I am strongly against the building of yet another unwanted student accommodation block in Selly Oak. The student population for the University of Birmingham in the area is high enough as it is, and the area does not need another student prison to be built. Selly Oak Triangle is currently having the bypass extension roadworks overrunning due to the pandemic. Traffic issues as well.

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What to do with Selly Oak Triangle: new public square or a park?





I am strongly against the building of yet another unwanted student accommodation block in Selly Oak. The student population for the University of Birmingham in the area is high enough as it is, and the area does not need another student prison to be built. Selly Oak Triangle is currently having the bypass extension roadworks overrunning due to the pandemic. Traffic issues as well.


SELLY OAK TRIANGLE

Ever since Sainsbury's moved out of their old Selly Oak supermarket building at the end of 2018, to the new Selly Oak Shopping Park, the old building has been boarded up and been a target for graffiti vandals. In 2020 there has been roadworks to extend the Selly Oak Bypass onto Harborne Lane (continuing on from the Aston Webb Boulevard which was completed in 2011). This was originally due to be completed in Summer 2020, but as of Autumn 2020 (due to the Pandemic and lockdowns) still has not been completed.

In late October 2020, Harborne Lane was turned into two way traffic, while Chapel Lane (near the Battery Retail Park) had way too many cars queuing up to the Bristol Road.

There is proposals to build yet another student accommodation block where the old Sainsbury's was. I say to Birmingham City Council to reject this proposal. Selly Oak does not need any more places to imprison students (especially right now during the Pandemic when they can't even go out anywhere).

Perhaps the Council could green light a new public square or park on the land. Or another supermarket.

It's the same with Shirley in Solihull, where idiot developers are planning to build more unwanted retirement villages (Shirley already has too many of them as it is).

 

SAINSBURYS'S

In 2012, I started to go to Sainsbury's Cafe at the Sainsbury's in Selly Oak, and continued to do so on and off until they closed down in 2018. Seen in June 2012, was this brick sculpture of an Oak tree. If demolished will this be saved or be a pile of bricks?

The Sainsbury's logo on the Bristol Road side of the building.

6 years before they moved, Sainsbury's spent a lot of money refurbishing the dated supermarket building. It looked nice, but wouldn't last.

Harborne Lane

Selly Oak Triangle from the no 98 bus towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham during January 2014. This view towards the Bristol Road. This triangular island has now gone, used to be a pavement and some benches on it.

The view towards Sainsbury's and it's car park. Beyond is the Battery Retail Park. When at the time Homebase, PC World & Curry's were over there.

Sainsbury's closing down and moved out

By March 2018, signs went up saying that the Sainsbury's site was up for sale. At this point the supermarket was still open. They would move out once their new site was ready by November 2018.

Pigeon's flying over Sainsbury's. A park or public square would be better for them than say an unwanted student block.

In November 2018, I saw this "We're moving" sign outside of Sainsbury's from the Bristol Road in Selly Oak. The new Sainsbury's opened at the Selly Oak Shopping Park on Wednesday 21st November 2018. I've been a couple of times, but the cafe experience is a bit different to the old one. Plus it's a much larger supermarket.

By February 2019, Sainsbury's had moved out months before. And graffiti vandals had started to tag the abandoned building. The car park was empty. This view from no 63 bus on the Bristol Road. At this point there was no plans for the site at the time.

Selly Oak Bypass extension works

A sign I saw in August 2019 said that Selly Oak New Road Phase 1B would be completed by Summer 2020. But that was before the Virus Pandemic and lockdowns started.

By early February 2020, more than a month before the first lockdown, the bypass extension works looked a far way off. This view from the no 63 bus on the Bristol Road near Harborne Lane. The triangular island had been dug up and removed. This was on the 2nd February 2020.

One day later, I got this view from the top deck of the 11A bus on Harborne Lane, before it headed up Chapel Lane towards the Bristol Road. The bus stop was closed off, and the dead end section of road had been filled in and turned into a pavement. Seen on the 3rd February 2020.

There was a raised wall around the former Sainsbury's car park. The pedestrian crossing here was closed off, also temporary traffic lights.

There also used to be a small triangular tarmac island here that you could cross over, before these works, that's gone as well.

By October 2020, the roadworks here were still not finished, as you can see from Harborne Lane. On the 10th October 2020, I again noticed that the former dead end section of road had been filled in and was now a pavement. Bus stop still closed off. Heavy traffic up Chapel Lane. View from the side window of the 11A bus (I rarely went upstairs on the bus between lockdown 1 and 2).

There was big puddle outside of the closed bus stop. The traffic may have also been queuing to get into the Battery Retail Park, as well as waiting at the temporary lights on the Bristol Road junction with Chapel Lane.

By the 26th October 2020, after leaving the Selly Oak Shopping Park, I was walking up to catch an 11A bus (or was hoping too). A sign mentioned that major night time works would be starting from 26/10/20 for 3 weeks.

It also mentioned that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic from 25/10/20. Just look at that traffic up Chapel Lane. So bad.

The view of Harborne Lane towards Oak Tree Lane. Most car drivers were still using Chapel Lane. Perhaps not aware that Harborne Lane was now open to two way traffic.

Up Chapel Lane to the Bristol Road junction at Selly Oak Triangle. Temporary traffic lights on red. Barriers everywhere. Imagine how bad the traffic would be if developers got their greedy way and built a student accommodation eyesore to the right?

I waited for an 11A on the Bristol Road, but I wasn't sure if one would come, then I caught a 63 to Longbridge, and a 45 from Longbridge to Cotteridge before I got an 11A home.

I would guess that the bypass extension will be completed now sometime in 2021. And from 2021, please can the Council listen to residents and reject the proposals for yet another student accommodation block. There is already loads up around the Aston Webb Boulevard, and those are closer to the University of Birmingham.

 

Update : Chapel Lane will be going to two way traffic from Monday 23rd November 2020. Speed limit will be at 20 mph. 

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.