Express & Star

A34 Safety Action Group left facing £4,000 debt after court battle

Campaigners who lost a legal bid to overturn plans for the A34 flyover to be torn down have been landed with a £4,000 court bill.

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Campagners fought aganst the changes to the A34including removing the flyover in Perry Barr. Image: Annette Pereira/

Three members of the A34 Safety Action Group brought the action against Birmingham City Council plans to demolish the flyover.

But their bid for a judicial review was thrown out last month with the High Court now telling campaigners to foot the bill for the council's legal costs.

Despite an appeal to the council for help, its leader Councillor Ian Ward said he could not justify taxpayers' money being used to settle the sum.

Having lived along the Walsall Road for most of her life, Annette Pereira and other residents had been shocked to discover plans by the authorities to take away their slip road and replace it with a Sprint bus lane.

Safety was their main concern, and they spent the next 12 months fighting a campaign to have the proposals changed – a campaign they won in 2019 when Transport for West Midlands announced changes to their plans.

The A34 Safety Action Group also fought against plans to tear down the Perry Barr flyover - losing a judicial review, leaving them saddled in debt.

Group leader Annette Pereira. Photo: Annette Pereira

The group has now been told to pay the council’s £4,000 legal fees and Annette, who has spent the better part of two years dedicating herself to the group, says she now does not know where to turn.

"To be honest I didn’t expect to be sitting here up to my eyes in debt for doing the right thing and just asking questions," Annette said, holding back tears.

"I’m a bit stunned by it all to be honest and I don’t know where we are going to get the money from.

"It was £7,000 to begin with and the judge didn’t award the £7,000 so it’s been reduced to £4,000.

"But we were only expecting about a thousand because this was the initial permission stage."

She added: “We’ve got until the 19th to pay it by. Now we might have been able to stand a little bit of a chance if we had been able to have our meetings and rallies and go door-to-door, but we can’t do that at the moment.

"And none of our people are really online, it’s just like another planet to them going online, that’s not our cohort group.

"And that in itself shows that the council are completely out of touch with reality and with the people of Great Barr and Perry Barr. They just don’t understand."

With until June 19 to find nearly £3,700 the three people named on the review – Ms Pereira, Owen O’Neil and Bishop Desmond Jaddoo – are pleading with the public to support them, while also asking for the council to drop the charges altogether.

Council leader Councillor Ian Ward said: "Clearly when anyone seeks to take legal action and go to court they do carry a risk that they are going to lose that court action and that costs may well be awarded against them.

"That is what has happened in this particular instance. I think what I am being asked to do would not be a sensible use of taxpayers’ money.

"Effectively, she is asking that the city council underwrites any legal action taken against it and that the city council does not recover its costs in the future of any legal action taken against the council.

"That simply would not be a sensible position for the council to adopt and would not be an appropriate use of council taxpayers’ money.”

Annette says she is now planning on going door-to-door to raise the funds she needs, though she added that she’s not optimistic about her chances during a pandemic. She also said that the whole saga has robbed her of her appetite to take up local causes.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit: