Weekend Wind Down Walk – 12 May 2017

The Balsall Common and Berkswell Marie Curie Fundraising Group are holding a charity walk this Friday 12 May. The walk begins and ends at the Bear in Berskwell with a choice of start times between 6pm and 7pm. Their volunteers will guide you along the course.

The event will take you through the Berkswell countryside giving you an opportunity to relax ready for the weekend, enjoy the beautiful scenery and good company.  The approximately 2.5mile walk is suitable for all the family with no difficult inclines. Sturdy footwear is recommended with all welcome, even bring the dog along!

The aim is to provide a relaxing way to raise money and awareness for Marie Curie with any donations funding the West Midlands hospice and West Midlands nursing services.
Why not wear something yellow and turn the Berkswell countryside yellow for Marie Curie?

For more information about the walk please contact John Thomas on 07703 394521 or email the organisers.
For information about their events and activities like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/MarieCurieBCB

Racing to the national final

Year 4 pupils at Balsall Common Primary School had a successful day at the schools F1 challenge this week.  Three teams of four took part at Princethorpe School, competing against other local primary schools.

As part of the challenge pupils have to design and build a replica F1 car which is powered by a gas cyclinder along a 100-foot track. The teams also had to source sponsorship for the car, including a very successful Dragons Den pitch at a recent SolihullHour and Best of Solihull event.  They also worked incredibly hard on a presentation for the judges.  The teams are once again supported by Ian Dunning from JLR who gives up his time to share industy insight.

Pupils have been very successful in reaching out to local business for support. Acclaimed Mortgage Consultancy, Solihull College and University Centre, Borroclub, PM Group and Standley & Co Solicitors all attended to support the teams. Other businesses – Wow Signal Communications, TSC Cars, Midshire Business Systems, Sainsburys, Lavender Hall Autos, Ginger Property, Signarama, Sutherpark Groundwork, FLR Flooring, Hogarths Hotel and Solihull Council – have all supported the teams and their participation in the competition.

The teams had a great day, winning best verbal presentation and achieving 2nd place overall were Sonic Speed. This means they will take part in the national final at the Ricoh Arena. Lightning Sparks were also successful and winning the fastest car prize.


Karl Loxley’s Legion fundraiser

Balsall Common’s famous tenor Karl Loxley has announced plans to raise money for the Berkswell & District Royal British Legion with a special show at the venue in April.

The singer shot to fame when starring the BBC Voice UK show, since which time he has starred in a variety of shows whilst recording and publishing various works.

Members of the community are invited to purchase tickets whilst stocks last, all for a wonderful cause.

An Evening with Karl Loxley

Saturday 22nd April 2017

See Karl Loxley plus special guests:

Venue: The Berkswell & District Royal British Legion
Address: 316 Station Road, Balsall Common CV7 7EF
Date: Saturday 22nd April 2017
Tel: 01676 533462
Mobile: 07894 574530
Doors: 7pm
Showtime: 7:30pm

Tickets: on sale at the venue and also via Angela Jaynes Florist, Station Road, Balsall Common.

All proceeds go to the Berkswell & District Royal British Legion

Situations Vacant: Dog Walker required

Balsall Common pet care Company Mogz & Dogz are on the lookout for a dog lover to join their team.

The team at Mogz & Dogz are passionate about offering professional, loving, pet care services for customers who would prefer to be spending more time with their loved ones at home.

Mogz & Dogz is run by former Police officers Mark and Susan Young, who say their ideal candidate will be flexible in their approach to work, excellent with dogs and willing to work as part of a team of genuine animal lovers.

The ideal candidate will be someone that lives locally, has a natural affinity with dogs and is available to work on a daily basis between the hours of 9am and 3pm. This is the perfect role for anyone who loves dogs, fresh air and a daily dose of freedom. The main recruitment restriction to be aware of is that the business is only able to interview applicants aged 25 or above due to the terms and conditions of their business insurance.

Benefits include: 28 days annual holiday; a Company pension; mobile phone and a company van.

Anyone that’s interested in the position is invited to email their credentials to:

mark @ mogzanddogz.co.uk <== handy hint: interested parties should remove the gaps in the email address before sending 🙂

About Mogz & Dogz

Mogz & Dogz is Balsall Common based and run by husband and wife team Mark and Susan Young, both of whom previously served in the Police Force.

Mark served as a Police dog handler where he earned two Police commendations and national acclaim for his work.

Susan’s career proved equally praise-worthy, with a Police commendation of her own for her quality of work.

After leaving their Police days behind them, the obvious choice for animal lovers Mark and Susan was always likely to involve their passion and that’s how Mogz & Dogz was born.

For anyone with any queries before applying for the role contact Mark or Susan about their current work opportunities, call them on either of the following numbers today:

0800 066 5876 or 07791 247 665.

Mogz & Dogz Services

  • Doggy Day Care
  • Cat Boarding
  • Dog Walking
  • Dog Training
  • For information about any of these pet care services call Mogz & Dogz on 0800 066 5876 or 07791 247 665.

    Neighbourhood Development Plan

    Following the decision of Balsall Parish Council to withdraw from an earlier agreement to produce a joint Neighbourhood Development Plan with their neighbours at Berkswell Parish Council, the current Chairman of the original joint Steering Committee has written to the community to clarify what this means and how things currently stand (the content of which is provided further below).

    The decision of Balsall Parish Council has attracted criticism, despite their argument that this will not prevent the individual Councils from working together on important cross-boundary matters. The proliferation of departures and role changes cited by Balsall Parish Council in a Statement read out at January’s Balsall Common Village Residents Association must have caused significant frustration for those trying to move the Plan forward. However, at January’s Balsall Common Village Residents Association meeting, those present voted in favour of representations being made to Balsall Parish Council, requesting they reconsider their decision.

    There will be a Neighbourhood Development Plan presentation at the next Balsall Common Village Residents meeting to be held at 7:30pm on Tuesday 7th March in The Westlake Room to the rear of the Village Hall on Station Road, Balsall Common.

    What is a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)?

    * NDPs came into being thanks to the 2011 Localism Act
    * All NDPs require consultation within the local community and all resulting draft NDPs are subject to independent examination. Successful completion of this process then leads to a public referendum.
    * NDPs approved (within deadline) by their local communities must be taken into consideration by the relevant Local Planning Authority
    * NDPs can also earn local Parish Council’s an entitlement to funds, originating from developers, in the form of Community Infrastructure Levy payments (CILs)

    There is a very good explanation of Neighbourhood Development Plans on the Royal Town Planning Insititute website, including a summary of their purpose, the powers they confer and the process by which they must be adopted:

    What is Neighbourhood Planning?

    Open Letter to Residents of the Parishes of Berkswell and Balsall Common, from the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) Joint Working Party Committee

    Dear Resident,

    The following is a news update following a meeting of the Steering Committee on Tuesday 14th February.

    Balsall Parish Council has terminated the Joint NDP Agreement, making it likely there will be 2 separate Plans. Berkswell Parish Council is seeking some assurances because of the risk of a mismatch between two adjoining Parish NDPs. The current NDP Steering Committee is continuing work on a residents’ questionnaire, which would support both Parish NDPs.

    Yours sincerely,

    The NDP Team

    Note: If you would like to receive regular updates send your request via email to: contactbbndp@gmail.com

    Balsall and Berkswell Neighbourhood Development Plan [NDP]

    Update as of 14th February 2017

    What does that mean?
    Instead of one NDP covering the whole of Balsall and Berkswell Parishes, we are now likely to have two plans, one for each Parish. Balsall Common village itself straddles both Parishes.

    With Balsall Parish intending to establish a NDP for Balsall Parish area Berkswell Parish have indicated that, whilst a Joint NDP is their preferred option, they will not seek de-designation of the current NDP area without some assurances: that the Independent Examiner [a key part of the process to establish and NDP], is likely to find two NDPs acceptable, that there is agreement between the two Parishes as to how cross boundary issues will be handled and a Parish NDP is acceptable to Solihull Council.

    The Joint Balsall and Berkswell NDP Steering Committee has therefore to consider during this period of uncertainty how it can remain effective and contribute to securing the benefits of a NDP for Balsall and Berkswell.

    Is an NDP important?
    Once an NDP is properly established, Solihull Council is obliged to have regard to the views of local residents when considering future plans. Also any developments that do take place will have the potential to benefit Parish Councils as funds, originating from the developers, can be channelled to them as part of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). It’s therefore important for residents to continue to support an NDP for their area, even though it looks likely the two Parish Councils will no longer be producing a joint NDP.

    What next?
    For both Parish Councils to establish their own NDP Solihull Council will have to de-designate the current NDP area. Each Parish Council will then have to re-apply to Solihull Council to start the formal process for separate NDPs. This will all take time. So in the meantime work will go on with some Members of the Steering Group and others, to progress the design and content of a residents questionnaire. Berkswell Parish Council have said this will be of use to them and will support it, though the work will be available to both Parish Councils.

    How will the NDPs be produced?
    Key steps include a resident’s questionnaire to every household seeking views and gathering evidence in order to devise local policies and criteria for the NDP. A similar questionnaire needs to go to businesses in the area to learn their views. A draft NDP is then produced for consultation and after review, the draft NDP is subject to independent examination. If successfully through this stage it is then subject to a local referendum. The decision to support the Plan is based on a straight majority of those voting, with voting restricted to only those living in that Parish. If the referendum does support the Plan then it has to be considered by Solihull Council before its final adoption.

    Will the two plans work together?
    Both Parish Councils have indicated they want to work together as there will be much commonality between the plans. Exactly how this translates into timetables, questionnaire design and content etc is yet to be determined.

    Where are the parish boundaries?
    The parish boundaries in Balsall Common are historical and the boundary between Balsall Parish and Berkswell Parish is roughly the line of Green Lane and Meeting House Lane. It also looks as though it could run through the additional housing development, currently proposed in Solihull’s Draft Local Plan, between Kenilworth Road and Windmill Lane. The entire ‘neighbourhood’ however, is a large area stretching from Temple Balsall in the West; Meriden in the North and Burton Green to the South. A map showing the extent of both parishes is appended.

    What’s the difference between the Solihull Draft Local Plan and an NDP?

    Solihull’s Local Plan will, when finally adopted, set out the number and location of new housing, amongst other things. Currently there are something like 1150 new homes planned for Balsall Common during the next 5 to 10 years. An NDP could help influence more detailed matters: the type of homes, the layout, access arrangements and related infrastructure issues around schools, shops, community facilities, roads.

    What’s the likely timeframe for an NDP?
    There is some guesswork here at this time and there are specified minimum consultation periods but it is likely to be in the order of 12-18 months.

    Where can I get more information?

    How do I keep up to date? No doubt both Parish Councils will update their own website [balsallparishcouncil.org, berkswell.org/council] on regular basis. In addition other local communications such as the Balsall Common Village Residents’ Association [BCVRA] Communicator, Berkswell Society newsletter, The Bugle will all carry information on relevant developments. If you wish to be added to the BCVRA Communicator Newsletter circulation list, please email feedback@balsallcommonresidents.org. For the Berkswell Society, please sign up on http://eepurl.com/hplOA.

    What happens to this current NDP email group?
    Members of the current NDP Steering Group are looking at whether, subject to any data protection rules, this email group also remains a method of communication. You can unsubscribe at anytime.

    What happens to Members of the Steering Committee?
    Most if not all of the Steering Committee [including representatives from BCVRA, Berkswell Society, local schools and potentially others] see the benefit of cross parish partnership working and, if two NDPs are to be produced, they are prepared to offer their support to both Parish Councils in preparing their own NDPs. It is important to remember that this is your NDP, organised formally through your Parish Council, your views are vitally important and need to be expressed if an NDP is to be ratified.

    What happens to data already collected?
    All existing data from focus groups, community evens, public meetings will be available to both Parish Councils – and we are very grateful to all those local residents who have contributed and participated.

    Where do I send feedback now?
    For the time being we would suggest you send any feedback either to your Parish Council and or the Balsall Common Village Residents Association, [feedback@balsallcommonresidents.org], even if you live in Berkswell village or the rural part of either parish.

    Malcolm Hickin
    Chairman, 14/2/17