Solihull Council responds to letter from Chairman on recycling

Our April 2008 newsletter highlights recycling in Knowle and the Chairman’s letter to the Council. The Council’s reply from Cabinet Member David Bell is published here.



The Chairman’s email to Solihull Council was reported in The Knowle Society’s newsletter, of which an edited extract follows:

I have raised some questions, on behalf of The Knowle Society, of our Council for them to consider, these include:

1. How much longer must the villagers of Knowle have to put up with the debris and untidiness in the village caused by the plethora of recycling units which are despoiling the car parks and adjoining pavements in the village centre?

2. How many more valuable car park spaces are to be lost to the huge units having to be used for collecting the recycling waste?

3. It is understood that Solihull MBC intends to arrange for kerbside collections of waste for recycling. When is this likely to be implemented and in action?

It is known that Lichfield Council has an efficient recycling operation which could well repay study.



The reply to Mr G Masters, Chairman, Knowle Society, from Councillor David Bell, Cabinet Member for Community Services & the Environment follows:

Dear Mr Masters,

I am responding to your email dated 22nd February addressed to Councillor Meeson.

The Council has received numerous requests to extend our recycling facilities within the Knowle area as the demand for the service has increased dramatically over the last few months. The usage that the site enjoys from residents demonstrates its value to the local community. Knowle also benefits from a full time street cleansing operative who visits the site on a regular basis to ensure the area is kept clean and tidy.

The loss of car park spaces has been kept to a minimum to accommodate the recycling containers. The use of the site has proved popular with local people who often drop off their recycling items before going shopping. It is hoped that increased emptying of the units will mean we do not need extra containers at the site. We will review this on a regular basis.

Following the recent signing of our Strategic Environment Contract we are hoping to further expend the number and type of recyclable materials collected from the kerbside. However this is dependent on the affordability of any such scheme.

As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and increasing our options for recycling we are continually comparing our services with other authorities and looking to adopt best practice methods of both collection and disposal of our waste. Indeed Solihull has an excellent record in the amount of waste we send to landfill and it currently has one of the lowest pecentage tonnage figures in the country at 18%.

Yours sincerely

Councillor David Bell

The Knowle Society’s view on various marina proposals

Several proposals for a marina on the Grand Union canal in Knowle have been doing the rounds in recent months – our Planning sub-committee gives a view on these proposals. One of these, the proposal for a Marina off Stripes Hill behind Wyndley Garden Centre has now (April 2008) been submitted as an Outline Planning Application. Comments are invited from members using the Society’s new Forum – link to it from the home page.

For some time now, there has been talk of the possibility of the construction of a marina in Knowle to serve the many boat owners who use the canals locally. The first the planning sub-committee got to hear of this was over a year ago when it was intimated that landowners and British Waterways were considering submitting an application affecting land lying approximately west of the canal at the locks and behind Wyndley garden centre.

At first glance we thought this was ill-conceived and intrusive in the Green Belt but on reflection, and bearing in mind the slightly more lenient way that leisure facilities are treated in the Green Belt, we felt it was at least worthy of some consideration. If a case can be made that such a facility is needed by boat owners in Knowle, then this may be the best place for it. It would be at least near the area most associated with boats in Knowle and the fields in question are not the most scenic or necessarily particularly wildlife friendly. Nonetheless, we would certainly wish to keep ‘our powder dry’ on this one pending any application.

The next area we heard was being considered was the field next to the canal at the bottom of Kixley Lane. The owner requested a meeting with the planning committee to discuss his plans but was told that he would be wasting his time. In our view this spot is totally unsuited for such a large development. Kixley Lane is the oldest ‘street’ in Knowle being at least 700 years old and is now narrow and unsuitable for the inevitable increase in traffic.

Lastly at the present time is the proposition which many Knowle residents will know about, having been the subject of a public exhibition at the ‘Greswolde’ in February. The proposal would affect land at the bottom of the continuation of Jacobean Lane by the side of the bridge near Grove Farm. The plan would involve the construction of an access way from Jacobean Lane and would mostly affect residents of that lane and Wychwood Avenue. There has already been considerable campaigning locally and I think it fair to say that the people living nearest to the site have, as would be expected, been most vociferous in their opposition.

Initially it was intimated that the proposal would be submitted at the end of February or beginning of March but time has gone on and perhaps the applicants are having a re-think. Certainly the planning sub-committee will only make up their minds as to their attitude when the final plans are submitted. In the meantime, should any member or indeed any Knowle resident have views on the matter please feel free to contact Peter Ewin, chairman of planning of the Society.

Local History Centre Exhibition

Although Knowle Library has now reopened (27th March), The Knowle Society has still to assess the work required to reopen the Local History Centre archives upstairs in the Library. As soon as a date is known this will be notified here. Meanwhile a small exhibition of photographs is on display in the display cabinets upstairs – it is called ‘A Walk through Knowle highways and byways in the village in earlier days’.

Pictures of the Jacobean Lane area subject of a recent canal marina proposal


A public presentation by developers was held at the Greswolde Hotel recently in which plans for a possible marina on the canal at Jacobean Lane were on display. The Society’s photographer offers pictures of the area involved and an aerial view to help to relate the views.

Views 1, 2 and 3 look from the bridge on the footpath over the canal directly onto the area proposed for a new marina of 140 narrow-boat berths, parking for 50 vehicles and a small facilities block (toilets and washing). View 4 looks across the field on which a new access road would run from Jacobean Lane (not exactly along the line of the arrow we show). View 5 looks along the existing path from Grove Farm towards the marina’s entrance at the end of an access road – this path would remain unchanged. View 6 shows the entrance to Grove Farm which has no direct relevance to the proposal but helps to appreciate the location. These pictures do not attempt to give any impression of the proposed marina but only to show the existing location.