Council leader defends Perry Barr flyover decision
The leader of Birmingham council has defended the city’s decision to demolish the Perry Barr flyover, saying that people need to be encouraged to ditch cars and take up public transport.
This month the council will make a final decision on the proposed £27.1 million redevelopment of Perry Barr, with proposals including the removal of the A34 flyover in favour of putting all traffic onto a dual carriageway at ground level.
The proposals have received criticism from several corners since being announced earlier this year, with over 10,000 people signing various petitions objecting to the tearing down of the flyover.
One of the main objections raised, mostly by local residents, is that the works would lead to traffic disruption, with the proposed completion-date not until the end of 2021.
But the leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, believes that this will not be the case, adding that the city needs to start moving away from cars and toward public transport.
“If we don’t make a decision on this then we won’t get it done in time for the Games, and there are consequences for not taking down the flyover. So there is going to be a cabinet decision later this month on the flyover, I think its the 19th, and there will be a decision taken.
“I just want to explain because I don’t think we’ve been particularly good at getting the message across about why this is necessary, and what all this is about.
“First of all, if we leave the flyover in situ, we cannot get the cycle lane down the A34 as far as the one stop shopping centre, which we want to do.
“Secondly, with the flyover in situ it does not allow for a Sprint stop at the village. So we’d be building 1,400 new homes and it wouldn’t be sensible, having created that, not to have the Sprint stop at this location. And to get the Sprint stop in we need to take the flyover down.
“There’s also an issue about access to the One Stop shopping centre if we leave the flyover in situ. What we won’t be able to do is signalise the junction before it, which gives an issue with access to the One Stop shopping centre off the A34 for traffic that is city bound.
“And then, finally, I would encourage you next time you drive over the flyover, to have a look at where plot ten of the development is going. As I’ve said it’s on the site north of the Aldridge Road.
“And if you look at where the flyover is situated, you’d be driving right past people’s windows on that flyover. It’s not going to create a great place to live.
“So there are a whole host of reasons why it makes sense to take the flyover down. It’s been asked, how are we going to get people out of their cars and on to more sustainable forms of transport? The way you do that is you make it easier for public transport, and you make it more difficult for the private car.
“That’s the world we’re going to be entering into. You speak to any of the young people who are outside this building [Birmingham Council House] every Friday protesting about climate change, they will all tell you one third of our CO2 emissions is created by transport. We will have to do something about that going forward.
“This is really the first example of changes that are going to have to happen across the entirety of the city in order to encourage people to get out of their cars and either onto public transport or cycling and walking. And the flyover, I’m afraid, is part of that argument, and part of a greener future for all of us in Birmingham.”