A number of concerned residents have been in touch regarding rumours that the 55A bus service, which provides a vital link across the Yorkswood area, is about to be changed or cancelled.
I checked this out with National Express, the bus company who run the service and have now had confirmation that there are no plans to change the 55A. This is good to hear, especially after the fight we had to get the service introduced after a disastrous reorganisation of local bus routes five years ago.
Here’s the full text of the email I received from National Express:
From: National Express [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 19 February 2016 13:28
To: Councillor John Cotton
Subject: Our Ref NXWM/81888-12
19 February 2016
Thank you for your enquiry.
We are not aware of any changes being made to the 55A bus route.
Thank you for contacting us.
Customer Liaison Officer
I’m delighted to announce that the work to preserve the magnificent Yorkswood Griffins is finally under way.
This is a project that I’ve been pushing for, along with Yorkswood Residents Association, ever since I was first elected as a Shard End Councillor. The Griffins are an important part of our local heritage, so please come and join us on 19 February for what promises to be a fantastic and exciting day!
Work starts next month on measures to restore the water quality of Babbs Mill Lake and the River Cole.
The project is community-led and will help to further improve the environment around Yorkswood and the Kingfisher Country Park. A partnership between the Friends of Kingfisher Country Park, Birmingham and Solihull Councils, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Community Service Volunteers will be delivering the works.
The scheme includes:
Creating a reed bed system to filter polluted water before it enters the lake from the channel adjacent to Yorks Wood.
The reed bed system will involve creating a large, shallow pond planted with Common Reed (Phragmites) to form a wetland area. This will filter pollutants and silt from the water before it enters the lake.
Removing the concrete channel and “renaturalising” the Yorks Wood stream.
The concrete channel which runs adjacent to Yorks Wood has been a constant problem and a target for fly-tipping, as well as being the main source of pollution to the lake. The plan is to remove the channel and allow the stream to be moved over into the scrubland in a natural meander, improving the habitat value as well as helping to aerate the water. It will also help to reduce the fly-tipping into the water course.
Creating a shallow-water shelf in the lake, allowing a second reed bed to establish naturally.
This will be created by recycling material excavated from the new pond. The shallow area will be colonised naturally by Common Reed and Reedmace (typha) which are already established around the lake edge. This second reed bed will provide a further filter for the water from both the brook and the inlet from the river.
One of the main causes of pollution has been plumbing misconnections further upstream, which have resulted in washing detergents and other waste entering the stream rather than the sewage system. Work will be carried out as part of this project to trace some of these misconnections and put things right.
This is great news for the neighbourhood and should help to further improve the fantastic green spaces we have at the heart of the Ward.
I’m delighted to say that the battle to restore a decent bus service to the Yorkswood area has at last been won!
Hundreds of residents signed petitions and attended public meetings that Councillors Marje Bridle, Ian Ward and I arranged after the local bus companies took the disastrous decision to reorganise our local services. The changes left residents of the Yorkswood area very badly affected, lacking a direct service to the City Centre, Chelmsley Wood and even to the new shops on Shard End Crescent!
Thanks to the pressure we’ve exerted as a community, common sense has at last prevailed. From 22 July, there will be a new 55A service, providing a bus every 15 minutes, Monday to Saturday daytime from Yorkswood to both Birmingham city centre and to Chelmsley Wood. This restores the much-needed link around Kendrick Avenue.
The existing 55 and 59 services will also continue to run, as will the 56 on evenings and Sundays. You can view the timetables for the 55 and 55A services here.