Street caked in dust as huge building pile branded ‘accident waiting to happen’

A city street is “caked in dust” amid fears a huge build-up of construction supplies is an “accident waiting to happen”.

The huge pile of aggregrate in Sparkbrook has prompted complaints it poses safety risks to locals and walkers using a nearby canal towpath.

The land is owned by GRS Rail, a construction material wholesaler, located on Anderton Road. But the Montgomery Street Co-operative – a Sparkbrook-based group supporting small businesses in the area – said dust from the aggregate also posed a health risk.

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Birmingham City Council and the Canal and River Trust have been alerted.

Co-operative director Alex McDonagh told BirminghamLive: “Initially it was thick cloud of dust covering vehicles and the canals. The aggregate is slipping down onto the towpath and putting pressure on the trees.

“It seems like a accident waiting to happen. Anderton Road is caked in dust and I don’t know how these businesses cope with it all.”

The mountain of aggerate on land owned by GRS Rail in Sparkbrook.

“There must be hundreds of tonnes of aggregate built up and this is not a quarry in the middle of nowhere.

“If the tonnes of the aggregate slide down onto the towpath it could be a hazard to people walking on the towpath.

Street caked in dust as huge building pile branded 'accident waiting to happen'
A car covered in dust from the aggregate and building work in Sparkbrook.

“We want to improve access within the Sparkbrook area through the canals but this becomes quite problematic when you have a mountain of aggregate next to the canal.

Councillor for Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath, Shabrana Hussain told BirminghamLive: “Our environmental protection officer (EPO) has been in contact with GRS Rail about the dust, rubble and noise at the site and has visited the location.

“They are now working together to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.

“I am aware of the residents’ complaints and have asked the EPO to keep me informed of progress and to ensure the issues are dealt with.”

A spokesperson for the Canal and River Trust said: “We are aware of the issue and we are liaising with the landowner to agree a safe method for them to remove the aggregate from our side of the boundary.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “The matter has been brought to the attention of our planning enforcement team, who are looking into this matter and will be in discussion with the site owners.”

A GRS Rail spokesperson told BirminghamLive: “We take our health, safety and environmental responsibilities very seriously and as the site has become busier we have stepped up measures to minimise the potential impacts of our activities (such as dust suppression, noise control, etc).

“We are also in liaison with the council to help identify and address specific concerns so we can make further improvements, with the next wave of improvements due in November.

“We have also intensified our daily inspection regime to ensure than any potential issues are dealt with promptly.

“Finally, although the construction industry is particularly busy at the moment after the lockdowns of the past year or so, we expect things will quieten down through the autumn.”

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