10th June 2022
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Kings Heath Local Centre Public Consultation
The Board of Kings Heath BID makes the following observations and suggestions:
- The BID’s response to the Places for People Low Traffic Neighbourhood has been well documented and further, progressive conversations have taken place and continue to take place with Birmingham City Council.
- While this scheme is not a part of that project, the two are interlinked, especially in the minds of the businesses, residents and shoppers of Kings Heath and a part of the BID’s consultation response did cover the issue of the removal of parking from Kings Heath High Street.
- In early January, the BID’s manager was asked by the Places for People team to consult with the businesses which fronted the stretch of high street from which parking had been removed.
- The results of these conversations saw a small majority of businesses wishing to see the car parking re-instated, however every business was in agreement that a permanent solution needed to be implemented as soon as possible.
- Businesses have expressed disappointment that, having originally been advised by Birmingham City Council that this solution would be implemented by March, we are now approaching the summer and this stretch of high street is still being consulted upon.
- As regards the current consultation, the BID has ensured that information has been shared with its business community and the BID manager has revisited those businesses spoken to at the start of the year.
- What has become apparent is that, generally speaking, opinions haven’t changed, however there are questions regarding the retention of loading bays and blue-badge parking.
- Specifically, as is seen elsewhere in central Kings Heath, loading bays and disabled-only parking are frequently abused by regular car users. It is fair to assume that this will become the case with bays retained under the new scheme.
- As such, the BID would like to see further increases in the levels of parking enforcement patrols, otherwise it is almost certain that loading and disabled parking will be abused.
- Equally, illegal parking on Heathfield, York, Institute and Kingsfield Roads and on Silver Street has increased and this is likely due to less parking on the high street, in part, at least. Patrols need to be increased to address this issue too.
- One way of alleviating this would be to improve signage to the car parks from the high street and the BID sees this as an important addition to the scheme.
- What consideration has been given by the project team to the existing rear access which many businesses in this stretch of high street have?
- In terms of the final design of the scheme, the BID is happy to see a number of planters proposed and would welcome even more. The BID is happy to enter into a service level agreement with Birmingham City Council for the on-going maintenance and planting of these boxes.
- The BID would also like to see consideration given to the installation of a number of benches or other seating. With nowhere to rest between All Saints and Kings Heath Baptist Churches, seating would make the high street more accessible for the elderly and others with mobility needs, and we would request that the council works with the BID on the design and positioning of any seating in order to maximise effectiveness and minimise the opportunity for anti-social behaviour.
- The BID would also like the council to ensure that whatever paving is introduced matches the existing scheme along the high street.
- This would also be an ideal opportunity to level the existing paving along this stretch of high street, which has become uneven over time.
The BID looks forward to working with Birmingham City Council on the delivery of this project, whatever the final outcome of the consultation.
Chair, Kings Heath BID