Saturday, December 9, 2023



What will our villages look like in 20 or 30 years? The answer most of us hope for is: much the same as they do now, thank you very much.

That’s because, as one of our correspondents says, we are all Nimbys at heart.

Generally, over the past 20 years at least, we have had our wish granted. Perhaps the most changed by recent development is Cofton Hackett, although the forest of new homes on the former MG Rover East Works site is mainly hidden behind the main bank of houses at the base of the Lickey Hills.

While the new villagers of Cofton are still waiting for their new village hall, at least they have shops close by and a hall on the way, unlike the 3,000-plus people who live on the Oakalls/Parklands and rely mainly on their cars to do anything at all. 

Houses without a local “community” mean more car journeys – lots of them.

Ah, you can see a theme developing: building more houses = more cars = more problems.

The number of complaints we are seeing about the speeding traffic on Groveley Lane, Cofton Hackett, for example, was inevitable as the new houses were occupied and everyone had to get to and from home.

According to another of our correspondents, the new road system put in there to try to deal with this is a “shambles”, with a previous correspondent likening it to a “race track”.

What, if anything, will be done to address this, we wonder?

Meanwhile, the main changes we have seen in the centre of Barnt Green over the past 20 years have all been aimed at pushing back against the car, and with some success.

It does however mean the High Street has the look of a crazy golf hole, with humps and rises, tables and drops, and a plantation of bollards and planters to keep cars off the pavement.

In Alvechurch, which has seen four and a bit new housing estates over the past couple of decades, the volume of traffic has prompted recent discussion of a near-20-year-old proposal to pedestrianise much of the village centre (some of the debate being on the page opposite).

As it seems that all of our villages are going to have to absorb yet more housing, and cope with yet more cars, finding ways to put people before traffic is something well worth discussing – and will be a large feature of the Alvechurch Neighbourhood Plan.

Then again, we could just sit back, hoping that little will actually ever happen and, even if it does, that it will happen . . . very . . . slowly . . .