Showdown at Black Patch Park – a new podcast on the Grassroots Channel

OK so a slightly dramatic headline as you can see from the smiling photo. This programme is one of those occasional episodes when we manage to bring an active citizen together with the politician who’s thwarted their efforts (you might like to listen to Albert Bore and Natalie Brade).

For four years Simon Baddeley (the tall one) has campaigned with other Friends of Black Patch Park to protect this urban green space which is in Sandwell but sits just on the boundary with Birmingham. Sandwell Council had zoned some of the land for industrial development. The friends campaigned widely – including making their own media on youtube and using Flickr and Wikipedia to keep tabs on facts and images – until finally something moved. Earlier this year Councillor Bob Badham (cabinet member for Transport and Regeneration) said the council would review those plans, with the aim to preserve the park as a park.

This podcast is the first time the politician and the campaigner have had a chance to really talk, and I have to say that is part of what we try and do from time to time, create a space where relationships can grow a little.

We also mention a event coming up to explore neighbourhood policing in Birmingham. The Chamberlain Forum is hosting the Chief Constable of the West Midlands and Bishop of Birmingham to explore how policing is responding to what communities want. You are welcome to come to the free event in Digbeth on the morning of June 13th. Details of how to book can be found here.

Other relevant links are:

Birmingham Open Spaces Forum

Neighbourhood Policing (PDF)


  1. Simon says:

    Thanks for arranging this conversation Nick. Gosh we go back a long time but this marks for a transition between broadcasting (that fine feature you created for BBC Regional TV ‘Losing the Plot’ about the Victoria Jubilee Allotments campaign (entertaining but not superficial about the land use issues involved in protecting urban growing space) and now 7 years later a podcast with Cllr Bob Badham, Head of Sandwell Council’s Built Environment to mark a good stage in a 4 year campaign to prevent the loss of a fine pocket park in an area of Birmingham with minimal green space. The broadcast is better than the narrowcast but that’s all about diferences in the time and energy that were expendd on the former. Technically the podcast was exemplary. Bob and me were the problem, but even so it was good we talked. It’s a start on collaboration versus the goodies vs. the baddies. I applaud your searching experimentation into the grammar of this emerging medium. There was a famously useful trade book called the Grammar of TV Production bt Desmond Davies. my stepfather who was involved with radio from dropping out of university in the 1930s (see ‘my’ Jack Hargreaves article in Wikipedia) was intrigued by the way media grammar changed and would have been astute on the ‘Grammar of Narrowcasting’. I think it comes from doing it just like a carpenter gets to know things through the constant practice of his craft. I have learned a lot from you and you have been stalwart in support of my causes – as well as setting me off in novel directions.

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