You can read BID’s latest response to the Places for People Scheme below.
Dear Councillor Ward
RE: Kings Heath Places for People (LTN)
I am contacting you on behalf of the Business Improvement District in Kings Heath to ensure that you and all Birmingham Councillors are aware of the concerns shared by the BID and its constituent business community following the recent public update on the Places for People project, released on 22nd March 2022.
The BID responded to the public consultation last autumn with a document comprising 17 comments and 30 recommendations which were designed to facilitate an approach to the scheme which was both holistic and took into account the challenges faced by businesses with the implementation of the LTN in Kings Heath.
I will stress once again that the BID is neither for the scheme or against it, rather we have sought to put forward balanced views on behalf of the businesses of the area that highlight concerns and real issues while seeking, wherever possible, to suggest practical and achievable solutions to some of the challenges that the scheme has and will inevitably throw up.
It was hugely disappointing, therefore, to read the Council’s latest statement on the introduction of the scheme which makes virtually no acknowledgment of any of the suggestions we put forward.
Moreover, specific issues which we identified to the project team, based on our very real experience of running businesses within the LTN-affected area have been overlooked, leaving many businesses with remaining uncertainty as to how they are meant to trade effectively into the future.
Outside of the specific concerns about the actual implementation, the BID retains a concern that the delivery of the project, which has been pushed back by many months, will now be taking place at a time when the BID itself is seeking to secure a fourth term, jeopardising our ability to take the BID forward for the next five years.
In addition, in liaison with our local councillors and officers across the council, we have been adamant that any new initiatives or projects that meet the sustainable and active travel agenda should be implemented or trialled in Kings Heath, given that we are the guinea pigs for the LTN. The question needs to be asked, therefore, as to why Harborne has been chosen to trial the extension of the Beryl Bike scheme ahead of Kings Heath?
I am sure that you will appreciate that this lack of joined-up thinking, coupled with the continued delays to the LTN – as well as the fact that the Covid Barriers remain in place along Kings Heath High Street – do nothing to improve the confidence of local businesses in Birmingham City Council.
At the very least, I would request that, as the democratically elected body for businesses in Kings Heath, the BID be offered a place on the Places for People Project Board, currently populated by those officials elected to represent the resident community of the area.
I would also request that the project officers explain why the recommendations and suggestions that the BID has put forward on behalf of local businesses have been ignored.
The BID remains committed to supporting the global agenda to reducing harmful emissions and improving environmental quality, but this cannot be achieved at the expense of the 300+ businesses that make up Kings Heath BID.
Chair, Kings Heath BID