Homes bulldozer fears over tube-style transport plan across Birmingham

A Boldmere-based family say they fear they will be forced to sell their home if Mayor Andy Street’s expansive transport plans go ahead. Mum-of-two Rebecca Chandler, of Jockey Road in Boldmere, says she first found out about the proposals from watching the news, adding that neither she nor her neighbours had been consulted prior to the announcement. Under the Mayor’s GBP15 billion proposals 150 miles of new metro and railway lines could be opened by 2040, with eight new Metro lines and 21 new rail stations opened across the West Midlands.

Rebecca Chandler, who worries she could lose her home if Andy Street’s transport plans go ahead

One of the proposed lines, which would run from Sutton Coldfield to Solihull via the city centre and Boldmere, is the Lee Woods line, marked by a black route on the map.

And Rebecca says that, after looking through the plans, she fears her house is right along the proposed line. “The first I saw of it was on the BBC news, and then I went online to look at it in more details,” she said. “To find a plan that appears to go past your house for a major piece of transport infrastructure, without any community level consultation, is quite disappointing.

Homes bulldozer fears over tube-style transport plan across BirminghamAndy Street has detailed his ambition to re-open the Sutton Park railway line and introduce eight new metro lines in the next 20 years – with two serving Sutton Coldfield

“It sounds like a decision’s been made and then there’s been no engagement with the communities that might be affected. I mean looking at that plan, if you were looking to buy a house in the area, or we we were ever to sell, it could potentially blight any future sales, because people might be concerned about what might happen in the future.

“It looks like it’s terminating at the confluence between Jockey Road and Birmingham Road. I actually live on Jockey Road – it’s wide enough for two-way road traffic, but having seen the work required for the tramline through the city centre, I’m thinking that that’s quite a lot of land to take. And you’d either have to close off the road or widen it.

Homes bulldozer fears over tube-style transport plan across BirminghamJockey Road in Boldmere.

“I’m totally for improvements in public transport, but I do feel before making an announcement of this scale, that some sort of community engagement through local councillors or with local residents directly would be really helpful. 

“Boldmere’s an amazing community to be a part of, it’s really friendly, very welcoming, excellent city councillors, and a really strong local community. And Andy Street could have easily done some engagement with us. So it’s just disappointing that, with all the opportunities through online, Sutton town council, etc, that there’s been no opportunity to say ‘how would you feel about a mass transit route?’

“The other thing to say is Boldmere’s also a really big family area. Lots of young families, and we were quite looking forward to the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on the local road to protect children. “But obviously a rapid transport hub would be quite quick, and you’ve got to think about what impact that would have on the safety of children in the local area.

We were hoping to encourage less cars and slower speed limits. This has been announced with no information for local communities, no information for local residents, and we’re wondering what it could mean for us and if there’s any opportunity to have a meaningful debate.

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“One of the things I was talking about with some of my friends on the road was that we’re not going to be the only community affected by this announcement. We’re considering developing a petition, to try and force them to have some meaningful consultation with us before the plans are developed any further.

Because nobody knows what’s needed in a community better than the community itself. “It just feels like lines being drawn on a plan without any thought for us. And we’re going to be the most impacted during the construction.

“We just want him to tell us what his plans are. These are our homes.” A spokesperson for the mayor said: “The lines illustrated on the map unveiled this week show the main connections between town and city centres across the West Midlands, as part of a 20-year vision, and do not reflect specific roads.

“Exact routes will be subject to detailed design and public consultation by Transport for the West Midlands and Local Authorities.”

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