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Published on January 16th, 2016 | by Gaelle Finley

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HANDSWORTH PARK: NEW COUNCIL WARD BOUNDARIES

As part of its Electoral Review for Birmingham District, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England has proposed that Handsworth Park be split in two separate wards, one part staying in Handsworth and the other being in a new Birchfield Ward.

The Commission has started a public consultation which will take place 15 January-8 February 2016 (*). ‘We are asking local people and organisations to comment on our draft recommendations for new ward boundaries across Birmingham.

We have an open mind about further suggestions from local people to change and improve these recommendations. We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole of Birmingham or just a part of the city.

 We have an open mind about further suggestions from local people to change and improve these recommendations. We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole of Birmingham or just a part of the city.

Below (**), you can see our proposals for new ward boundaries. You can compare our proposals (in red) to the existing boundaries (in blue) and search across the whole of Birmingham, even down to street level. You can also click on any ward to find out how many voters are included in it and how many councillors we propose should represent it.

You can submit comments to us or upload a document by clicking on the ‘Have your say’ link at the top of the page. You can also draw your own boundaries and annotate the map by clicking on the button.

There is plenty of information to help you make a submission in the ‘Useful links’ section at the bottom right of the page.’ (**)

What do you think of the proposal?

Please ensure your comments/objections/suggestions are received before 8 February 2016.

– You can post them on:
https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/add/informed-representation/5688?bbox=392073.13344268,283497.2399765,418023.13344268,298497.2399765

Note: you do not have to alter the boundaries, you can just post your comments/objections.

– or email: reviews@lgbce.org.uk

– or write: Review Officer (Birmingham), LGBCE, 14th floor, Millbank Tower, London SW1P 4QP.

The Commission will consider all submissions and aims to publish its final recommendations on 17 May 2016. Once the Commission agrees its final recommendations it will lay a draft order in both Houses of Parliament. Parliament will then have 40 days in which to consider the recommendations. If both Houses are satisfied with the recommendations, the draft order will be ‘made’ and the new wards will come into effect at the city council elections in 2018.

Upon receipt of your submission, you will receive an email stating: The Commission places great importance on ensuring openness and transparency in the way it deals with all representations. Full copies of all representations received will be made available for viewing on the Commission’s website, at www.lgbce.org.uk. These will be published shortly after this stage of the consultation closes.  We remove all personal identifiers of individuals such as personal postal or email addresses, signatures or personal phone numbers from your submission before it is made public. However, we do not remove names. If you do not want all or any part of your response or name made public, please state this clearly in writing to us (email/letter) and we will endeavour to respect your wish.  

* http://www.lgbce.org.uk/news/electoral-review/birmingham-residents-have-your-say-on-new-council-ward-boundaries

** https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/5688

 


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9 Responses to HANDSWORTH PARK: NEW COUNCIL WARD BOUNDARIES

  1. Janet Chapman says:

    I live on the Parklands estate near Handsworth Park and believe the boundary should divide between Handsworth and Birchfield along Hamstead Road. Splitting the park will cause administrative and financial difficulties without creating any benefits. Why not move the boundary to Hamstead Road.

  2. Gaelle Finley says:

    Thank you for your comments which I’m sure you have sent.

  3. Gaelle Finley says:

    Below is Susan Green’s response:
    Splitting Handsworth park across two wards makes no sense. This is not a rational or reasonable thing to do.
    Handsworth Park sits at the heart of Handsworth; not Handsworth the ward but Handsworth the Place and for the people that live here this covers Birchfield, Soho, Holyhead, and Handsworth Wood as well as Handsworth. The sense of ownership of the park has nothing to do with ward boundaries. Those living in Birchfield do not need a boundary splitting the park into two in order to feel the park is still their park. Putting the boundary in the park clearly fails on all three of your own key considerations;

    1. The park doesn’t have a population and so their is no impact upon the ratio of electors to councillors, therefor there is no reason on this key consideration for not locating the border down the centre of Hamstead Road, a convention you are happy to exercise everywhere else in the city.
    2. It will not ‘provide for effective and convenient local government’, instead it will have the opposite effect. We will have two separate administrative and political bodies the Birchfield & Handsworth ward committees to deal with in addition to all the other Council and public sector agencies that have to be engaged with when trying to organise even the smallest of activities; Police, Fleet Waste & Management, Severn Trent, Parks, The ranger service, CRB, Emergency Services. You are going to discourage community participation with this change.

    Moreover how does this proposal fit with your third concern ‘ Reflect community identity’ you are being disrespectful to the community of Handsworth who live adjacent to the park; whatever your intention or rationale, and I fail to see what this can be, unless you are setting out to deliberately insult us by proposing that somehow on our own we are not capable of looking after a park in our ward, it is being seen locally as Handsworth losing half of its park, a very bad message to send out to people who already feel justifiably angry at the Council and local politicians. Please wake up to the damage this is going to cause to community relations before it is too late and put the boundary in the sensible place down the centre of Hamstead road.
    I speak as someone who knows my area well.
    I have been a resident of Handsworth for thirty years. I have worked voluntarily locally in the following capacities; Committee member Grove Residents Association 19 years (Secretary for 15), during this time I also worked with the Environmental Wardens and Street Champions Scheme, Member SRB 6 Board, East Handsworth Neighbourhood Board, Organiser of Play in the Park and Classroom in the Park events, Adviser Handsworth Play Centre, Informal advice & Support Arthur Road Community Centre Children’s nursery & after school. I have participated in dozens of community consultations; Neighbourhood, Pathfinder, PFI Smethwick Hospital, Perry Barr District & Constituency. We have suffered greatly since the last boundary change more than a decade ago when the political balance of power was moved to Lozells and the Handsworth name eradicated. The greater share of the additional regeneration money and resources that were pumped into the ward over this time went into the Lozells neighbourhood. Our politicians and their colleagues in Council promised ‘a clean green environment, a secure and stable neighbourhood and family friendly area, yet we have been engineered to deliver the opposite with a high number of Multi Occupancy, Hostels, and short term private rented. Our population density is three times the city average. Houses have been built on every piece of green land, as well conversions of shops, pubs, garages, inns, factories, bowling greens, even a swimming pool reducing the overall communal spaces locally to a fraction of what they were in this historical Staffordshire village and Birmingham Edwardian suburb. Air pollution is high We have some of the worst rates of childhood obesity and asthma in the UK. Congestion and traffic density give us a high rate of RTA’s and fatal accidents. Our violent crime figures including domestic violence are well above average. All of this has been delivered by the Council and local politicians working with third party agencies, especially in Social Housing. It didn’t just happen this way. It was made this way.
    Now we have another proposed boundary change and this time you want to take half our park away from us. Haven’t you taken enough? I might add finally that a single two member ward incorporating both Birchfield and Handsworth would have avoided all this nonsense. Both neighbourhoods are historically Handsworth, the arbitrary distinctions of local administrative areas mean nothing to most local residents, all of the area around the park is Handsworth. That’s how it has been, that’s how it is, and that’s how it will be.

  4. Jean McMorrow says:

    This is a ludicrous idea. Why divide it. As other people have already said Hamstead Road is already the natural boundary. Please leave it as it is. Could this be a ploy to use one side or the other to build on in the future and reduce it’s size?

  5. Rob Smith says:

    I haven’t seen any justification for this division. As already said, the ‘natural’ line appears to go along Hamstead Road. Cutting the park in half is a conscious deviation from this, as Sue has said, there is no population in the park, so what is the thinking behind it?
    Handsworth Park is an important part of the city’s heritage, loved and valued by the people who use it. These ward boundaries will probably come and go but the park will remain. That said, any administrative shimmies that seek to undermine the integrity and financial underpinnings of the Park need to be fought against.

  6. Pam Hudson-Shepherd says:

    Handsworth Park is a historical Park, also it’s a land mark for visitors, tourist and the residents of Handsworth.

    I use to walk through Handsworth Park most days coming home from school, it was a short cut which help to get home safe.

    Please reconsider your plan

  7. Nils Edstrom says:

    Handsworth park should stay in Handsworth. The park is a symbol of all that is good about Handsworth. There is no logical reason to have the boundary changed in this way. Hamstead Road is a far more recognisable line. I really hope that there is no intention to fund differently or to reduce the size of the park with this being the first step. We already have the issue of the promised playing fields as part of the Jubilee allotments development still not available to stakeholders and community with seemingly no forward movement. There is an increasing feeling abroad that this lane will end up built on adding to an already over populated ward.

  8. david wade says:

    Keep Handsworth park in the Handsworth boundary don’t split it.its the one of the positive items we do have in Handsworth and to split it would just be another insult to the Handsworth name.

  9. K.Safiya says:

    I would like to see as many of our community hubs and members band together on this one. I myself have strong views on the boundaries and would like a meeting of all of us who live and breathe our community daily.

    I’m a co-founder of ‘Handsworth Community’ on facebook and twitter.

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