Illegal offroading tackled on Brownhills Common

I first noticed the new anti-vehicle measures under the old rail bridge under the Chester Road three weeks ago. Let's see the buggers destroy these. 1:15pm, Sunday, 6th November 2011.

Thanks to the wonderful Kate Goodall at Walsall Council, I’m finally able to heap my praise on the people who’s been gradually improving the anti-vehicle barriers on the old railway line at Engine Lane, Brownhills. That area of the common has been plagued by illegal offloading for years, and its incidence ebbs and flows. It’s a hard area to seal off, but I’m liking the latest measures a lot.

For people who don’t realise, this activity may be fun, but it’s illegal,  it scares the wildlife – not least the deer – and really, really annoys the landowners, cyclists and walkers who are all using the land legally. Scrambling here has destroyed the quality of the tracks, which in winter turn to muddy slurry. Sadly, few of those who partake of the activity seem to appreciate the selfishness of it.

The following video was captured by bike-cam on the 23rd of October 2011:

Kate obtained the following press release for me… I think I owe her another beer.

Partnership working at its best to tackle Brownhills off-road bikers

Police officers, residents, local businesses, the Area Partnership and Walsall Council have worked together to tackle off road bikers who were causing a problem in Brownhills.

The community decided to take action to deal with the ongoing issue of off road bikes being ridden on the Common and land off Engine Lane, which is situated off the main Chester Road (A5) Brownhills.

Brownhills, Rushall, Pelsall and Shelfield Area Partnership has helped to fund the installation of concrete rings to stop the bikers from accessing the land. Since the rings were installed two weeks ago, police say there have been no reports of the bikers causing a nuisance.

Walsall Council’s Street Pride team installed the rings, along with help from local residents and businesses who helped in the transportation of the 1m long deterrents.

Police in Brownhills have also been operating a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach and have been prosecuting people for riding vehicles on the land to help put a stop to the noise, nuisance and damage caused to local land by off road bikes.

Sgt Hawley from Brownhills Police said: “This had been a problem for some time so the community decided to work together to install the concrete rings. Lots of people helped – from the local farmer who used his tractor to transport the rings, to the Partnership who supplied the funding and the One Stop Stores Ltd who also used some of their community funding.

“Since the rings were installed the problem seems to have gone away which we are absolutely delighted about,” he added.

Mini motorbikes, or mini-motos, are not approved for road use so can only legally be driven on private land with the permission of the landowner.

Many mini-moto owners do not realise this and are using them unlawfully on common land and public roads.

Some off-road bikes are road-legal but should still not be used on pavements or park areas.

Steve Alexander, maintenance manager at One Stop Stores Ltd on Apex Road, said they also decided to help out after they were approached by the land owners of the farm at the back of the head office about problems they were having with off road vehicles who were using land owned by One Stop Stores to access the farm land.

He said: “We looked at the options and decided that we would install some concrete rings at the base of the land to stop the 4×4 vehicles getting on. This proved successful and the larger vehicles moved on but there was still the issue with the motorbikes. I was then contacted by Sgt Hawley from Brownhills Police Station about the bike issue so we met up and discussed what else we could do to resolve this issue. We decided to install more concrete rings and this has now hopefully completely resolved the issue.”

Councillor Zahid Ali, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Walsall Council, said: “This issue was a real problem for residents as the bikers were causing a nuisance and were a potential danger for those who lived nearby.

“It is great to hear of organisations working together with the local community to tackle these sort of issues,” he added.

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10 Responses to Illegal offroading tackled on Brownhills Common

  1. Mick P says:

    It took me a while to click, but you mean ‘off roading’ don’t you Bob? A cruel trick played by the spellchecker perhaps?

    • Ahem. There’s no excuse, but…
      I’m a mac user, as some may have gathered. Apple insist on incorporating lots of helpful features into their operating systems, which are usually very good. Since upgrading to Lion, the latest version, there is an iPhone style autocorrect feature, which on the whole works really well. Except it does stuff like correcting ‘offloading’ to ‘offloading’ automatically without telling you, and you look a right prat. It’s this close >.< to being turned off.
      My problem is that however hard I persevere, there's a psychological issue with me and proofreading in the editor. I can't see errors until a post is published, and even then, often not at all.
      I often wonder what folk think who subscribe to me by mail – they must get the first draft of everything and conclude that I'm an illiterate moron. Which wouldn't be far from the truth.
      Seriously, though, I welcome folks flagging this stuff up. Thank you, please do tell me if I've screwed up. You lot are my quality control. Ahem.

  2. Pablo Oplywiss says:

    I’m pleased this has been a success.

    I’ve written to the council regarding Northfields Way, or as Talking Heads would call it, “The Road to Nowhere”. We get all sorts up there – dealers, courting couples, Grease-style road races, HGV parking, fly tipping to name but a few. There is no need for the road to be open past Allerdale Road, but the council cite a right of way towards Coopers Bridge. Bunkum!

  3. Mick P says:

    Hey Bob, so many people read your superb blog, me included, specifically because your ARE so literate. I share your problem with proofing on screen and can always spot more errors if something is on a printed page, but that’s just not the way of things so often these days. Blog on!

  4. Mick P says:

    See, I’ve left a flippin’ error in that last comment. Sheesh.

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  7. Edwina says:

    I feel for you guys re the spellchecker but you just have to check before you print, long winded, but necessary if you want it correct.
    Re the motor bikes … I fear that they haven’t really gone away, merely moved places to ride. I live pretty close to Chasewater and the youngsters and their bikes cause mayhem thereabouts, whizzing along the canal causing everyone to jump out of their way. When my husband phoned the police he was told that they were sorry but we would just have to put up with it as they hadn’t got the staff to deal with such matters. We have youngsters riding their push bikes and these morons on their motor bikes two and three atop just blast by with little concern for other users along the canal, hopefully they will end up in the cut and not the ramblers, dogs or other youngsters on their push bikes. Surely these bikers have parents who know exactly what they are doing? Time to get tough and take their bikes off them and crush them, I know they are supposed to but they are not operating that policy at the minute.

  8. Steven Guest says:

    really needs revising the barriers at the end of engine lane, the land owner is not taking his responsibility seriously, if the honey wasn’t available the little “B”s wouldn’t appear.
    i did see a few of these retrieving a bike from the horses fields next to the rising sun toward the bridge. but the blight they have on the engine lane and coppice side roads, wheelying up and down and down a break neck speeds whilst other people avoid them is just a joke and if confronted your life then becomes endanger as they start getting violent.
    the police say their hands are tied and that the land owner should put more barriers in, i am just waiting for someone to get hurt, with factories and the horse stables i the vicinity it is only a matter of time.
    when the police did attend and confiscate a few bikes the next day we had a youth gesturing at the offices for a good hour saying we all reported him and he had his bike took off him then threatened revenge on the works.

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