Steve discusses hot topics with Selly Oak Residents

Steve met with residents from Selly Oak to discuss local issues in their community.
The main issue on everyone’s minds was the Sainsbury’s proposals for the Selly Oak Battery Site, which has been derelict for many years now. There were particular concerns regarding the road network: especially the problems at the existing Sainsbury’s store and the risk of rat running along Gibbins Road caused by the potential new development.
Steve and the residents felt that the latest plans, released by Sainsbury’s in summer 2011, did not reflect previous promises made by Sainsbury’s. There was particular concern about the canal-side proposals, previously Sainsbury’s proposals included provision to develop the canal and bring it in as part of the redevelopment of the whole Battery Site. New plans do not sufficiently connect the canal to the main site; some residents were worried about the potential for anti-social behaviour.
Another pressing issue on the minds of residents was the large student population in the area and the effect this has on the local community.  The residents felt that too many student landlords do not care about the local community and often leave students in poor housing conditions; this in turn results in un-neighbourly behaviour by the students. One resident mentioned the Guild of Students ‘Landlord Accreditation Scheme’, which registers landlords who treat their tenants fairly and also take responsibility for student behaviour. The residents and Steve agreed that the University has a duty of care not only to its students but to the resident population in its surrounding areas and should make the Landlord Accreditation Scheme compulsory for all student landlords in the Selly Oak area.
One resident brought up the very worrying issue of road safety around St Mary’s Primary School in Selly Oak. The Safer Roads Policy has not been implemented as of yet as the scheme is struggling to attract funding as no child has been injured. The residents were extremely concerned about this, especially with the planned expansion of St Mary’s School which will bring additional pressures on parking and the roads. 
Commenting on the meeting, Steve said:
“It was great to meet with people who live in Selly Oak and get to grips with what they are thinking and what they believe are the most important local issues that need to be dealt with.
“There has long been a problem with the student population in Selly Oak and I believe a great place to start with this problem is to tackle irresponsible and unscrupulous landlords.
“Moving on to the more complex issue of the Selly Oak Battery Site I think it is really important that this redevelopment gets under way. However, I am not saying I support redevelopment at any cost. I am backing my constituents in calling for a mixed development that includes the restoration of the canal. What I don’t want is a huge department store that will, coupled with a large Sainsbury’s store, threaten the survival of local retailers in the area.
“I am currently conducting a survey of my constituents to see what they want out of the battery site. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part so I can get the best idea of what the people of Selly Oak want for the site.”
Are you a Selly Oak resident? Would you like to have your say on the Battery Site? Fill in Steve’s survey online by clicking here or request a paper copy by phoning Steve’s office on 0121 443 3878.
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