UPDATE: The Enviromment Agency (EA) have informed us that work to clear vegetation to prepare for this work will take place at various locations around Pebble Mill Field during the week commencing 27 Feb 2023. Expected to take no more than a week.
The construction work itself is now expected to begin in May 2023.
The EA will be holding a communication event to provide up to date information on this project. They have confirmed it will be on Thursday 30 March at Christ Church, Pershore Road. Time to be confirmed (expected afternoon/early evening)
More info to follow
The EA update in full is as follows: Environment Agency subcontractors will be undertaking vegetation clearance work in preparation for construction of the First Ave flood risk management scheme later this year. The works are taking place well before construction start in the latter half of eth year to minimise impact on the natural environment.
These works will take place week commencing 27th February. Birmingham City Council have been informed of and engaged with the intention to undertake these works. They will be overseen by an Ecological Clerk of Works, who provides advice about ecological and environmental issues during the construction of a development.
Vegetation clearance will take place in three areas (please see attached):
First Avenue Footbridge:
Removal of scrub / bushes to the rear of Number 46 & 48 First Ave to create safe working environment for proposed embankment.
Removal of scrub / bushes north of footbridge between path and River Rea in location of proposed surface water outfall.
Removal of scrub / bushes and trees south of footbridge between path and River Rea in location of proposed spillway.
Adjacent to Priory Avenue:
Removal of scrub / bushes to the side of Number 10 Priory Avenue to create safe working environment for proposed embankment.
Adjacent to Wallace Road:
Reduction of tree canopies at entrance to Wallace Road to provide room for future construction vehicles.
Removal of scrub / bushes at the end of Wallace Road to reinstate formal gated access to Pebble Mill playing fields to be used as access during construction.
Reduction of tree canopies at end of Wallace Road to provide room for future construction vehicles.
These works will change the visual look of areas of the playing fields and give an indication to where the completed flood defence will be situated. All the above areas will receive landscaping upon the schemes completion. It is possible this could be in a years’ time depending on the appropriate planting season. Every native tree removed will be replaced on a 5 to 1 ratio with planting to take place in the Pebble Mill playing fields / river corridor area.
Sustrans national cycle route diversion, landscape plans and traffic management plans are continuing to be developed with Birmingham City Council and appropriate partners. The EA hope to be in a position to share these soon.
New update pending: construction work is scheduled to start on Pebble Mill Field in "Spring 2023" and work will continue for around 9 months. Much of the field will be closed for the construction site and Wallace Road is expected to be used for access, with consequent severe disruption to the area.
The Environment Agency, who are managing the project, are expected to host an event to explan the latest proposals some time in late January/early February 2023. Watch these pages for further information/updates and date for the EA event when announced
The Environment Agency's latest update (received 13 January 2023 and provided to the forum open meeting on 17 January) is as follows:
In short we are still aiming to start construction around Spring of this year, we wouldn’t want this to slip too much due to impacts to ground condition, otherwise we would be looking at next calendar year.
We are still working with the Environment Agency’s design consultants, ARUP, on the final designs. The topographic survey taken in October and November was added into our model in December. Once peer reviewed and finalised we will be in a position to share with residents and the wider community. I think I previously mentioned a hope for late January, this is looking more like February now.
In addition, the Environment Agency alongside our contractors Jacksons met with Birmingham City Council highways department to discuss the traffic management plan to be in place during construction. Following advice from BCC to ensure a safe environment for members of the public and site users, there will be a reduction in available parking spaces during daytime hours. Once BCC have made their determination, the EA and Jacksons will engage with all residents of Wallace Road, and other community representatives, such as councillors, to clearly lay out traffic management plan.
29/07/2022: The drop-in session is now planned for the 12th of September between 4pm and 7pm. Residents should receive a letter about this.
Update 25/06/22: the consultation event on the 27th of July has been postponed due to delays in the project. We will post the new date when it is available.
The Environment Agency are planning to put in flood defences on Holders Lane Playing Field as part of the First Avenue flood management scheme. There will be disruption, particularly to residents on roads adjacent to the fields but also to users of the fields. Unfortunately the many residents were not aware of what was planned so we asked for some feedback from them which is reproduced below. We also have the last published details of the planned defences from November 2021 which can be found here and a Q&A also from November 2021 which can be found here
Thank you for your email, we became aware of some unhappy residents in Wallace Road last week and we have been communicating with the Cllrs regarding this, although I suspect the messages have not been fed back as yet.
I can only apologise to anyone who feels they have had no communication or who were unaware of the scheme. Last November we invited residents to two virtual drop in events for the First Avenue flood risk management scheme. This invite also went out to numerous local community and environmental groups as well as a Royal Mail posted letter to all properties along the northern, western and southern edge of Pebble Mill playing fields. This included all properties along Wallace Road. Whilst the drop in events were well attended we have subsequently had feedback from residents that they did not receive an invite. The invites would have been in plain white envelopes addressed ‘To the Occupier’ so may have been missed, or there was an error in delivery which the EA were not made aware of. In light of the feedback from residents we have changed our approach to engagement in the area and future invites will be hand delivered to particular areas such as Wallace Road.
Since the November drop in we have continued direct local engagement and at their request met with two residents of Wallace Road on Thursday 19th May.
I understand some of the concerns and will try to address those here. There are no plans to use Wallace Road as storage for site equipment. Wallace Road is the primary consideration to enable construction access to the playing fields due to the historic access gates present. Whilst this access hasn’t been used for many years, it provides the least disruption to residents out of the options available. The current gates and railings would be removed and reinstated after works completed, and we would welcome local input on what residents would like to see as part of the reinstatement. There would be the impact of construction traffic which may limit parking availability at the entrance to Wallace Road where spaces are not available off the main carriageway. Before use of any access road takes place a condition assessment of the road would be undertaken and the EA would liaise with Birmingham City Council as the highway owner around any potential repairs once construction has finished.
With regards to how the proposed embankment may impact flood flows, it will not re-direct water to the south or west of the playing fields. It’s primary purpose will be to deflect flows heading north and north-west eastward back into the River Rea. Combined with the weir removal work the EA have been undertaking, this will result in lower flood levels within the playing fields on a like-for-like flood event comparison.
Some residents noticed individuals on site conducting a survey but when they questioned them about this the individuals said there did not know the reason for the survey. These were likely employees of one of the EA’s sub-contractors undertaking a topographical survey and indeed may have not known the need for the survey. Regardless they could have offered to find out and provide direct contact to the EA should a member of the public be interested. We will raise this with our contractors to combat this happening in future.
The next consultation on the final design will be in person at Christ Church on 27 July 2022 between 4 and 7pm. All residents will receive a posted letter and residents in key roads such as Wallace Road will have a leaflet about the planned drop in session hand delivered. As well as this all local community groups will be given all the information. Construction is currently planned for Spring 2023 for a duration of 8 months.
A lot of the project team are on annual leave this week and next so I am planning a leaflet drop for Wallace Road on Monday 13 June. We will be available between around 10 and 2 for people to speak to us. Please feel free to pass my email address to anyone who still has concerns and I can arrange to meet with them on the 13 June.
Please come back to me with any other questions and I will endeavour to answer them. Again please accept my apologies.
Cathy Kompfner (MCIWEM) Flood Risk Advisor, Partnership and Strategic Overview, West Midlands Environment Agency | Units 10 & 11, Greyfriars Industrial Estate, Frank Foley Way, Stafford, ST16 2ST