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Resident ‘will sit in road’ to stop flyover plans

By Tom Dare | Birmingham | News | Published:

A Birmingham resident says he "will sit in the middle of the road" to stop plans to tear down the Perry Barr flyover.

The A34 through Perry Barr

During a heated meeting today, the cabinet of Birmingham City Council approved controversial plans for the £27.1 million Perry Barr ‘Highway Improvement Scheme’, which will see wholesale changes to the area’s road network.

The scheme will see the removal of the A34 flyover in favour of putting all traffic onto a dual carriageway at ground level, while a cycle path and improved public transport services also form part of the proposals.

The plans have received intense criticism from local residents throughout the process so far, with petitions opposing the scheme so far garnering more than 15,000 signatures.

One of those opposing the plans is 71-year-old Mike Harrison, whose autistic grandson relies on the flyover to get to and from school every day.

And while the council claims that the proposals will benefit both the area and the city long term, Mike says he’s ready to sit in the middle of the road to try and stop them going ahead.

“I live three quarters of a mile up the Walsall Road, going north from the flyover,” he said.

“Unfortunately my grandson lives on the estate behind me, Perry Beeches. Now he’s autistic, and one of his traits is that everything has to be a matter of habit. You break that habit and it’s boom, napalm.

“So one of my problems is that I have to drive down onto the estate to pick him up, then I have to drive back to take him to his school unit. And as you can well imagine, without the flyover the traffic would be an absolute nightmare. It’s bad enough as it is – to get him in to school for 8.30 I leave my house at 7.30. So you add on to that all the traffic disruption it would just be a living nightmare.

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“From what I can see from it it’s a complete disaster. They must have been drunk when they did all this planning. Imagine the traffic coming down the Aldridge Road and the Walsall Road, coming out of One Stop and coming back from town. That’s a recipe for disaster.

“We’ve [local residents] been totally ignored. Totally totally ignored. We don’t exist to them, but we’re the ones that are gonna suffer.

“I think it’s a shame really, because the Commonwealth Games could breathe new life into our city, but now I think it’s gonna have the opposite effect.

“I’ll be honest with you, myself personally, I’m willing to sit in the middle of the road to stop it, to disrupt it. That’s the anger I feel. I like to think I’ve been a good citizen all my working life. But when you’re totally ignored and messed about and fobbed off, it’s absolutely disgusting. I don’t think you’d get treated like this in a third world country.

“Whoever’s doing the planning, I think they’re planning for their own benefit. And you can read whatever you’d like into that.”

Tom Dare

By Tom Dare
@tomdare7

Local Democracy Reporter covering the West Midlands Combined Authority.

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