November Committe Meeting

Report on the Green Group Meeting,
Hill Allotments Social Club,
21 November 2018 7-30 pm

A very high number of items on the agenda arose under Matters Arising due to sheer continuity of activities:

Tim Weller’s transport focus had been updated by Sutton Greens and he has supplied the group with certain background information & enrolled on the PushBikes Day on cycles in transport planning about which SC Greens have circularised SC Councillors.

W. Mids. Mayor’s talk on regional transport at SC Rugby Club:
It appears that passenger services on the line though SC Park will remain under review for up to 20 years. The Water Orton-Castle Vale corridor is the top financial priority. The acceptance that connections to Peddimore and Langley are “desirable” & that SC will have the advantage of the HS2 Hub and ‘sprint’ buses in no way compensates for nor mitigates the plight of Langley residents, trapped in a corner with only two minor-road access points to elsewhere. This point had been made forcefully by Ben Auton at the October Walmley Residents’ Meeting.
It was considered that proposals for road connections to developments overall would increase congestion.
As to special provision for ‘sprint’ buses on main stretches of dual carriageway & for cycleways, this could pose a threat to trees on existing central reservations.
For many sections, Ben cited the wisdom of the Poynton system of ‘shared use’ near Stockport.
What was the reason for ending ‘sprint’ bus services to Castle Vale?                 Answers please using the Comments facility at the bottom of this post. .

It was agreed that the idea of producing a ‘Sutton Greens’ view of transport be adopted.  In that connection a cycle map showing safe routes and ‘pinch points’ is to be made.
It was noted that B’ham CC have a cycle map showing SUSTRANS routes.
A first step could be to add cycle routes & tow paths to the hard copy map of water courses, nature corridors & green spaces already produced by SC green Group.

PushBikes Course for Councillors: All Sutton members subscribed to the Group’s information distribution were given details of the course available and of how to send the information to the City Councillor for their own ward. Response unknown.

Six-school Academy: Nothing further has been seen in the local press since 26th October. The Group has had advice from Margaret Okole (B’ham Green Party) and has initiated enquiries to sound out the stance of other local groups on this.
Agreed that All Councillors be contacted.

Absentee Town Councillors: [See item in Oct’ Newsletter] Agreed that the Group first verify the attendance of the 2 councillors prior to writing to the Town Council.

‘We understand that ‘Independents for Sutton’ are now “Sutton Residents Party”.

Climate Action Now West Midlands:[CANWM] AGM 14 Nov: – CAN is a world-wide movement. No information yet received. Online contact has been made.
[ Subsequent to the meeting: News is that on 1st December CAN are holding a national event in front of the Polish Embassy in London to highlight and support the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 24 at Katowice in Poland.

Litter Pick: The optimal calendar point for working members to participate in the group’s 2019 Litter Blitz and Recycle Frenzy – when weather and daylight hours are on their side – will be March. Ben can access equipment & recommended canal tow paths as an initial choice. In the meantime, ‘Womble Where You Are’ – whatever the weather – will continue despite frostbite.

Finance Cuts to BCC, 4.99% tax hike: It was stated that the proposed Council Tax increase would be insufficient to offset the effects of central government cuts to B’ham CC. As presented in the press, it was unclear what the base line for the percentages was. Peter agreed to investigate that.
All agreed that the central government measures over this, as over incentives to convert local authority schools to academies, are designed to weaken democratic control and destroy social fabric. Further, it was agreed that sensible tax levels would be accepted in order to pay for services.

Crowdfunded door-to-door Leaflet/Pamphlet in SC: In view of the possibilities shown by sections of the SC Group Newsletter for provocative, editorial content and favourable reactions to quotes from it by allied souls, David Ratcliff proposed that a public version of the November members’ Newsletter be piloted for trial door-to-door distribution to households shown to have voted in the last elections. Also, that in a subsequent month, delivery be rolled out further. A distinct format, possibly single vertical fold A4 with clear contact details.

EcoSutton Report: Steve Lyne unable to report as he was at a conference in London. We shared publicity on their page for the Quakers’ Climate Change meeting with Andrew Mitchell held on 22 November at the Friends Meeting House, SC. [ See Local Events for a summary]

Links & shared actions with Allied Groups:
Amnesty International UK’s environmental campaigning proposal has been appraised by the SC Group and a local submission drafted for dispatch. Greens will be interested to learn the final A.I. final decision.
[ https://www.amnesty.org.uk/groups/sutton-coldfield ]

The Social Justice Group – has written to MPs about Asylum Seekers work rights and the wealth creation loss as a result of withholding those rights. Our Green group  received a reply from Andrew Mitchell indicating that no UK change in this is likely. Green Party official policy on this issue will be checked for any updating.
The Social Justice Group has written also to local councillors to raise the matter of the City’s progress towards taking in its agreed number of special refugees under the UK government’s ‘Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme’.
Since Amnesty International UK supports the VPRS our local A.I. group has also contacted councillors.
So far, a Green Party supporter in the Roughley ward has received a very prompt reply and follow-up information showing very positive action by B’ham City Council from Cllr. Ewan Mackey (Con. Roughely Ward).

Sutton Green group volunteers are giving help to  Castle Bromwich councillor in the delivery of her newsletter:
[Other local members also in need of increasing their ‘step count’ average for health reasons may simply contact us.]

SC Greens Website, Facebook, Newsletter: The Website seems more easily accessible now and Peter is to follow up ways of increasing it showing up in searches. Content continues to grow and to be updated.
Local events and global & national campaign petitions continue to be posted on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Sutton-Coldfield-Greens-181257392319336/

Correspondence: Ben has written to Andrew Mitchell MP urging the government to allow us, the citizen electorate, a second vote on Brexit. The response received coincides with the view expressed by Andrew Mitchell at the local Climate Change Meeting,  namely that were the terms not to be accepted in parliament and other options far from unanimous, the putting of an option to the electorate could be on the cards. A number of Green Party members attended and spoke.

AOB: David will report back on specific matters in the Minutes of the Sutton Coldfield Town Council [SC TC] .

Date of Next Meeting: Owing to the current high level of matters to be pursued and the approach of “the Silly Season”, it was agreed that the next meeting should be held on January 9, 2019 at the Hill Allotments Social Club, off Dugdale Crescent, Sutton Coldfield B75. In the meantime:-

Seasonal Greetings !

 

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