Changes to buses – Sunday 5th July

National Express West Midlands, who operate the numbers 45 and 47 buses that service Stirchley into Birmingham city centre, have advised that there are some changes to the bus stop location in the city centre.


45 & 47 – The route in Birmingham city centre will change. Buses will no longer serve Carrs Lane, High Street or Albert Street. Instead, buses will run along Moor Street Queensway and Priory Queensway, turning around at Old Square and returning along Priory Queensway and Moor Street Queensway.

Stop BS16 on High Street (outside Boots) will no longer be served. Buses will instead terminate on Priory Queensway at stop BS9. Buses will also stop on Moor Street Queensway at stop MS8 (towards Birmingham) and at stop MS16 (on journeys from Birmingham).

Latest news

Former District Office for rent

We have been informed this evening that the former District Office has now been advertised for rent as D1 Community Centre use at a rent of at least £25,000pa for a term of 3 or 5 years full details are here.

Sub-post office for Stirchley

Is anyone interested in opening a sub-post office in Stirchley? As the High Street has now lost it’s last bank this could be a good opportunity. You can lodge your interest here https://runapostoffice.co.uk/ The post office at Dogpool has been closed since March and we understand that there are plans afoot to redevelop that corner and the former telephone exchange.

Planning

There have been two recent planning applications that relate to the High Street

  • 2020/03996/PA is proposing work that would result in a 6 bedroom House of Multiple Occupation at 1511 Pershore Road.
  • 2020/04099/PA is proposing to turn a current HMO & supermarket storage space into flats. It is Hazelwell House, Hazelwell Road. People living in Warren Road should take a look.

Both applications can be seen on Birmingham City Council Planning Online.

Virtual Hazelwell Station presentation and Q&A

There will be an online public meeting on 22nd July from 6 – 7.30pm about the Hazelwell train station.

Join the meeting online at Teams, the link is here.

A few things to be aware of

  • Teams Live Events can be accessed by downloading the Teams app to your laptop, smartphone or tablet or you can join the meeting via a browser session
  • The public  will be able to see and hear the Councillor and presenters but you will not actually be audible or visible.
  • You are able to write Questions whilst viewing OR send any questions by e-mail to me karen.cheney@birmingham.gov.uk or Mary.Locke@birmingham.gov.uk   prior to the date of the meeting.
  • This is new technology to us all and has been a steep learning curve so please be patient with us.
  • The live virtual meeting will be recorded and then be accessible to the public.

Please feel free to pass on the e-mail to others in Stirchley who you think would like to attend and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Morrisons

We understand that Morrisons is on track for opening on 9th July. It is now possible to take a look through the side window, by the cafe, tables and chairs have now been delivered.

Leaflet – Stirchley together through COVID-19

By now all households in Stirchley Ward should have received a leaflet giving COVID-19 related information. It was very much a collaborative effort and we would welcome your feedback.

Birmingham City Council COVID-19 Update

We have had the following email from Birmingham City Council and wanted to share the information…

In light of the impact COVID-19 is having on the economy, Birmingham City Council would like to ensure our residents are fully aware of all of the financial support which is being made available through the Government.

Going forward, we will issue a weekly update with details of any grants or relief which business can apply for with links to the relevant sources of information.

Information if you are an employee

Sick Pay

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

Statutory sick pay

The Government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March.

COVID-19 Sick note

If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

Furloughed workers

If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to. The Government plans for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least three months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.

Universal Credit

Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit. From 6 April the Government will increase the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual up-rating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

Information if you are self-employed

Lay-Offs and Short-Term working

Your employer can ask you to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for you. A lay-off is if you’re off work for at least 1 working day. Short-time working is when your hours are cut. There’s no limit for how long you can be laid off or put on short-time. You could apply for redundancy and claim redundancy pay if it’s been four weeks in a row or six weeks in a 13-week period. For lay-off pay entitlement and short-time working payments, you should get your full pay unless your contract allows unpaid or reduced pay lay-offs. If you’re unpaid, you’re entitled to guarantee pay.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed. You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
  • Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment.

Income tax payment deferral

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system can be deferred to January 2021.

Support for businesses paying tax: time to pay service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Statutory sick pay

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or the new style Employment and Support Allowance. If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

Universal credit

Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit. From 6 April the Government will increase the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

Support for rent costs

You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit. From April, we are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Benefits and financial support

Employment and support allowance

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. It gives you money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work and support to get back into work if you’re able to. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

Council tax support

You may be entitled to up to 100% Council Tax Support if you or your partner is:

  • A pensioner
  • Entitled to a disability premium or disabled child premium
  • Entitled to Employment Support Allowance and who also receives a qualifying disability related benefit
  • Receiving a carer’s premium
  • Receiving a war disablement pension, war widow’s pension or war widower’s pension
  • Caring for a child dependant under 6.

If you are of working age (other than those listed above) you will now have to make a contribution towards their Council Tax bill. As Council Tax Support will be calculated as a means tested discount, the amount each household will have to pay towards the Council Tax will depend on their individual household circumstances.

Council tax hardship fund

BCC has been allocated £17m through the Government’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund to deliver relief to those who are struggling to make council tax payments in the current economic climate. These reductions will be applied after any award of council tax support (CTS), and will not affect the CTS scheme itself or entitlement to any other benefits. The government expects authorities to reduce the bills of all working-age recipients of Council Tax Support by £150, or by a lesser amount if that is all that remains to be paid for the year. It does not expect taxpayers to have to apply for this reduction – authorities should already hold enough information to be able to award this automatically. It does not matter whether or not a taxpayer has been affected directly or indirectly by COVID-19. The government recommends an upfront payment, although it accepts that in some cases it may be better to spread it over the year.

Housing rental payments

Contact your landlord if you’re struggling to pay rent; they may be able to give a rent reduction or accept late payment. Make sure you get something in writing. The Government announced on 18 March that landlords will not be able to apply to court to evict tenants for at least three months. That includes if you rent from a private landlord, a housing association or the council. The new law is expected to come in very soon.

Mortgage payments

Mortgage lenders have announced they won’t apply to court to repossess homeowners for 3 months starting from 19 March. They will also allow a three-month payment holiday for those struggling to cover their mortgage because of coronavirus. Be aware that this option may mean your monthly mortgage payment goes up after the payment holiday ends. Check if you have insurance that will cover your mortgage payments instead. For example, mortgage payment protection insurance or through your current account

Free advice

You can receive free and impartial advice on a range of matters from organisations including:

  • Consumer rights: Free consumer protection advice from the Government on issues including contracts, goods and services
  • Employee rights: Free advice on worker’s rights from the Government
  • Money Advice Service: Free and impartial money advice from an organisation set up by the Government
  • Citizens Advice Service: Free advice on a range of topics including debt, money and finances; law and court and consumer rights
  • Shelter: Free advice on issues such as housing, homelessness, eviction, repairs and repossession

A FINAL IMPORTANT REMINDER: if you have any concerns about coronavirus, all the important official advice to help restrict its spread and how to deal with any infection can be found on the NHS website.

Special General Meeting for March

We’ve got a bit of a different meeting for March, in fact it is a Special General Meeting. This means it is a meeting “called to discuss business usually considered at the Annual General Meeting or issues seriously affecting the Neighbourhood Forum such as a change to the Constitution.” It will take place on Monday 9th March 2020.

For anyone coming to the Forum meetings for a while, these won’t be a surprise; they’re mainly around making sure the Forum covers the whole Stirchley Ward (which changed since the Forum’s constitution was introduced), and a few other bits around how we tell people what’s going on.

You can read the constitution, with the proposed changes here.

  1. WELCOME
  2. APOLOGIES
  3. PROPOSED CONSTITUTION AMENDMENTS
    1. 1. From ‘outlined on the attached map’ to ‘of Stirchley Ward’
    2. 2.c Remove ‘Ward Advisory Board’
    3. 4. Management Committee to have power to co-opt members between Annual General Meetings, those co-opted not to make up more than 30% of the total and those co-opted to stand down at the next AGM
    4. 4. Remove references to Ward Committee and Ward Advisory Board and insert Stirchley Ward Forum
    5. Committee to meet a minimum 4 times a year
    6. 5. Annual General Meeting. Notice shall be given ‘using the most appropriate methods to ensure the greatest public involvement’
    7. 7. Special General Meeting. Notice shall be given ‘using the most appropriate methods to ensure the greatest public involvement’
  4. UPDATE ON LICENSING
  5. CHANCE TO MEET NEW MORRISONS MANAGER AND SOME OF THE TEAM

Please note, due to Easter Monday there will be no April meeting, but we’ll be back the month after on Monday 11th May.

February’s agenda

Photograph of the licensing application for the Bournbrook Inn on Pershore Road

The Agenda for our February 2020 is now available, below. The meeting will take place on Monday 10th February, doors will open at 7pm, for a 7.30pm start, at Stirchley Community Church on Hazelwell Street (opposite Stirchley Baths), B30 2JX.

We welcome anyone with an interest in Stirchley Birmingham to attend the meetings, especially new people – please feel free to turn up early and join us for a cuppa before the meeting starts.

Our next meeting after this one takes place on Monday 9th March 2020.

January’s draft meeting minutes now available

Sorry for the delay in getting these up, we’ve had some technical issues – still at least you can give them a nice leisurely read over the weekend. These are the minutes from the meeting on 13th January 2020.

As with all our minutes, they’re considered to be draft versions until they’re confirmed at the next meeting.

Read the draft minutes from January 2020’s meeting here.

Stirchley Ward Forum meeting

We wanted to help advertise the upcoming Stirchley Ward Forum meeting. This is not the monthly neighbourhood forum, instead it’s a meeting run by Birmingham City Council and Councillor Mary Locke.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday 19th February at 7pm at The Grace Church, Dell Road B30 2HZ.

Residents are invited to come and meet our local councillor and join in discussions with the cabinet member for street scene & parks. There will also be an update on the ward plan.

A reminder again that this isn’t the our neighbourhood forum meeting (that’s Monday 10th February), but an additional meeting. Hopefully we’ll see you at both!

Thanks for attending January’s meeting

Thanks to everyone who braved the storm and came out to January’s meeting. There was plenty of information to be shared with the usual planning and police updates as well as questions from Stirchley residents and an update from Councillor Mary Locke.

The draft minutes for the Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum January 2020 meeting will be up on the website soon. But if in the mean time you want to make any comments on planning applications mentioned in the meeting or any of the consultations that were discussed at the meeting, you’ll find the details below.

Live planning applications mentioned;

  • Land adjacent 1581 Pershore Road: application for the Magnet store area to become a car repair centre. It had been withdrawn, but is now back up – 2020/00350/PA on the council’s website
  • 1469 Pershore Road (the old recycling shop between Joshuaa Shaun and House of Kards): Variation of conditions, to allow opening hours between 1000 and 2200 hours Sunday to Wednesday and 1000 to 0000 hours Thursday to Saturday – 2019/09869/PA if you’re looking on the council’s website

Consultations that were mentioned in the meeting;

  • Development Management in Birmingham – consultation ends 21st February 2020. Think parking, HMOs, community development etc. Helps inform what gets planning permission etc. We’ll probably talk more about this at the next meeting.
  • Parking Supplementary Planning Document – consultation ends 21st February 2020. Includes revised parking standards for new developments which reflect new national guidance and the Birmingham Transport Plan.
  • Birmingham Transport Plan – consultation from 28th January until 27th March. Sets out Birmingham City Council’s vision for the future of transport in the city, which is a sustainable, green, inclusive, go-anywhere network.