Letter from the President 2014-15
This has been another very active year and on your behalf, I thank all of the Members who have given their time and effort to deal with a variety of concerns and objectives during the year. I extend this to include the wide range of collaborative support that we have received from other resident groups and various external organisations and agencies.
The following list provides a summary of the current situation regarding the areas of most concern and is to update those residents who do not use email.
1.FRA & FPC
Thank you for your outstanding support for establishing a Finham Parish Council.
• The FRA is still the only official organisation currently representing the views of Finham residents and this position will continue until the Parish Council is officially established.
• The FRA will continue as an organisation after the Finham Parish Council has been established in May 2016. The FRA will operate independently of the FPC in those areas outside the FPC’s remit, and be responsible for the FRA’s assets resulting from members’ subscriptions and donations over many years.
• The FRA will still be collecting subscription in 2015 (£1/£2) and 2016 but cease when Finham Parish is established and your precept is applied. At a later date the FRA funds may be used to fund some local facility. This would be a decision made by the FRA members at an AGM.
• Many of you receive regular updates on our activities via email. If you would like to be part of this please go to our website at www. finham.org.uk and request to be added to the circulation list. This facility will continue as at present until the FPC is set up to take it over. For those residents who prefer not to use email, we will display regular information on the Notice Board on Finham Green.
2.The Local Plan
WDC has already put its Local Plan out for consultation and do not appear to have plans for building on Kings Hill. Kenilworth Town Council is keen to retain the present Green Belt land between Kenilworth and Coventry.
Coventry City Council (CCC) who own some 27% of the Green Belt land on Kings Hill and had promised not to allow the land to be sold for development purposes. However they recently reneged on this policy resulting in potential plans for 5,000 new homes on Kings Hill. This was suggested by Councillor Lynette Kelly who is standing as Labour MP in the forthcoming General Election.
Coventry City Council is in the process of producing their Local Plan in May 2015. The city was planning to allow the building of 36,000 new homes by 2031. On Thursday February 26th the Coventry Observer reported that the CCC will now consider a lower target of 23,000 houses. However the proposal would see an overspill of development across the border into Warwickshire. Indeed Councillor Kevin Maton cites Kings Hill as an example for this kind of development and talks about redrawing the boundaries at a later date to include the overspill. So we need to be very aware of what the CCC and associated developers will want to do. Green Belt Land is easier and cheaper to develop and gives developers higher profits.
We will maintain our links with other local groups; only this week Green Belt land in Keresley has been suggested as building land for 800 new homes. We ask all FRA residents to remain vigilant and actively involved if we are to avoid building on King's Hill and other Green Belt land.
The Gateway Project (GP).
On February 13th 2015 Mr Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, ruled against the Gateway Proposal.
Residents in all of the affected areas were relieved that the views of local people had been listened to. However the local Councils, Sir Peter Rigby partner in Coventry and Warwickshire Development Partnership (the organisation behind Gateway) and the LEP are certain to appeal against this decision.
Councillor Kevin Maton, Coventry’s Cabinet Member for Business was reported as saying that “If Coventry and Warwick include this site in their Local Plan and say that this isn’t going to be Green Belt then the Gateway proposal could be resubmitted.”
In short, if they cannot get the result that they want, they will change the rules!
The Possible Outcome
As stated before this is not good news for Kings Hill. Developers have been keen to build on Kings Hill since the 1960s. A concerted effort might be made to change the Green Belt status of land around Coventry from Ryton or Bubbenhall westward to the University of Warwick; thereby including Kings Hill. As reported in the Coventry Telegraph; unless there is a boundary change, any local taxes from such development on Kings Hill will go to Warwick District Council. If past proposed developments are an indication, the number of children of the new residents of Kings Hill should overwhelm the capacity of Finham Park School.
3. Our Bus Service
Our present No.9 bus route was introduced on 26th February 2012, and has no return loop. It is not a subsidised route and must be shown to be profitable before National Express Coventry is prepared to alter it.
During the past year, there has been continuing dialogue with both Centro and National Express Coventry and our concerns are still being considered. We have taken part in surveys and undertaken journey time measurements to determine that a return loop is feasible and a financial advantage.
We hope that our views will be reflected with a return loop added to the new Timetable due in April 2015. I would like to thank all of the people who have helped and returned a survey form.
How to report your bus concerns
Bus users, please report failures to those who can look into them and attempt to stop the situation from re-occurring.
The No. 9 & 9A services are operated by National Express Coventry, any complaint should be reported as quickly as possible to
tel. 0121 254 7272 (Mon. - Fri., 8am -6pm) By letter to: - Customer Relations, National Express Coventry, 51 Bordesley Green, Birmingham B9 4BZ
Centro organises the public transport systems in Coventry, the bus stops, bus shelters, timetables, electronic real-time displays, etc., you can make your views known to Centro's Customer Relations Team using their email address,
or Telephone:0121 214 7214. Or by letter to: - Customer Relations, Centro House, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham B19 3SD. Ask for a Complaint / comment reference number and inform us of the situation.
4. FRA Committee Meetings
Normally take place on the 4th Monday of each month and are held in the library of Finham Park School, CV3 6EA. Any Member may attend.
5. Wainbody Ward (Councillor) Forums
These meetings are arranged four times a year and run from 19:00 hours until 21.00 hours. The venue changes as can the date. They usually occur on a Tuesday or Wednesday. These meetings are open to all residents. Details are available from Coventry City Council on 024 7678 5535 or email:
6. Wainbody Ward Safer Neighbourhood Group (every month)
FRA representatives continue to attend this meeting on the first Tuesday of every month. Details are available from Coventry City Council on 024 7683 2978. This Group is valued by FRA but is under threat from the CCC cutbacks.
The FRA subscription for 2015 will remain at £2 for a household with one or more wage earners in it and £1 for households where no-one is a wage earner.
Roundspersons deliver the Newsletter, or any other FRA document to your door. They also collect the annual subscription.
We desperately need more people to help to cover the 21 rounds in Finham. If you are able to help us, please make yourself known to the Committee.
Pupils at Finham Primary School continue to take an interest in their local area and put forward suggestions for possible improvements.
They are concerned about the total lack of play facilities in Finham.
The pupils are well aware of the value of the existing Green Belt and work hard to improve the environment in the school grounds.
They are not happy about the amount of dog-dirt left by irresponsible owners. Pupils from the school continue to be responsible for the blue planters seen outside the library, Green Lane shops, Brentwood Avenue shops, the pedestrian crossing in St Martin's Road and the Erithway Road bus shelter.
Thank you to the Primary school pupils for taking such a pride in their community.
The FRA is in agreement with our younger citizens:
Dog fouling and the disposal of faeces – Unremoved dog faeces remains an obvious problem in Finham. Concern has been relayed to the City Council enforcement team who have the power to impose fines. Report any incident to the Council's free phone number 0500 834 333.
Childrens' Play Facilities within Finham. This subject is being actively pursued and Committee members have looked at various options. Contact has been made to the owners of land near Green Lane School but we have no progress to report at this stage.
10.Coventry City Council’s ‘Coventry Citivision'
This is a quarterly, free glossy brochure; which details the activities of the Council, its work with residents and is a source of useful contact information. A copy should be delivered to each household in Coventry. The next edition is due to be delivered in March 2015. If you fail to receive your Citivision, please ring the Council House on 024 7683 1081 and report that fact. A copy should then be sent out to you.
Due to cutbacks many local libraries have been under threat of closure. We are very grateful to the hard work of Mrs Bannister who has fought to save Finham Library and we are happy to report that no library will be closed this year. If we want to keep our Library it is important that we use it regularly. There are many events taking place there so please make use of this local facility. During the past year there have been several talks from the University Hospital and these were well attended and very useful.
12. Local Planning Applications.
Members of the FRA Committee monitor building plans from both WDC and CCC on your behalf. If you have any concerns on planning applications please contact us.
13. For latest information on local matters please use our Website: www.finham.org.uk
14. A very important item.
As you can see from my letter, we have had a VERY eventful year but we are in URGENT need of help.
The Committee work hard on your behalf but for many reasons some members are unable to continue. We need VOLUNTEERS to join the FRA Committee if we are to continue to exist.
If you have an interest in your local Community and want to see the FRA live on please join us. One meeting a month is all we ask.
Next year will see the first elections to a Finham Parish Council and if you feel able to become a Councillor it would be an ideal opportunity to join the FRA committee to get a feel for the local issues.
Please advertise this by displaying the attached poster in the centre of this Newsletter.
And please continue to support your Association, and we look forward to seeing you at our AGM - 7pm Monday 30th March 2015.
Bob Fryer (President)