On the 12th of July 2008 we held a public consultation at Stirchley Community Centre. We asked local residents to tell us what they wanted to see in the area and here are the results:
People would like more open spaces, including improvements to existing parks and the River Rea walkway. They also wanted to see an expansion of the allotments, perhaps even some kind of community agriculture/market garden that would be better connected to the centre of Stirchley. A public square away from the traffic and linked to green areas was also suggested, as well as an outdoor multi-sports area that could be booked by local residents. It was also felt there should be an area suitable for community festivals/outdoor music and more public information about local history.
Suggested improvements to the environment for young children and families included more pedestrian crossings, safety railings, traffic calming and lower speed limits. Improved facilities included play/sport schemes, a play centre or multi-use play area as well as safer parks and open spaces.
When considering local teenagers and young people many people thought that a dedicated youth centre would be beneficial. It was felt they needed a place where they could come together to study, as well as chat/socialise and gain access to support and advice. Others felt that improvements to local sports facilities and clubs were essential. A multi-sports area was again suggested as well as a skate park and more evening activities and classes.
As for older people contributors want to see enhanced access to open spaces and a drop in centre or meeting place with tea and coffee rooms. They also wanted ‘somewhere nice to take the grandchildren’.
In terms of the community at large one of the most popular suggestions was a swimming pool and a sports centre/gym. They also wanted to see an expansion of the library, as well as more community groups and evening classes to include such activities as fitness lesson or courses in photography. A community arts centre was also suggested.
Improved independent retail that would give Stirchley an identity was very important to local people. Suggestions included smaller, independent shops with a focus on local traders; restaurants, cafes and bars; building on the DIY/hardware reputation/tradition of Stirchley; more local butchers and green grocers; a weekly market or farmers market; a pedestrian high street/square with retail; craft village type shops; focused business support, plans and incentives for derelict shops. Better and more affordable housing was also high on the agenda, as well as improvements to the built environment focusing on the conservation of historic buildings.
Although this was intended as a constructive exercise there was massive concern about traffic, especially on the Pershore Road. Many were worried that a big new development would be disastrous for the already gridlocked road system and would increase local pollution. Suggestions for improvements included big support for cycle lanes and cycle racks, as well as an improved bus service to close suburbs such as Moseley and Harborne. Contributors also wanted to see stricter enforcement of rules concerning shops loading on the Pershore road, a greater effort to tackle ‘rat runs’ (such as on Ribblesdale Road), road widening, off-road parking for local shops and more pedestrian areas.
For pictures and more about the day take a look at the post ‘Residents Have Their Say’.