COUNCILLORS and residents of Acocks Green have voiced their concern over plans to split the centre of the village into individual council wards.
The Boundary Commission’s proposed changes to Birmingham ward boundaries would see a key part of Acocks Green move into a new ward to be called ‘Yardley West’.
The change would see the boundary shift from the canal bridge on Yardley Road to the Chiltern railway line – meaning key places of interest including the Baptist Church, police station and the old fire station will become part of the proposed Yardley West council ward should plans go ahead.
Furthermore, Acocks Green residents would no longer be able to discuss issues with their current councillors at ward meetings.
Currently, all three local Acocks Green councillors – John O’Shea and Stewart Stacey, Labour, and Roger Harmer, Lib-Dem – are all supporting the protest.
In a cross-party political statement, all three Acocks Green councillors said: “When creating the two-member ward, we knew part of the Acocks Green Ward would be lost – alternative ways of doing this were put forward by the community.
“Unfortunately the Boundary Commission have come up with a proposal, albeit for a two-Member Ward as requested, that excludes 4000 voters who identify strongly with our “village”.
“We shall be working with neighbouring areas to draw up further options to put to the Commission that more accurately reflect natural local communities.”
Further anger has been voiced by Julia Larden – chair of the Acocks Green focus group who successfully campaigned against a £26million plan by Birmingham City Council to improve the number 11 bus outer circle route.
The group, which formed in July 2004, gained over 1,000 petition signatures to save the green 12 years ago when Birmingham City Council planned to take the green away.
Now, Ms Larden and her fellow group members face another problematic issue.
Ms Larden told The Observer that she is concerned that should the ward split, it will become harder to campaign against future issues and that ‘Yardley West’ would have no say in what happens to the green at all.
Ms Larden added: “It is clear that these faceless bureaucrats in London have no understanding of how Birmingham works.
“We are a community of urban villages.
“To break up our village and make it harder for us to work together to protect it is insensitive and stupid beyond belief.”
David Treadwell, chair of Acocks Green neighbourhood forum added: “These actions are most arbitrary, which are only in the interests of the administrators.
“Have the Boundary Commission considered the effects that this will have on local persons who may be deprived of their long held associations with a particular place.”
The Boundary Commission is consulting over its draft plans for Acocks Green until Monday (February 8).