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Edgbaston District Executive Member's Welcome

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Cllr Bruce Lines

Councillor Bruce Lines writes:

I am very pleased to take up the challenge as Executive Member of Edgbaston District and look forward to leading the delivery of local services even though there have been some recent difficult times and there are inevitably more challenges ahead as all local authorities look to progress, while reducing costs, making required savings and working hard to provide value for money.

However, I am pleased to let you know that we have some real ‘good news’ stories, some of the following are just a few:

There is a to be a new retirement village in Harborne; opening in Spring 2014, the £40m Village will provide 240 affordable homes for purchase and rent for more than 350 Birmingham residents who are over the age of 55. 18 health and leisure facilities will form the Village’s Centre and will be open to over 400 residents and the wider community. A team of 30 staff will provide hospitality services and help support residents with care needs, including those with dementia with. Over 1,000 households already registered their interest in the Village, the third of at least five City Villages planned as part of a £200m development programme between The ExtraCare Charitable Trust and Birmingham City Council. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has also contributed £1m to the Village’s development.

The District has also seen a number of Building Schools for the Future projects being developed to improve our local school. The Shenley Academy project is underway with the total rebuild of the site with an investment of £22m. George Dixon International has seen £12m worth of investment in sports facilities and refurbishment works on site and the onsite primary school has had a £6.5m investment in a new build. Other schools have also benefited significantly such as Harborne Academy, Four Dwellings High and Four Dwellings Primary schools.

The development of Harborne Pool project has been the long term aim for the District and has now been achieved. The £12m project which came in under budget and completed before time has seen the first local authority pool built in over 20 years. The facility will be the first in the city to be managed under a private leisure operator. With the opening of the site in the New Year this will provide much needed leisure facilities for future generations to enjoy.

There are also other exciting future plans such as the development of a new Asda store in Barnes Hill, Bartley Green which will bring a number of jobs for local people. Building continues on the Ley Hill estate with Phase 4 of the project; there are also ongoing housing developments in Lye Avenue, Moors Lane and Cromwell Lane with these projects providing much needed housing – for rent, sale and shared ownership. There is also the exciting development of the building of 12 properties for the Alderson Trust which will provide homes for wounded and disabled ex-servicemen – the first development of this kind in the country.

The challenges we face here in Edgbaston have not gone away and in recent months we have lost key senior leaders of the Edgbaston team. However, it is absolutely clear to me that our major focus must remain with our directly managed services and to ensure that we continue to operate to the highest level of customer service possible. We will continue to strive to provide important and necessary services to our constituents and service users who depend on us for support and delivery.

Our priorities will be to continue to deliver high quality services and will focus primarily on direct service delivery, appropriate support of the local governance and Committee’s process and supporting the roll out of the Future operating Models for our directly managed services; in doing this we will retain a close focus and management on the District budget process whilst tasked with making the required savings targets corporately allocated to us.

Although it will not be easy, we are determined to drive forward improvements required in the Edgbaston area while protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities. My focus for this next year will also be on ensuring we continue and always seek to improve our efforts to make a difference and achieve our goals, in order that we add value to and help to improve, local opportunities for both local people as well as those visiting our District.

Councillor Bruce Lines
Executive Member for Edgbaston District
Birmingham City Council