Birmingham, B29

Friday, 30 January 2009

Going to party like it's B29?

posted by pindec
Randomly met a resident of Second Avenue yesterday, and on chatting about the upsides of living in B29, he mentioned that his street has an annual street party.

I live just round the corner, and I've never stumbled across the street party - usually in late June (my invite must have been lost in the post) ... but it made me realise that (a) there aren't many places in B29 for casually meeting other B29-ers, especially since the mac is shut (other than Flood Meetings?); and (b) a large-scale street party (i.e. a fête) would be awesome, despite growing up in deepest darkest Sussex and vowing never to having anything to do with countryside-type things again.

Anyone up for a B29 village fête? We could simply congregate in Selly Hill Park with hats (for wearing), wellies (for wanging or wearing, depending on the weather) and strawberries (ditto). Put "late June" in the diary.

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Monday, 19 January 2009

where post please?

posted by pindec
crunchy old blue letterbox
I've lived in B29 for 8 years, but I still wasn't sure I was using the nearest postbox ... until I came across a handy site that maps them all - from a nice man affiliated with the lovely bunnies. thanks!

Wonder if mysociety can fix the bizarre practice of the postie having to bring large things round to your house without being able to check first that someone's in ...

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Latest flood missive from BCC

posted by pindec
Another month, another City Council missive about the floods back in September 08 ... This time it's to feedback about the (paper) questionnaires they sent round and to let everyone know they are Doing Stuff.

Interestingly, they are also asking if it's OK if they share the result of their investigation into the causes of the flood with the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water ... this seems to (a) be a no-brainer and (b) imply that the various agencies still can't work together - at the community meeting the Council organised shortly after the floods, it was clear that the agencies didn't really have a model for communicating, and there was a certain amount of shifting responsibility round on each other.

If your house is filling up with sewage water, you don't really care which agency has responsibility. It transpired that Severn Trent didn't even realise the flooding was contaminated with sewage until the community meeting - and again it doesn't take a genius to realise that if you have a holding tank of sewage under Dog Poo Lane, and there's a massive flood on the lane, there might be some kind of unpleasant leakage going on.

Nevertheless, we now have a useful list of numbers (including out of hours) for BCC flooding - though it's still split between "blocked highway drainage flooding" and "river flooding", plus EA's floodline, Severn Trent and Flood Forum - which is still a lot of numbers to choose from if you're not entirely sure where the water's coming from.

In September, Bournbrook burst its banks because it couldn't fit under the road at Pebble Mill, and submerged Sir John's, 4th and 3rd Avenues - does that count as river flooding or poor drainage or Severn Trent or EA's problem? EA says it doesn't deal with surface flooding (and had no flood alerts up about B29 at the time) - and the Council don't seem to have plans in place to deal with incidents where the Bournbrook is too fat to fit under the road.

Still, this incident has incited the most contact we've ever had from any local governmental type agency, other than the time the Lib Dems came round to see if we wanted anything ... and of course the flood of semi-interested activists at local election time. Though I still reckon we've had the Jehovah's Witnesses round more often than any political bunnies - and they even claimed it was nice talking to me last time after I (politely) declined The Watchtower on account of being a committed atheist.

FYI the flooding contact details in full:
BCC Highways (blocked drainage) 303 6644
BCC river flooding: 303 7235
Out of hours for both: 303 4149

EA floodline: 0845 988 1188
Severn Trent: 0800 783 4444
Flood Forum: 01299 403055

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