Reproduced below is a statement from Kings Heath BID following the successful and peaceful demonstration organised last Saturday by businesses and residents to protest against the undemocratic imposition of the Kings Heath LTN. It has been passed to us in the knowledge that we fear no democratic discussion, nor do we seek to control, manipulate or divert whatever any resident or business wishes to say, we believe absolutely in the right to freedom of speech.
The Workers Party – Birmingham considers it our duty to give the message a wider audience since no spokesperson for the BID itself came forward to speak during the demonstration in front of residents and businesses, though they are clearly taking an interest. In the wider interests of democracy we feel it is only right, that we give this point of view wider circulation, and the platform it denied itself last weekend.
“The Directors of Kings Heath Business Improvement District (BID) would like to convey their disappointment with the way that the BID was represented at an anti-LTN demonstration in York Road on Saturday 5th June.
Not for the first time, the BID has been unfairly brought into issues and concerns that some businesses have with Birmingham City Council’s introduction of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme. Moreover, the Directors cannot condone comments made at this demonstration that were direct and false attacks on individual business owners and Councillors who have been elected to represent this area within Birmingham City Council.
To address specifically some of the comments made:
The BID has supported businesses that are against the LTN (as well as those that are in favour of it). Given that it is such a divisive issue, though, the BID’s position, since the LTN was introduced, has been to remain neutral and to support and signpost any business that wants to share its opinion on the LTN
The BID is prepared to examine any independent survey and would not dismiss it as “fake news”
At the BID’s recent AGM, members voted strongly in favour of the BID itself remaining neutral with respect to the LTN
The BID was not set up by the Council, rather it was voted for by businesses in Kings Heath. It is absolutely not in place to take over council services. These are protected, as with all BIDs in the UK, by a baseline services agreement which actually prevents the BID from doing this
There are not “9 people controlling the BID”. The BID Board is currently comprised of Directors from 13 businesses from across the BID area, who, individually, share a range of views on the LTN
7 of these Directors represent businesses on York Road, from both retail and hospitality sectors
It is therefore fundamentally untrue that the people running the BID are pro-LTN
Any representative of a levy-paying business or organisation that has paid its levy in full can nominate themselves to become a Director and serve on the Board
It was stated that there are 6 people on the BID with a vested interest in the LTN. Again, this is simply untrue and the majority of businesses in Kings Heath will have a vested interest of one sort or another
The issue relating to the dismissal of the BID’s previous Town Centre Manager is currently sub judice. Contrary to comments made at the demonstration, however, the owner of the Kitchen Garden Café had left the BID before any proceedings against the Town Centre Manager began and had no further involvement with the BID until April this year
Councillor Lisa Trickett is not currently a Director of the BID, although the BID has invited Birmingham City Council to nominate a representative to join its Board – in line with the majority of other BIDs both in Birmingham and across the country. The Council representative will be representing the Council as a levy-paying member of Kings Heath BID
Kings Heath BID has been working on behalf of businesses across Kings Heath Town Centre since 2008 and in that time has achieved a great many things. Unfortunately, in that time, it has also had to deal with businesses who feel that their way is the only way.
The LTN has impassioned the local community, residents and businesses alike, but for the BID to take a stance against the LTN would be to ignore those businesses that support it. Equally, the BID cannot simply endorse the LTN as there are businesses which are so clearly against it.
The Directors of Kings Heath BID, on behalf of all businesses within the BID area, are committed to working with Birmingham City Council and other partners to ensure that whatever measures are put in place to improve traffic flow and environmental air quality in Kings Heath are enacted with the best interests of Kings Heath businesses at heart and to seek solutions to these and other issues that affect our area.”
TO JOIN THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE LTN FILL IN THE FORM