Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in February 2012

1. A meeting was expected shortly in which Kimberley Developments will explain to the Society’s Planning committee representatives what steps it is taking in response to the objections raised by the Society to its latest planning application for a Waitrose store

2. Yorkshire Tea was reported to have made a generous donation of teabags and decorative paraphernalia for use in the Village Tea Party to be held in celebration of the Society’s Golden Jubilee on 5th May.

3. Any Questions? – This event has been oversubscribed, the name of the fourth panellist has yet to be announced. All arrangements with Arden Academy are now in hand for this prestigious event.

4. AGM – Gary Masters announced that he will be retiring at this AGM and therefore there will be a further vacancy for a Trustee Director. The name of a possible new nominee was discussed. It was agreed to continue with previous practice and have a tea/coffee break after the formal business.

5. The two councillors present provided updates on the Solihull Local Plan (the final version to be submitted for approval by the Secretary of State is out for discussion – the Society will be making a submission on the intended advancing of plans to build housing in Four Ashes, Hampton Road and Grove Road); the removal of protection of the Relief Road Line (aka the by-pass land) [*see further detail below]; the Royal British Legion building will be used again for a polling station instead of Arden School; an area of the Borough (not Knowle) will try reducing street lighting hours on an experimental basis; the Conservation Advisory Committee (CAC) will be brought out of mothballs for consideration of the Kimberley/Waitrose planning application – SMBC decision on this application is expected in late March; a free parking period in Borough car parks will continue – the hours are subject to further discussion; Tilehouse Green Lane is due to be resurfaced in the Spring.

6. No 8 Wilsons Road (the last one in residential use in that block) has been approved for conversion to office use.

7. Copies of a report on an aircraft noise monitoring exercise in Knowle were circulated; the Society is pressing for further clarification on the data about flights made at the extreme edge of the allowed corridor where these pass closest to Knowle.

8. Planting of a tree, possibly in Jobs Close (Knowle) Park in commemoration of the Society’s Jubilee was discussed. Details of the Streamside Trust (land by Wychwood Avenue) were explained by one of the local councillors and the Society expressed its continued interest in being able to contribute to the future trusteeship/management of that land.

9, A very successful guided tour of Knowle for a local cub pack was reported. It was recognised that this sort of activity was important if youngsters were to be encouraged to take a future interest in civic matters; the Society being keen to develop a youth interest within its structure.

10. A new committee of the Trustee board was under consideration that would combine the current one-man-bands of publicity, membership, newsletter, distribution and the website.

11. A member had expressed an interest in moving forward the Knowle Green Community Project (the old toilet block) and the Society would be meeting with him to explore his interest.

[* Reasons given for removal of protection on Relief Road Line were: a) The Highways Agency says that it is no longer needed as the M40/M42 have proved to be effective in carrying traffic away from Knowle, b) a by-pass might prevent people from coming into Knowle to shop, c) the route would cut right between residential areas and cut them off from the village centre and d) a by-pass wouldn’t actually be put on that line today anyway.]

Matters discussed by the Trustee Directors in January 2012

1. No further developments were reported in the Kimberley/Waitrose planning application which is expected to be heard by Solihull Council in February. In the meantime the Society will be meeting with the Council to discuss Conservation Area concerns in respect of the application.

2. Arrangements were tabled for the four events celebrating the Society’s Jubilee year. It was agreed in particular that the ‘Tea Party’ with birthday cake to be held in the Village Hall would be thrown open to the whole community, whether members of the Society or not. It was noted that the Any Question? broadcast was likely to be over-subscribed.

3. It was agreed to continue exploring the possibility of a full-colour newsletter – perhaps using a design and print service, though there were reservations about taking that route. The change could be made coincident with appointing a new editor, for which volunteers would be sought.

4. It was agreed to form a new committee (possibly to be named ‘Membership Services’) which would pull together the five member-related activities of Membership, Newsletter, Distribution, Website and Publicity. The need for greater coordination of these activities was recognised as the Society continues to respond to changes in communication and technology.

5. Although the Society has adequate funds at present it is recognised that is growing role in community events (such as the Christmas lights) and developments in the newsletter may cause regular expenditure to exceed income and that the subscriptions which have remained unchanged for many years, could require review.

6. Knowle Green Community Project – It was reported that there was possible private interest being expressed in developing this block. The Society would look further into this report but also noted that the block was actually owned by the Council.

7. Diana Holl-Allen representing the Knowle Councillors assured the meeting that the Local Development Framework would be seeking a lot of input from the community; she also stressed that if the community does not respond then decisions will be imposed upon it. She also reported that Council Tax is to be frozen for the next year and that the cemetery at Widney Manor is to be expanded.

8. Knowle Library – it was reported that the relationship with the library service over our Saturday afternoon opening arrangements is becoming increasingly positive and further developments are anticipated. Some 700 people have used this facility in which a 70% were children.

9. Christmas Lights – the condition and quantity of the remaining tree lights was such that it was agreed that enquiries would be made about the purchase of new LED lights.

10. One much valued committee member resignation was noted and two new ones were approved.

11. The future of the former bypass land and the lack of a potential walking link between Longdon Road and this land; the Society’s continued interest in being willing to assist with the Streamside Trust and the difficulty in selecting a suitable place for planting of a Jubilee tree in the autumn land was discussed. Solihull Council had expressed its willingness to cooperate in the planting a tree.

Photo Competiton Winners


Lucinda Baker (right) and Sophie Leonard (left) of Arden Academy – joint winners of the Society’s Youth Photo Competition Knowle as I see it pictured with Peter Ewin (Knowle Society, left), Pauline Astle (Head of Art, Arden) & Bill Bohanna (Knowle Society, right).

On the 12th July, Society chairman, Peter Ewin and Bill Bohanna who is responsible for the Society’s Community Liaison and is now a Community Governor at Arden presented the prizes in our photo competition. Some 16 entries had been submitted by pupils at Arden and the standard of entry was so high that it was decided to present two prizes. Incidentally, these were donated anonymously.

The winning entries which both showed imagination and good technical skill were submitted by Lucinda Baker and Sophie Leonard. Lucinda is from year 12 and Sophie is from year 8.

It was a great pleasure to be involved in this first real attempt to involve some of our highly talented youngsters in the Society and we hope very much that we are able to build on these small beginnings and create a real and lasting bridge between Arden and the Society – the two biggest bodies in Knowle – to mutual benefit.

As previously referred to in the newsletter we are anxious to start a youth group as part of the Society and we sincerely hope that this competition will lead to just that. Indications on students’ personal statements on University applications that they have been involved in community activities would surely stand them in very good stead and the Society and the village as a whole will benefit from enthusiastic youngsters being involved in such activities.

[Attached below are the winning photographs (the like and dislike images of each joint winner) and the presentations made at Arden Academy’s assembly. Lucinda is shown pictured with Chairman Peter Ewin and Sophie is pictured with Community Liaison/Community Governor Bill Bohanna.]

Website renewal launched successfully

On the afternoon of Friday 15th July 2011 the Society’s website was re-launched with a brand new design. Viewing this page you are looking at the new website.

The first website was created for the Society in 2002 and had undergone one subsequent renewal. A major and recent addition was the fully searchable Local History Archive. This has proved to be a popular feature and a considerable help to members and the general public when making initial enquiries into whether the Society’s archives might help them with their family history research. The latest design is based on a popular Content Management System (CMS) which will make future maintenance much easier. We hope that you like the new design and welcome any constructive criticism – why not use our Forum (see Active forum topics on the right of this page) to let us have your feedback?

Library opens on Saturday afternoons


Solihull Council and The Knowle Society have made a ground-breaking agreement in which the Society provides trained and checked volunteers to enable Knowle Library to continue its lending, renewal and returns service for books and other resources through into Saturday afternoons.

This service began on 8th July 2011 and five adults and fourteen children used the service on that first afternoon. Giving children in particular that extra opportunity to browse the library at the weekend makes this move both worthwhile and satisfying for the many people who have volunteered to make it work. The volunteers have back-up support from the Central Library staff if needed and this agreement could be a model for other enhancements to our community life.

The Society and the Council already have a longstanding agreement whereby the Society holds regular Saturday open mornings upstairs in the library for its Local History Archive and it maintains display cases there that show a series of exhibitions featuring aspects of Knowle and its people, based on that archive material. The public is always welcome to inspect the Archive on those open mornings and the stewards regularly help to answer enquiries about local families.

[Note that on the following week 23 adults and 12 children availed themselves of the new opening times.]