10/28/2015

Resounding 'yes' vote for Balsall Heath Neighbourhood Plan

Chief executive of Balsall Heath Forum Abdullah Rehman and architect Joe Holyoak in Ladypool Road

Chief executive of Balsall Heath Forum Abdullah Rehman and architect Joe Holyoak in Ladypool Road

Birmingham's first vote on a new planning policy has resulted in a resounding "yes" from the residents of Balsall Heath.
However, the referendum on the new Neighbourhood Plan saw just over 22 per cent of the area's 10,065 eligible voters take part.
Of the 2,228 who voted, 2014 or 89 per cent, voted yes in the first ever ballot on a local planning policy in Birmingham.
The policy, which includes improvements to the main Ladypool Road and Moseley Road centres and potential reopening of the rail station, will guide potential investors and developers.
Abdullah Rehman of the Balsall Heath Forum said that he hopes other neighbourhoods will follow their example.
He said: "It makes me feel really proud to be part of a community who led a campaign 21 years ago to reclaim the streets from pimps and drug dealers, to a new chapter which seeks to empower and put residents in control of their "place".
"We appreciate all the support we have received from all political parties and all partners who have helped the Balsall Heath Forum over the past four years, and hope it encourages other neighbourhoods to develop their own plan which meets the needs of the people and its residents."
Architect Joe Holyoak, who drew up the plan in consultation with the community, added: "I am delighted we have finally got to the end, with the right result, after four years work.
"It is another significant achievement for Balsall Heath, one of Birmingham's most innovative districts, to now have the first neighbourhood plan in the city."
Coun Victoria Quinn (Lab Sparkbrook) said the Balsall Heath community had shown, through the Neighbourhood Plan and vote, that they shared an identity and cared about the place where they lived.
She said: "This was a spirit of people literally saying 'we belong to this place, we care and we want to be able to have a greater say in and control this place'.
"While the plan may indeed take perhaps a generation to still yet achieve, this endorsement gives those plans a credible chance of making progress and helping the community feel more involved and able to feel able to take control within 'their' place."
Neighbourhood Plans, designed to give communities control over local development and planning, have tended to be adopted in rural villages and market towns. The success in Balsall Heath could encourage their adoption in other parts of Birmingham.
The full referendum result:
Number of eligible voters - 10,065
Total number of votes cast - 2,242
Turnout - (22.28 per cent)
Number of votes found to be invalid - 14
Total number of valid votes counted - 2,228
Number voting Yes - 2,014 (89.83 per cent)
Number voting No - 214 (10.17 per cent)