Derek Mellor, dies after a short illness

The Knowle Society is very sad to announce that Derek Mellor, has died after a serious stroke followed by a period in hospital. Derek was very active as Membership Secretary, past chairman of the local history committee and a former Trustee Director of the Society.

Derek’s funeral will take place at 10.30am on Monday 18 May at Robin Hood Crematorium. Family flowers only, but donations to ‘The Knowle Society’ via Bragg & Sons, the undertaker.

Note from the Local History Committee chairman:

Derek was past Chairman of the Local History Committee remaining on the committee after he stepped down as Chairman last November. He will be remembered by many for the excellent talks, visits and exhibitions he planned and organised and for his indefatigable work in general for The Knowle Society over the last few years.

Under his chairmanship the local history committee revised and re-published the Guide to Central Knowle, for which Derek personally contributed several stunning photographs. Other initiatives included a DVD of the Ratcliff films of Knowle, afternoon talks on historical subjects, several highly successful historical visits and an enthusiastic and hard-working committee setting up regular exhibitions and completely overhauling the cataloguing and storage of the Society’s historical artifacts and records.

Derek will be missed by many people for many reasons not least by ‘His’ history team who will endeavour to carry on his work to the same high standards that he demanded of himself.

Note from the Chairman of The Knowle Society:

Derek was also the membership secretary of the Society which included co-ordinating distribution of the newsletter. To say that he did the job well is a gross under-statement. His attention to detail in an organisation that grew to over 3000 members during his time in the post was exemplary. He and his team were superb in ensuring the smooth running of the database and of the army of distributors, both of bulk numbers and also street deliverers. He also kept his dry sense of humour in doing so. He will be very much missed.

Knowle Green Community Project – Update 1

The project to improve the area around and including the bus shelter is still at a very early stage – it has yet to produce formal plans or to raise any significant funding. However the consultants Groundwork West Midlands, are about to embark on the first stage.

The Knowle Green Project is scheduled to begin on the 18th May 2009. This first phase will entail the Landscape Architect and the main Architect identifying and developing a full working plan to deliver the contract, with SMBC, up to writing the bid and submitting it for further funding. As per the agreement with the local partners there is already a framework to work with. By the end of May there will be a full detailed plan of what will be done, how, by whom and when. That and all future reports will be submitted to SMBC and KGCP

Safe Routes to School – An update on The Knowle Society’s understanding and views

Discussion continues in the local press and is the subject of much local conversation. This update expresses the view held by The Knowle Society on the proposals as laid out in the public exhibition in Knowle Library – it is of course subject to the actual official plans and survey to be presented by the Council following the public consultation.

The proposals to alter Station Road, St Lawrence Close and Knowle Park are causing much debate at present and a review of the proposals follows.

At present the School has an excellent safety record and the scheme is not being proposed in order to reduce accidents, rather it is to encourage more students to cycle to school. However 80% plus already walk to School and it is generally agreed that any child who decides to cycle, will be from the group who at present walk.

In brief the proposals are:

Station Road – Road humps at existing school crossing and Lodge road, in addition a cycle/pedestrian crossing point across the end of St Lawrence Close.

The footpath on Station Road, from the school crossing to St Lawrence Close and down one side of St Lawrence Close, to be widened and open to both pedestrians and cyclists at the same time.

Although the alterations are aimed at school children, in order to allow mixed pedestrians/cyclists on the same footpath, it would also be open to anyone else to cycle on the footpath.

A 20-mph speed limit to be in operation from 8.00am-9.00am and 3.00pm-4.00pm along part of Station Road.

Knowle Park – The proposal is that path widening is also carried out in Knowle Park with the same allowance for pedestrians and cyclists mixing at all times. One of the primary concerns of The Knowle Society is the impact on elderly people who use the park from the adjacent nursing home and the many other parents and young children who use it for recreation and a route to the primary school.

Because only children who travel to school via St Lawrence Close would benefit from the scheme, it is not possible to judge just how many would take part. Other areas such as Dorridge and Bentley Heath etc. would not be covered.

Finally the finance to carry out the work is in the region of 200,000 pounds and will be met by the Government and Sustrans, a cycling charity.

Solihull Council’s consultation on Safe Routes To School proposals

Following strong concerns from The Knowle Society and the wider community, the Council is holding a public consultation in Knowle Library from 6th to 23rd May 2009 [NOW EXTENDED TO 29TH) on the proposed plans for special cycle provisions around Arden School and in Knowle (Jobs Close) Park. This will include a questionnaire and two personal attendances by council officials.

During these dates there will be an exhibition of the proposals and on the following dates there will also be attendance by council officers: Thursday 14th May, 2pm to 7pm and Saturday 16th May 10am to 4pm. The Council says “The results of this consultation will be used to help make a decision on whether to proceed with the scheme. Funding is available for some of the works on Station Road, but funding to complete the cycling elements, including proposed routes through the park is subject to an application for funds from Sustrans (the cycle charity). If the scheme is approved and funding secured, we will aim to carry out the works this summer.”

Civic Trust announces that it is entering administration

The trustees of the Civic Trust announced on 17th April 2009 that the Civic Trust is to be placed into administration. The Knowle Society is registered with the Civic Trust. A new ‘Civic Trust Initiative’ was formed on 2nd June.

It is not clear what effect this will have on the Civic Societies movement generally but the immediate impact on The Knowle Society itself is unlikely to be significant.

An announcement by English Heritage on 18th May states that it will be rescuing the Heritage Open Days programme (of which it was previously a partner) from The Civic Trust, for all future years. The Knowle Society and Knowle Parish Church have combined successfully in recent years to put on HODS events in Knowle. These national events usually take place around the second weekend in September and this year take place over 10-13 September.

As at 2nd June 2009 a new organisation ‘Civic Trust Initiative’ has been launched to keep the movement going. It will not be the same set up as before although some names continue. The Knowle Society will consider its position when more information becomes available and when it hears how WestMASA intends to relate to the new body.