Saturday, 26 November 2022

Housing/migrant crises - Tom Harwood

"France, with the same population as the UK, builds twice as many homes each year.

"Twice as many. If London had the same density as Paris, it could more than double its population." Tom Harwood

We don't want more homes built, we want fewer people. Britain is overcrowded. It is being concreted over. Wildlife and natural habitat destroyed. Farmland and food growing areas destroyed. Water courses/flood plains built on. We now know 20m immigrants have arrived in 2 decades

Replying to and
France has more net migration too countless previous governments have not done enough to build infrastructure, houses etc. We need the migration as there are 1m jobs currently unfilled. Govs have been too concerned giving cash to mates than spending in right places

Replying to
Yes. But most French people rent homes. Tenancies can be inherited. Home ownership in the centre of big cities like Paris and Marseilles etc is unusual. But there are legal controls on rent and landlords. Plus France is four times bigger than the U.K.

Replying to
Between 2010 and 2017, 370,000 homes were built in France on average every year. The UK has not built more the 200,000 homes a year since 1986, thanks to right to buy decimating the ability of Local Authorities to build houses. End right to buy or this problem will not go away

To my personal, v young, ward councillors

Good to meet you both at the last community forum.  As a retired old gentleman of leisure and pleasure, I'm still available at any time and any date to show you:

  • where the short-lived 1990s monorail went and how it fell short of a vital connection that only added to the tragic incompetence of the scheme;
  • the one and only monorail station that can still be seen and is preserved for occasional, anniversary viewing from inside the shopping centre;
  • my guerrilla garden up against the rusty, metal sheet piling that is due to be destroyed by the 400 metre concrete and steel viaduct on top of it;
  • the route of the devastation wreaked by the Metro across the only public open space at Merry Hill and this:

  • 10,000 sq metres at Daniels Land and High Plateau designated for housing but has nature now got the upper hand at Daniels Land and should it be left to enrich biodiversity?

One big Brum blunder after another

5 July 2019

It grieves me that railway managers and transport planners/experts failed to stop the running of homes, shops and offices on our railway lines since their very proper closure as loss-making in the 1950s and 60s.  All of them are now needed to reduce road congestion and train overcrowding.

It grieves me that opportunities were lost to build additional tunnels to Grand Central when Westside was being redeveloped in the 80s and 90s.
Another lost opportunity when the Bull Ring Shopping Centre was being rebuilt in the 90s and 00s.  The Eastside railway tunnels should have been built when the concrete Bull Ring Shopping Centre was demolished.

Stupidity when the free flowing, lower greenhouse gas emitting, Inner Ring Road was smashed and broken at Masshouse Circus and St Martin's Circus to make for all the traffic lights, one way streets and, thus, extra cocktail of poisonous gases with the unnecessary braking and accelerating of vehicles.  It was done to break the concrete collar round the city centre.  But the collar is now wide roads with traffic stopping and starting at traffic lights, just where people are walking and shopping!

Friday, 25 November 2022

'Forgotten Communities of N Ireland' by Dave Morton

Notes from Wigtown Book Festival event

Quaker from Laggan Valley - Skarvar village.  Port Drumlin country.


Nationalist/Republican/Catholic - the Falls and Springfield Road.

Stormont in east Belfast

N & W Belfast for interface communities  

NI has highest suicide rate in  Europe.

Setting fire to Republican flags

control zone at night when gates are closed

Kingsmill massacre - workmen on the west coast speaking Irish

98 Good Friday Peace Agreement after 36 years of IRA violence.

Omagh horror put peace in people's hearts.

Quaker service to combat violence in a non-judgemental way.

Quakers started late 60s.  Quaker cottage became a family centre and college for cross-community work.  In NW Belfast?

Bombay St ethnically cleansed

Internment for male Catholics at Long Kesh army camp that became HMP 'The Maze'.

Petrified 18 year old soldiers from the other 3 countries..

The Falls area is Catholic, as is Springfield Road.

No job, no money but a role in a paramilitary that still has a grip.

One third of peace walls have been constructed since GF 98.  40 feet concrete wall.  59 peace walls in NI.

Police stations are fortresses.  Vigilante policing is rife.  Paramilitary violence still has a grip.

3,500 killed in the Troubles

4,500 through suicide

Deprived, forgotten communties and divisive, tribal politics.

Don't care a monkeys; no functioning government.  Apathy Rules OK.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

What is net zero?

Kidderminster's slum bus station disgrace!

This time a definite 20th century, tired, uninviting, slum bus shelter

Dear Cllrs Mike and Simon (Rouse and Geraghty)

PHOTO, below

Could Mike Rouse and the relevant officer reply, please with an assurance that something will finally be done about the shocking state of bus provision in Kidderminster?

How can we get modal shift from car to bus with this kind of antiquated, uninviting provision?

Hundreds of millions of pounds in price and pounds in weight of greenhouse gas emissions for trams taking over railways and roads in Brum and the Black Country but nothing for the poor bus passenger who contributes the least in worsening the climate emergency!!

Is this a Victorian horse-drawn omnibus shelter or Victorian coffin rest?

Dear Cllr Mike - no reply from Alan Amos.  Perhaps, you could do so, please along with the appropriate officer.  And Cllr Simon could do with visiting this astonishingly decrepit looking bus station, too - it must be the worst in England!

SEE PHOTO, below

It concerns the grotty, the disgraceful and shoddy looking bus station that looks as though it is something out of Noah's Ark.  Two roof panels are missing to let in the rain.  The drivers have their break/rest by standing at one end, with the waiting passengers standing at the other end!

Read my email, below that got no comment or reply from a single person!

PHOTO, BELOW - taken in Exchange Street, Kidderminster today, in the 21st century.

But, did they have bus shelters in the Victorian age, for this might be one?
Is this where Queen Victoria's coffin rested in 1901?  I didn't know she died in Kiddi.
This particular 19th century model is draughty and cold, without even its Victorian wicker or timber seating and is not inviting to stand in for hours in hope of a Diamond drawing up.  Do you agree?
Seriously, what is this odd structure, please?
If a bus shelter, can the woman in the photo be sure of a bus even stopping if she continues to wait and wait and wait?
This 'shelter' is the first from the bus station for at least the Diamond 192 that my wife and I were on today but it went rushing past, so perhaps it is not a 'live' bus stop, at all.
Should this particular coffin rest or horse-drawn omnibus shelter now be consigned to the Black Country Living Museum, perhaps?

Please reply

The most strange behaviour from the young professionals! And then we ancient elders get blamed for leaving the planet in such a mess for them to inherit! What a cheek!

14 May 2022

12 cycling schemes for £17 m (below) but the UK's major and only 22 Kms, traffic-free mudway, the Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway is not included for upgrading.  This is quite disgraceful and shows, once again the weird and wonderful, indeed the eccentric priorities of the WMCA/TfWM.  The most peculiar priorities and incompetence are seen for over 40 years with highly expensive, grossly extravagant trams put on railway lines instead of trains and, now with £17 m, on top of the cycling £62 m awarded to Brum last decade given, for example, to the A4123 cycle and bus scheme instead of the 22 Kms, traffic-free, urban-rural-urban, Black Country Cycle-Walk Mudway, that still does not even have an NCR number.

Please buck your ideas up!

Not lording it over but simply the PR man!

15 June 2022

Dear Bob

You stopped me when you thought that I was talking about transport on a retrofit Zoom.  Fair enough but this was what I wanted to say and I think it needs to be said as clarification and correction.  There was a discussion about the WMCC and the WMCA that I was responding to.

As you know, the WMCC councillors were elected and it was they who approved the Metro project in 1981.  At one time, if I remember correctly, it was for 200 Kms by the year 2000.  Not the WMCA but Andy Street is elected and it was he who published in Jan 2020 his £15 billion tram scheme of 8 lines and 150 miles.  He was re-elected with that intention in his manifesto.  With both the CC and the CA there has never been a single debate in any council chamber, although I cannot be 100% sure about that in the 1980s but, I very much doubt if there was any vote in the 80s.

Andy's powers, from what I have read, do not include lording it over the seven district council leaders but to be their mouthpiece and representative and public relations man.  Hence, there needs to be a fair process of discussion, then debate, followed by a vote to determine councillors' wishes. 

Tens of millions are now being spent on trams when that money could be used for retrofitting - urgently. Or, to help with fuel/food bills when many are suffering from inflation and the fuel and cost of living crises, especially those on UC.  Therefore, Metro is immoral, socially unjust and is the exact wrong thing to do to build an eco-socialist society!

Transport money is the key to accelerating retrofitting.  And free solar electricity from your roof, not solar farms, must be emphasised because it is so urgent to get electricity without using oil and gas from Russia that is our main weapon to punish them and, to try and reign them in.  Rather than using violence and certainly not to widen this disgraceful war.

One thing leads to another!

Best wishes

The 1977 White House climate memo that should have changed the world

Transport and CO2 from W Mids Climate Coalition

Carbon Dioxide emissions from transport represent the biggest source in the region, and this situation is unsustainable.

Vehicles also produce NOx and particulate matter pollution which create the dirty air that we are familiar with. However, just focusing on cleaning up the air, while clearly important, is insufficient; the CO2 must be removed as well. The dominance of the car economy must end. (It should be noted here that electric vehicles emit particulate matter from tyres and brakes as well as fossil-fuelled vehicles).

Walsall housing energy and transport

Hi Tim 

Thank you for the emails with the info.
Have seen similar  articles.One the problems arise from the high cost of heating low income people would not be able to keep their heating on to keep the damp a way
It recommends opening windows or leave the windows open Heat can go through the open window which adds to the cost also on damp and rainy days moisture can also enter in to rooms thus can be a stalemate 
Regarding HS2 this should be mothballed and the money saved for better local transport eg low cost or free transport or used to help offset fuel cost to the most vulnerable.

Walsall are cutting back on street lighting some street lights have been turned of about 6 lights turned of close to my street and have been told other areas are the same 
Walsall have stated no Christmas lights in the town centre this Christmas.

I agree with  most of your comment regarding the issues you raise on the trains and other transport. Some times I feel we should go backwards but use modern technology 
In the 50s/ 60s and before Walsall had its own goods station goods yard where by goods would be delivered via railway and re loaded onto small 3 wheeled vehicles (lorries)
Who then delivered the local goods to shops and other businesses.
With the increase of online shopping there is an increase  in courier services delivering small packages to individual homes so an increase in small van traffic. 
House building planning is centred around the car not people or public transport.
I"ll get off my soap box now.
All the best

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Will Lichfield help?

Dear Bishop Michael - and copied to Tony and Dean Adrian

Why is all of Lichfield not up in arms up about their wasted, unused mainline railway?

We met yesterday evening in Bishop's House and in Ego Mediterranean.

Does this young man prove the scandal of High Scam 2?  A scam because the frequent flyers are being given a choice of either plane or train, paid for by the rest of us more responsible and caring citizens.

It was wonderful to hear that you, also, are aghast at the construction of High Scam 2 and the wreckage wreaked on our fast disappearing farmland and precious countryside.  However, your MP, Michael Fabricant and all of you in Lichfield must redouble your efforts to please help me with putting passenger trains back on the freight only railway that goes past the National Memorial Arboretum and then onto Walsall and Worcester via this bridge:
One track nicked by the metal thieves! :-

EXPLANATION AND BACKGROUND - questions sent to Transport for West Midlands:
  1. What were the conclusions of the Andy Street, 2021 independent inquiry into Metro operations?
  2. Now that the Dudley Tram will arrive in Dudley town centre, is this the right time to urge TfWM that the promise of reopening the full 120 Kms Black Country Railway has finally arrived and must be worked on?  Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the WMCA has reassured us that "passive provision" for freight and passenger trains to return through the Black Country is being built into the Dudley tram line.
  3. In the light of the multiple crises confronting society, is this the right time to abandon further Metro extensions and to concentrate on rebuilding the foundations of public transport - bus and train - and so freeing up the road space for truly essential business users rather than commuters not needing their cars for their work?
Since the 1990s, under Centro and the Passenger Transport Authority, the promise of reopening the middle section of our railway "of national strategic significance"
has always been dependent on the tramline going on the two nibble sized sections first: "Light rail investment provides the basis for restoring heavy rail services at the appropriate time" (letter from Tom Magrath, Passenger Services Director, Centro, dated 18 September 2000)

Best wishes for anything you can do, please Bishop Michael for, at last, something positive, constructive and helpful to be done!