Sutton Coldfield Climate Protest

for Youth September 20th.

This very successful  protest was held in Vesey Gardens, Trinity Church, up the hill from the Gracechurch shopping centre from 4 pm to 6 pm on Friday 20th September.
David Ratcliff reports that there was a good turnout – around 100  – during which young people addressed the group.  As well as our Green party representatives, Eco Sutton members and some Lib Dems. and Labour supporters also attended.

Latest Sutton Greens Litter Pick

Another very successful Litter Pick! That’s the third now.  Congratulations to Linda, Colin Dave and Ben for their hard work this past Sunday September 15th in the Minworth area, and to Dave for this excellent pic.
More are planned.  Come and help!

Witton Lakes Hydro project.

Exciting news!          From Roger Low

In May, Witton Lodge Community Association, begins building its Ecohub community centre; this is a redevelopment of the old Park Rangers cottage in Witton Lakes Park, which is being converted into meeting rooms, a café and environmental teaching centre.

As part of this, Ecosutton was asked to assist on the planning and design for providing the centre with renewable energy, which could also contribute to the teaching ethos.

To this end, we came up with the idea of using the weir on the lake to provide hydro-electricity to the centre, using a pico-hydro scale plant (below 10 kilowatt); and of using a Water Source Heat Pump, from the lake to provide carbon free heating as well; the added benefit is that the hydro plant provides the electricity for the heat pump, so it is entirely a carbon free energy system for the centre.

This project will also become an exemplar design to demonstrate that even at low generation levels, it makes sense to use renewable energy. If anyone wants to ask about this project visit our Ecosutton page and use its site address.

Sutton Coldfield Natural History Society

Thu, 14 Feb 2019
“Devil’s Darning Needle – An Introduction to Dragonflies” by Kevin Reynolds
(No outdoor meeting in February.)
Thu, 14 Mar 2019
“Birds – Now and Then” by Martin Fisher
Sat, 16 Mar 2019
Visit to the Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve. Meet at 2pm in the RSPB car park – go past the car park for the Middleton Hall craft centre (OS map ref: SP194983). Leader: Lilian Holmes.
Thu, 21 Mar 2019
6 pm for 6:30 pm. Annual Dinner at the Country Kitchen, Moor Hall Hotel (in Moor Hall Drive, off Little Sutton Lane or Weeford Road, Sutton Coldfield). Cost per head £15. Members are welcome to bring a guest. Bookings to Kate Ashcroft at the February meeting or as soon as possible afterwards, please.
Thu, 11 Apr 2019
“Wildlife of the Picos de Europa” by Dave Hollis
Sun, 14 Apr 2019
Visit to Moseley Bog and Joy’s Wood. Park in the car park off Windermere Road (OS map ref: SP09008231). Recommended route: A453 (Alcester Road), B4217 (Wake Green Road), Yardley Wood Road, Windermere Road. Meet at 2pm. Leader: Peter Coxhead.
Thu, 9 May 2019
“An Adventure in Madagascar – from Chameleons to Lemurs” by Jan Clemons
Sat, 11 May 2019
Visit to Elford Hall Garden, Elford, B79 9BZ. Elford is left off the A513 north from Tamworth. Meet at 2pm. (OS map ref: SK183106) Leader: Mich Moore.
Tue, 11 Jun 2019
Evening meeting – walk in the New Hall Valley. Further details to follow. Meet at 7pm. Leader: Victor Parslow.
Sat, 13 Jul 2019
Visit to the River Arrow Local Nature Reserve. The entrance is in Ragley Mill Lane, Alcester (OS map ref: SP085579, postcode B49 5DU); parking is limited, but there is more in Eclipse Rd on the opposite side of the Birmingham Road. Follow the A435 to Alcester; at the roundabout with the B4089 and B4090, take the minor Birmingham Road. Meet at 11 am. Leaders: Victor and Rosemary Parslow.
Visitors are welcome at any meeting, indoors or out. A nominal charge of £2.50 is made for an indoor meeting.

Four Oaks Neighbourhood Forum

A Meeting of the forum was held on October 11th to inform us on developments in local rail services.

Principal speakers were Malcolm Holmes, executive director  of West Midlands Rail
and Richard Brooks, Director of West Midland Trains Customer Services.
Attended by approximately 25 residents/interested parties.

The Sutton Park rail line for passenger traffic:-
Not expected to be opened for 20 years. Line capacity at Water Orton is the primary cause for line not opening earlier.
One suggestion (from T. Whitehead of  Ecosutton) was that rail access and parking from the Walmley and Langley housing development should be included at an early planning stage. M. Holmes noted this proposal. Four Oaks station has ‘disabled’ parking but also needs a passenger lift across the platforms.

Use of Walsall line to Camphill station as transfer enroute point for traffic through Birmingham.

Sutton bus train transport interchange.
This is currently Brassington avenue or opposite The Station pub.  CHAIRMAN noted that a neighbourhood plan would be highly beneficial in deciding location.

Money is available for HS2 project to enable simpler access for all areas within 45 minutes of Terminal.

Connectivity and Sprint bus system for Langley.
Considerable emphasis to be laid on the system, priority through pinch points, improved shelters and time displays. Consultation has been extended but is closing soon.
Comment from the floor was that the Sprint system had been tried in Castle Vale and abandoned within two years. It was suggested that rail transport would be greener than sprint.  Chairman agreed.

Parking /Access.
Four Oaks station is popular because trains run every 10 minutes and within the cheaper fare zone.
A suggestion from the floor that a Lichfield Parkway station be created, was noted. It would relieve congestion at the Four Oaks carpark.
No extension of parking in Sutton Area is planned, because too little space is available around the stations.
Noted that there are 39000 spaces in West Mids used by a significant portion of cars from homes within 1 mile of stations. Hope to alter habit towards cycling and walking.

West Midlands travel.
Now under single regional control which should enable coordinated bus -rail timetabling. greater capacity and later running.
The population is expected to expand by the same amount as Liverpool (550,000)

Train timetabling.
Changes to timetabling in May 2019, includes late evening and weekend timetable.

Rail Franchise change to West Midlands Trains.
Investment in new trains has gone ahead and a more unified brand is proposed. Looking to increase local participation with stations, involving feedback and creation of services such as ‘corner’ shops..

West Midlands Area Priority.
HS2 and the Commonwealth Games are top priorities for investment and  funding.

This was an informative and encouraging meeting with some good points made both from the floor and from the chair.
D. Ratcliff  and T. Whithead.

Langley Sustainable Urban Extension

Supplementary Planning Documents are now available for viewing here:-


The Birmingham Development Plan was adopted by the City Council in January 2017, and is part of the city’s statutory planning framework, guiding decisions on development and regeneration activity. The plan allocated land at Langley for a Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) of approximately 6,000 homes, and 71 hectares of land for employment development at Peddimore. Both of these sites make important contributions towards meeting the city’s overall housing and employment needs to 2031.

A series of drop-in sessions are being currently being held around the Walmley, Langley, Minworth area.  At each you can ask questions and offer opinions.  Your chance to offer comments on the plan closes on Oct 22, 2018 and the last local meeting is to be held at  Falcon Lodge Community Centre, Newdigate Road, Sutton Coldfield, B75 7LB
From 16 Oct 2018 at 14:00 to 16 Oct 2018 at 17:00

Walmley’s Green Party Candidate, Ben Auton,  has already offered his views in a letter printed in the Sutton Observer.
(Letter to follow)

The Natural History Society

The Natural History Society Autumn Season starts Thursday 13th September, 7-30 pm at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. “Introduction to Spiders”.

We are always actively looking for advice & assistance so that Suttonians can create an enriched habitat for wildlife with though-corridors crucial to ensuring the widest, healthy gene pool. Therefore, before Autumn comes, make gaps in your fences to open your garden to the survival of species. A key speaker at the Natural History Society in Sutton last April stated: “The total area of all our gardens together in this country exceeds that of our Nature Reserves.”

We are pleased to see the ‘Natural History Society’ lectures reported on the Club’s Page of the Sutton Observer. Given that one Green Group member attending a recent Nat’ Hist’ Soc’ talk came away with four pages of notes, it is little short of a miracle that Lilian Holmes their press person, manages to condense her reports to fit the slot. For a link to the Society and its Autumn Programme,  click here.


Remember, click this image to enlarge it.