Saturday, December 9, 2023



Councillors in Alvechurch are giving serious consideration to a request for more street lighting around the village.

When this first came up in correspondence at a parish council meeting a few months back – apparently a resident was having trouble seeing where they were going while out jogging at night – there were a few shakes of the head from councillors and they moved on to other matters.

But, as those present at the Annual Parish Meeting last month heard, the suggestion is now going to find its way on to the council agenda.

Well, we’d like to object right here, right now. All of our villages, not just Alvechurch, are becoming urbanised by stealth.

Hedges are disappearing to be replaced by big, impersonal fences that belong in the back gardens of Birmingham’s suburbs, not Worcestershire’s villages.

Next time you’re driving around Barnt Green, just look at how people have moved in and then shut out everyone else with a solid fence.

Street lighting is an even worse offender – and we are made to foot the bill. It doesn’t belong in “real” villages, only those that are already resigned to becoming suburbs, so let’s not give in.

And if joggers find they are running into trees, we’d suggest they take a torch out with them. Perhaps the parish council could supply some? It’d be cheaper than paying for lights we don’t need or want.

The Alvechurch Annual Parish Meeting also heard about another matter affecting villages across the area: the baffling case of “illegal” Alcohol Free Zones.

These were introduced by the police and Bromsgrove District Council in a blaze of publicity in 2008 and were hailed as “an effective tool for dealing with alcohol-related crimes”.

Now were are told they are pointless because the police already have all the powers they need, while the district council has decided the wording “Alcohol Free Zone” will not stand legal scrutiny and is going to replace them with signs saying the areas are subject to a “Designated Public Place Order”.

As one villager pointed out at the meeting, if the police already have the powers they need, then the only purpose of the signs is to act as a deterrent – which they do for the young people of the village at the moment.

But who is going to be deterred by a “Designated Public Place Order” sign?