A town centre master plan taking Tamworth forward for the next 10 years, the creation of more disabled parking spaces and working closely with local businesses to open up their toilet facilities to the public were just some of the commitments made by Tamworth Borough Council Leader, Cllr Danny Cook, at last week’s Tamworth Listens Question Time event.
Almost 100 people attended the event at Tamworth Assembly Rooms last Wednesday, to put their questions to a panel of town leaders, on the themes of regeneration & growth, safer communities and healthier communities.
The panel was made up of: Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Cook; Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis; Staffordshire County Councillor Ben Adams and Chair of the NHS South East Staffs & Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr John James. The two-hour debate was chaired by Mike Thomas of TCR FM, the local radio station for Tamworth.
Audience members had submitted 17 questions in advance of the event and were also able to ask question from the floor.
Among the hot topics for discussion were: town centre regeneration, town centre toilet facilities, disabled parking provision, off-street parking enforcement, balcony repairs at the high-rise flats, the West Midlands Combined Authority, policing in Tamworth, mental health discrimination, the future of the Sir Robert Peel Hospital and how Tamworth plans to ensure that the Syrian refugee families who will be housed in the borough are integrated into the community.
Most of the questions put were answered on the night, but panel members also took some issues away with them for follow-up. Cllr Cook took away questions on town centre toilet facilities, repair works to balconies at high-rise flats, parking enforcement at the flats and disabled parking in the town centre and can now share the following feedback:
- The Council will look to work with town centre businesses to encourage them to make their toilets available to members of the public, and to place signs in their windows encouraging visitors to come in and use the facilities
- Structural surveys of the balconies at the high-rise flats are due to start on November 30 and should be completed by December 4. A letter will be delivered to all residents confirming the dates for the work to be undertaken. Based on the information provided by the surveys, the Council will assess what remedial works will be required. Residents will be informed of the proposed works, including timescales for completion. In the meantime, the Council will continue to regularly check the scaffolding to ensure the continued safety of residents
- Parking enforcement on all the parking bays at the high-rise flats has been carried out by Tamworth Borough Council Community Wardens since April 2015 as they are included in the off-street parking orders (with the double yellow line enforcement – on-street – now done by Staffordshire County Council officers). Penalties are issued by officers if they consider parking across the lines will impede other motorists and makes using another bay impossible. A photograph is always taken of the alleged contravention at the time. If the motorists feel that the fine has been issued incorrectly they can appeal immediately, with full details on the rear of the ticket. Tickets are only issued if the wardens feel there is a contravention. More information on this can been seen on the Council’s website at www.tamworth.gov.uk/parking-useful-links
- Eight Blue Badge disabled parking spaces will be lost at the side of Tamworth Assembly Rooms when the Creative Quarter works start. A plan is currently being prepared which will include the provision of more disabled parking spaces in locations throughout the town centre, to ensure there is more than adequate provision. Blue Badge holders are also reminded that they can park in any council car park, in any space, completely free of charge
- A tree which was blocking the light from a resident’s flat at Ankermoor Court in Bolehall is to be cut down
Cllr Cook said, “For the last three years we have conducted the Question Time-style event in Tamworth Assembly Rooms to ensure that as many people as possible are able to attend and put questions and feedback to a panel of representatives from local public services. I think that this year was as engaging and positive as previous years, with a good turn-out and some good questions put to the panel.
“Public services are going through a revolution at present as national spending continues to be under review to ensure that we stay within our means. This makes the Tamworth Listens events more important than ever as it gives our communities an opportunity to put their thoughts across about changes to the public services they own.
“I thought this year’s event raised some good debate and gave all the panellists food for thought as we shape public services for the next decade to sustain our town. I would most like to thank those who attended and those who submitted questions – your feedback is important.”