for an alternative development has already been shown – watch this space!
UPDATE Feb 17th
Message from the Planning Officer: "The Meteor Ford application will likely be reported back to Planning Committee on the 3rd March"
DECISION ON THURSDAY ***Join us at the meeting***
The planning officer is recommending approval – the final decision will be taken by the planning committee on Thursday 10 February. The Save Moseley Village campaign hopes that as many people as possible will be able to show their objection by turning up for the meeting at the Council House at 11am.
A petition signed by 2404 individuals was presented to Birmingham Council Planning Department yesterday (8 Feb). Ten village traders were involved in collecting petition signatures and 41 have signed a statement to the council confirming that they object to this development because of the harm it will cause to Moseley.
LETTER TO COUNCILLORS
Save Moseley Village wrote to councillors yesterday (8 Feb) – see SaveMoseleyVillage attached below – urging the committee to reject the application based on the significant evidence supporting refusal and the overwhelming objection of the local community. It is also pointing out that if the committee is to make an informed judgment on this case they need to have access to all relevant information.
CAMPAIGNERS MEET PLANNING OFFICER
Jo Jones and Colin Gough of the Save Moseley Village campaign, and Esther Boyd of Moseley Forum, met David Wells, the planning officer today to discuss their concerns that about omissions in the report to the Planning Committee. Information, including key concerns identified in a transport analysis commissioned by Moseley Forum, will now be a submitted as an addendum.
Traffic already is a significant problem in the area and is set to get worse if the development is approved. Queuing traffic on Oxford Road in the morning rush hour already extends more than 100m beyond the proposed only vehicular entrance to the site. Added to this, local residents are very concerned by a current daily trend by motorists to beat the queues by driving down to the junction with St. Mary’s Row on the wrong side of the road – see photo on last page of SaveMoseleyVillage attached below. This happens at exactly the time when parents are taking children to the local school and the playgroup opposite the site creating significant danger to pedestrians. The police have now been informed. Local resident Caroline Wilmin was nearly hit by a car travelling the wrong way along this road.
Charmain Hannaby, owner of Winspers Florist says: “I’m immensely worried about Tesco coming to Moseley both on a personal level and from a business perspective. This store has been here for over 40 years and with Tesco’s big ideas and big buying I will be forced out of the market for items such as flowers. It would sadden me to see any business here struggling and I object to the application fully. Quite simply put, Tesco will be the death of Moseley.”
Moseley Business Association (MBA) have now written to the Planning Department about the concerns of local traders should this development be approved.
TESCO HAS DAMAGED MOSELEY ALREADY
Many long-time Moseley residents are viewing this current application with anger and a sense of irony. After all, it was Tesco, who in the 1970s, were responsible for the destruction of a row of attractive, gable ended, independent shops in the heart of Moseley village in order to built a concrete modern supermarket. When Tesco walked out of Moseley in 1991 the shop was boarded up, led to vacant properties nearby and a general down turn in the prosperity of Moseley Village.
SAVE MOSELEY VILLAGE from the damage of the traffic impact, and the retail impact, that this large Tesco store would bring.
The Planning Application about the development on the Meteor Ford site will be presented to the Planning Committee on 10 February 2011 - 11 a.m. at the Council House - and the officer’s recommendation to Members is that the application be approved.
A good turnout of residents and shopkeepers may still persuade the Planning Committee to refuse the Application, along with the presentation of the Petition and press coverage.
Please join us there. Steve Davis, Customer Services Manager at Moseley Co-Op, says that they will try to ensure that there is a representative of the Co-Op at the meeting.
The report to Planning Committee, giving details of objections received and the Planning Officer's response, is attached below: Meteor Building, St Mary.pdf
UPDATE 4 Feb 2011
Moseley Forum believes that the matters referred to in the letter attached below: Phil Jones Assoc letter, sent on 12 Jan 2011, have not been responded to appropriately.
This means that the planning authority is not in a position to take an informed decision as the committee members will not have all the necessary information.