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some fun and games!
Cllr Julie Johnson’s victory in ousting another Tory from Weoley made national headlines on Sky and ITV.
Sky News Political Editor Faisal Islam tweeted an ‘unexpected win’.
Well well well… Just one ward but unexpected Labour gain from Conservatives in Birmingham – Weoley pic.twitter.com/5c8i7L17vn
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) May 5, 2016
Weoley not only took the seat from the Tories, but were also quoted on ITV News as the first seat declared in Birmingham.
Julie’s victory is the second time in as many years that Weoley Labour has taken a seat from the Tories. Since 2008, Weoley Tories had held onto three seats in Birmingham City Council, until Cllr Steve Booton took a seat in the 2015 election with a majority of almost 600. Julie was up against a long-standing councillor, but still managed an emphatic win with a 182-vote majority.
Cllr Johnson said: “This is an absolutely fantastic result.
“I want to thank the people of Weoley for placing their trust in me and I want to thank my agent and everyone on my campaign team – the number crunchers, the door knockers, the leaflet deliverers, the phone bankers and the sandwich makers – for their unstinting support and loyalty.
“I’m really looking forward to standing up for Weoley and working alongside Steve. As a united team of two, we can make changes in Weoley.”
After the years of dedicated service he put into Weoley, Steve welcomed Cllr Johnson on board, saying: “What a fantastic victory by Julie Johnson in Weoley ward. Julie put her heart and soul into this campaign, showing true grit, determination and enthusiasm.
“This has been a hard fought victory for Julie and the Labour Team in Weoley. It shows once and for all that if the Tories think they can win in Weoley by snapping selfies in front of piles of rubbish, making up stories about council services and defending a government that attacks the poor and the disabled, they can think again.”
In a clean sweep across the Northfield constituency, newly elected Cllr Carole Griffiths retained Longbridge for Labour (after former Cllr Jess Phillips was elected to parliament) and Cllrs Val Seabright and Brett O’Reilly retained their seats in the Kings Norton and Northfield wards.
You can see Julie’s page on the Birmingham City Council website at www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite/weoley-councillors (to be updated).
I’ve lived in Birmingham since 2006, and moved into my home in Northfield quite recently. I’m right on the boundary of the Weoley ward and I’ve been getting to know the area as a resident – and not just as an election candidate. I work in Birmingham City Centre for the Civil Service.
I am very proud to be Labour’s candidate for Weoley. I’ve met lots of residents, and I know that people in this area have suffered greatly from the government’s cuts in benefits, and new rules like the bedroom tax, that make life a real struggle for many. Tory Councillors in Weoley keep blaming the Labour leadership of our council, but it’s their government that is to blame, and they have no real idea about the day-to-day struggles that many of us have to face. George Osborne’s budgets are a constant reminder of more cuts – not just to our own income but to the wonderful services we all rely on – our police, our NHS, emergency services and public sector workers.
I have a keen and active interest in community safety and preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. I want to see more police on our streets and for us all to feel safe in the community where we live, secure in own homes. I want everyone to receive the best services possible in the community.
Our elderly people should be receiving the right support services and should feel valued and feel safe, and our young parents should be receiving improving support services. They too need to feel they are part of a community that cares. We need to meet the economic crisis by creating jobs, and creating affordable housing. By making sure we have strong local communities, we are helping each other.
We hear almost daily about cuts and in Birmingham we have been targeted by central government with cuts that are disproportionate and totally unfair. But Labour is determined to defend services like free school meals, and we’re committed to building more new council houses.
Weoley needs another Labour Councillor – I will listen, help and take action so that we can all live in a community to be proud of – and I will continue to fight against unfair cuts.
I look forward to working with you all to help make Weoley an even better place to be.
In a surprising turnaround, Starbucks have withdrawn their application to build a drive-through coffee shop in Weoley following Julie Johnson’s public meeting earlier this month.
I’m so proud to have played a part in giving the people of Weoley this platform to get their voices heard
Starbucks failed to send a representative to provide any answers to local residents’ concerns about increased traffic flow and other key safety factors, including on-street parking, additional pollution, and the potential for late night anti-social behaviour.
Julie also highlighted local Tories’ mistaken claims that thirty jobs would be created, pointing out that the coffee shop had forecast only ten full-time and ten part-time jobs.
Julie said: “I’m so proud to be able to represent the people of Weoley in the face of Starbucks’ lack of consultation.
“We welcome businesses investment in Weoley, but local parents, teachers and neighbours refuse to accept that it should be at the expense of their children’s safety. The proposed site on a busy corner near the Bellfield schools is not appropriate for the type of business Starbucks want to use it for.
“Local residents were excited about Starbucks’ drive-through coffee shop innovation, along with the promised jobs, but felt another more suitable site in the Weoley ward should be sought.
“We congratulate Starbucks for listening to our concerns and and responding to our wishes. We wish them well and look forward to working with them in their future ventures.”
For more information on this story, click here.
In response to local concerns, Julie Johnson, Weoley Labour candidate, organised an open consultation meeting last week for Weoley residents affected by a recent Starbucks planning application.
The well-known coffee seller Starbucks have submitted a planning application to Birmingham City Council for a drive-through coffee shop at the junction of Sir Herbert Austin Way and Vineyard Road.
Local residents, teachers and parents voiced deep concerns about increased traffic flow and other key safety factors, including on-street parking in what is already a congested area during parts of the day, the additional pollution on a site adjacent to two primary schools and a children’s centre, and the potential for late night anti-social behaviour.
Julie said: “Not only have Starbucks made downward projections for jobs on this site before it’s even been approved, but my request for a site visit was refused, despite documentation offering access and a visit already having been undertaken by Cllr Freeman.”
It was acknowledged that Northfield is in great need of jobs, particularly for young people, but proposals to restrict these to local residents were dismissed as potentially contravening the Equality Act 2010 and therefore unjustifiable.
Other residents raised objections about Starbucks’ reputation for unethical tax avoidance in the UK.
Starbucks were invited to send a representative to talk to local people, but no one turned up.
The planning application documentation can be found at the City Council’s website here.
The Birmingham City Council Planning Committee is next due to meet on 28th April 2016.
In his seats-to-watch piece ‘Runners & riders: 2016 council elections, candidates and analysis‘, Paul Dale says:
‘It doesn’t get much closer than two votes, and that was Conservative Eddie Freeman’s wafer-thin majority over Labour’s Steve Booton in 2012. However, Booton did win in Weoley in 2015 to give Labour one out of the three ward seats. The Tories will be fighting hard to retain this seat against Labour candidate Julie Johnson.’
We couldn’t agree more, Paul.
“Since I was elected, most of my work has been helping Weoley people with issues like housing, council tax, anti-social behaviour, cuts in benefits and rubbish collection. Trying to get problems sorted isn’t always easy – particularly when drastic central government cuts have affected local services so badly – but I always do my very best.
“Lots of people have told me that having a Labour councillor has made a real difference in Weoley. So, I’m really pleased that Julie Johnson has been selected as our Labour candidate for the council elections in May.
“Some of you might have already met Julie on our street stall. She has a great sense of humour and understands the problems that the people of Weoley face under this Tory government. With her tremendous enthusiasm and commitment, she’ll be a fantastic councillor.
“Julie and I are offering practical help for people affected by the Tories’ cuts. We’ve launched our Labour Champions scheme whereby we offer support to Weoley residents who have suffered various difficulties – we’ve given lifts to people whose hospital transport has been cut, we’ve helped with transport when benefits have been cut and we’ve helped people who need to get to a foodbank or who need help filling out official forms.
“If you need assistance, advice or support, just call or come along to one of my advice sessions. We will always help you when we can.”
1.00pm-2.00pm Weoley Castle Library, 76 Beckbury Road, B29 5HR
1.00pm-2.00pm Allen’s Cross Community Centre, Tinkers Farm Road, B31 1RH
You can call me on 07830 945754 or email email@example.com
The new Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy, set out his economic vision for Birmingham at Weoley’s meeting last night and launched Julie Johnson’s official campaign to win in Weoley again this May.
Birmingham has been grossly unfairly targeted by the Tory government. They’ve cut our budget much more than other areas, but, despite this, Labour in Birmingham has been able to defend many local services and even build 1,000 new council homes.
Cllr Clancy warned Weoley Labour members that the Tories are “dismantling the welfare state before our very eyes”, but, referring to his “budget for change”, he reaffirmed his promise to protect Labour values by investing in children’s social care, increasing the wages of low-paid careworkers and providing free school meals for all Birmingham children, while ruling out any question of introducing a congestion charge in Birmingham city centre.
Cllr Clancy committed the council to keep building new homes and to devolving more decision-making power to local areas, saying that electing Julie as Labour’s second councillor in Weoley will give Weoley residents a say in the future of jobs and services in Birmingham.
Following Cllr Clancy’s endorsement, Julie Johnson said, “Here in Weoley, Labour Party members are simply fed up with endless Tory government cuts in services. We meet people all the time who are unable to cope and we are determined to give people practical help. In short, if the government won’t help people, then we will.”
Julie said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be representing Labour in Weoley and I’m very proud that I have the opportunity to develop strong links within the community.
“I’ll be meeting as many people as possible during my visits to community events and to our local schools during our campaign – and knocking on doors, of course!
“Since he was elected, Steve Booton has done a terrific job. Weoley now needs a second Labour councillor to add to the work he’s done and I’m the woman for that job!”
I have campaigned tirelessly in Weoley since 2011. I am committed to the people here having the rights they are entitled to. A local Councillor’s ability to improve the lives of residents and local people is governed both by national policies, as well as his or her commitment to local constituents.
Unfortunately, the current three local Tory Councillors have failed to stand up for the people of Weoley and Birmingham. They have actively supported vicious and unfair Tory-led Government cuts to Birmingham Council’s budget, affecting our services and our jobs.
Local Tories have openly supported the bedroom tax and have publicly declared that foodbanks are for “people who cannot manage their money or cook!” The Tory Councillors’ idea of representing the people of Weoley is to pick up litter and clean road signs!
Over the last four years, I have represented people in Court threatened with eviction because of the Bedroom Tax. I have helped families to be rehoused in Weoley because of the housing shortage created by the lack of house-building programmes. I have raised money for a local foodbank, although I think foodbanks are a national disgrace in 21stcentury Britain. I know that foodbanks help not just those on out-of-work benefits, but also many working families on such low wages that they have no money left for food after rent, heating and water bills are paid. I am proud to represent the Labour Party, which will get rid of the Bedroom Tax and zero-hours contracts and raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour.
Along with Richard Burden, my team of Weoley volunteers and I are organising a campaign with local residents, Centro and Birmingham bus companies to improve local services and instate traffic-calming measures in Gregory Avenue. We set up a Community Hub in Weoley Castle along with local churches to work in partnership to sustain and improve support services for young parents and elderly residents. I hold a monthly advice surgery in St Gabriel’s Church, dealing with individual residents’ issues.
As a tenant adviser, I have over 20 years’ experience of building partnerships between different agencies and local communities across the country. This involves consulting local communities, helping people to organise so they have a voice, representing individual housing cases and dealing with wider neighbourhood issues such as antisocial behaviour.
I am not only willing to fight for people’s jobs, wages and services, but for their right to be governed by a party that cares for working families rather than rich millionaires (many of whom are private landlords raking in housing benefits on overpriced and under-repaired properties!).
The people of Weoley deserve better – they deserve affordable, well-managed houses; good schools for their children; proper healthcare; a living wage; and care for the elderly and vulnerable in the community. That’s why a vote for me is a vote for a better future for every family living in Weoley.
On the 7th of May, a vote for Steve Booton is a vote for working families.