Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Come and see the dinosaurs in Chelmsley Wood

ROARSOME: The dinosaurs will be in the
shopping centre until Friday
A DINOSAUR exhibition has been installed at Chelmsley Wood shopping centre.
The line-up of prehistoric creatures includes a 15ft Brachiosaurus and a 12ft wide Triceratops. Families can also take part in free workshops and fossil digs.
The dinosaurs will be on display until Friday (October 31) from 11am-4pm.

Monday, 27 October 2014

All Hallow's Eve event in Chelmsley Wood

TOOTHY GRIN: Come and carve a pumpkin lantern at
Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church

A ‘LIGHT Night’ event will be taking place at Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church on Friday evening.
The family party will feature traditional games – including apple bobbing - and pumpkin carving. Food will also be served.
The event runs from 5.00-6.30pm. Tickets are limited, so ring 0121 788 3402 to book your place.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Model Railway Exhibition in Castle Bromwich

FULL STEAM AHEAD: Birmingham Model Railway Club,
which has organised the event, was founded in 1928
BIRMINGHAM Model Railway Club will be holding an exhibition in Castle Bromwich today (Saturday).
There will be detailed displays, traders and society stands at Arden Hall, between 10.30am-4pm.
Admission is £3 for adults, or £1.50 for children. Family tickets are available for £8.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Chelmsley Wood venue receives £80,000 boost

A CHELMSLEY Wood venue has been handed almost £80,000 to spend on improving its facilities.
The Three Trees Community Centre, in Hedingham Grove, was awarded the grant by the Veolia Environmental Trust. The welcome windfall will be used to refurbish the toilets, corridors and community room.
Neil Roberts, chairman of the Three Tree’s management team, said: “The improvements this grant will fund will mean we can continue to offer space to all sections of our community, young and old and whatever their background.”
The grant was one of 51 agreed at the trust’s quarterly meeting on September 8, with a total of £1.5m awarded to community and environmental projects across the UK.
Paul Taylor, executive director, said: “The centre needs to be congratulated on securing a grant from us. Demand for funds is high and it succeeded in a very competitive environment.”

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Chelmsley Wood residents voice concerns about TV series filmed on the estate

CONTROVERSY: The first episode of People Like Us, which will air on
BBC3 next Wednesday, features residents including Sade (pictured above).

A NEW documentary series about Chelmsley Wood has caused controversy before the first episode has even aired.
Councillors and community leaders are concerned that People Like Us, which starts on BBC3 next week, will only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about the estate.
The six-part programme will introduce viewers to local residents including "determined jobhunter" Sade and Antonio, a man "whose criminal past is never far behind."
Fears have been fuelled about the way the area will be portrayed, after the first series, which was filmed in Greater Manchester, attracted fierce criticism.
Residents living in Harpurhey accused film-makers of making their hometown look like "a slum".
Such was the backlash, more than 1000 people petitioned the BBC to pull the plug on the series and the channel eventually promised it would not return to Manchester for a second run.
Instead the production company settled on Chelmsley Wood earlier this year, handing out leaflets and tweeting people to ask if they'd like to take part.
With just a few days until the opening episode is broadcast, many locals have spoken of their concerns.
Reverend Neil Roberts, from Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church, has written of his reservations on his blog.
"Understandably, many of us have been extremely wary, experience has shown that this sort of thing doesn’t often end well. Benefit Street in particular and reality TV in general doesn’t have a glorious reputation for building people and communities up.
"I am prepared to apologise profusely if this isn’t the case, but the only time people usually show interest in what would be stereotyped as ‘deprived communities’, is either to patronise it or to make fun of it. We’ll see if People Like Us manages to break the mould."
Councillor Karl Macnaughton (Green, Chelmsley Wood) feared that the programme would gloss over the area's many positive points.
"During my time as a local councillor, I have knocked on many doors in Chelmsley Wood and spoken to a lot of people and I can honestly say they are the friendliest, kindest and most caring bunch," he told the Birmingham Mail.
Many residents have also registered their concerns on social media.
Writing on Facebook, Louise O'Mahoney said: "Will it be showing all the talented young people that have made something of themselves? I doubt it."
And Wayne Elcock, who runs a local boxing initiative, revealed that he'd stopped the show filming in his gym after their first visit.
"From the trailer I believe I made the right choice," said the former British middleweight champion.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Road improvement works start in Castle Bromwich

AT A CROSSROADS: What the junction is expected to look
like once the Hurst Lane Place project is complete

EXTRA parking spaces will be created as part of a project to improve the centre of Castle Bromwich, which got under way today (October 20).
Businesses have previously petitioned Solihull Council to improve facilities, following concerns that customers were struggling to find somewhere to park when visiting the shopping parade.
Now additional bays will be created in the service road alongside the north side of the Chester Road. These are expected to be completed by the end of next month.
To limit disruption, construction will then stop in the run-up to Christmas and restart on January 5.
The second phase of the £1.3m project will see road narrowing work to reduce the speed of traffic and alterations to pedestrian crossings. Ageing street lighting and traffic signals will also be replaced as part of the improvement work.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “We’ve listened carefully to residents and businesses in the area and this project is about making this part of a busy section of the Chester Road a space for people and not just a place for movement of traffic.
“The works will encourage lower traffic speeds and will better meet the needs of pedestrians and cyclists to feel safe moving through the area.”
A previous study conducted by the council claimed that 90 per cent of residents were in favour of the development. Work is expected to be complete by the end of March.
For more information, visit www.solihulll.gov.uk/hurstlaneplace.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Castle Bromwich Singers' annual show

TONIGHT is your last chance to see Castle Bromwich Singers’ annual show Anything Goes.
The performance takes its name from a classic Cole Porter musical and whisks audiences off on a tour of music through the decades.
Proceeds from the show, taking place at Arden Hall, will go to Solihull Life Opportunities (SoLO).
Doors open this evening at 7pm, with the show starting at 7.30pm. Tickets £7 adults and £4 for under 16s,with refreshments available.
For more information about Castle Bromwich Singers, visit http://castlebromwichsingers.madewithjam.org/

Councillors slam suggestion of building rail depot on Chelmsley Wood's greenbelt

OUTCRY: Solihull Council have slammed plans to build a HS2 maintenance
depot on Chelmsley Wood's doorstep

COUNCILLORS have voted unanimously to oppose proposals to build a high-speed rail maintenance depot on farmland near Chelmsley Wood.
It had previously been agreed that the marshalling yard, which will be used to store train carriages and wagons, would be developed on derelict land at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.
But recently a group of MPs argued that the inner-city site could be put to better use and have instead thrown their weight behind finding an alternative location.
Two sites in the borough have been suggested. The first is the area of greenbelt land next to Chelmsley, with a separate site at Birmingham International Station also under consideration.
With the HS2 line already set to pass within a few hundred metres of Yorkminster Drive, residents are appalled by the thought of further disruption and loss of open space.
At this week’s Full Council meeting, a motion was put forward by Councillor Karl Macnaughton (Green, Chelmsley Wood), calling on members to make their feelings known to HS2 Ltd.
“You can imagine how a maintenance yard with tens of long trains being maintained overnight will fit in with the local environment,” he said.
“It would involve engineering works, cleaning, all under enormous floodlights with the peak working period being midnight to 5am.”
Councillors across the political divide rose during the debate to voice their concerns.
Speaking to this blog following the meeting, Coun Macnaughton warned of the huge impact that the depot would have locally.
“With HS2 already blighting Chelmsley Wood and taking up our green space, which we can’t afford to lose, it would be a big kick in the teeth to have the maintenance depot tacked on to the edge of Chelmsley Wood as well.
“It’s the landowners and property developers at Washwood Heath who want the depot in our back yard… as it would be in their financial interests.”

CONCERN: Coun Karl Macnaughton

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman has also waded into row and last month vowed to “strongly resist” the proposals.
However, her fellow Member of Parliament Lorely Burt, who represents the neighbouring constituency of Solihull, is among those who believe a depot could be a big boost for local employment.
“There is a huge opportunity to create 600 jobs in Solihull and several thousand in one of the poorest areas in East Birmingham,” she said. “However, I would point out that the Chelmsley Wood site is just one alternative.”

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

25,000 people sign Chelmsley Wood family's petition

FAMILY PET: 18-month-old Black Foot was hit by a car and
killed, leaving her owners heartbroken.

THE sad death of a much-loved family pet has led a Chelmsley Wood family to campaign for a change in the law.
More than 25,000 people from around the country have signed the online petition launched by Daniella Catton, whose cat Black Foot was hit by a car and killed last month.
The collision was witnessed by Daniella and her partner Andy, who were in the garden at the time. To their dismay, the motorist, who is understood to have been driving a private hire cab, did not stop at the scene.
Now the 32-year-old is calling for highway laws to be overhauled, so that drivers are required to stop and report a collision involving a cat.
At present, the Road Traffic Act requires a driver to contact police if they hit a dog or farm animal, but there is no obligation if they run over a cat or wild animal.
Daniella said that the existing legislation is “outdated” and needs to be changed.
“The ‘Black Foot Law’ will ensure that all cats are treated with the same consideration as dogs, sheep, cattle and other livestock. Cats are not vermin!”
The incident was captured on CCTV and reported to police and Solihull Council on September 2.
A council spokesman said: “The CCTV was brought to the attention of our Licensing Team, however as only the side of the vehicle was recorded it was not possible to positively identify the vehicle or driver involved. Therefore we are not able to take any further action.”
You can sign Daniella’s petition, which she plans to hand in to Parliament, at www.theblackfootlaw.com

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Consultation starts on plans to open engineering academy in Chelmsley Wood.

TRAINING BASE: The college will help tackle the skills
shortage facing the manufacturing industry.

AMBITIOUS plans to build a state-of-the-art engineering academy in Chelmsley Wood are to be put out for public consultation.
The project was given the go-ahead by Chancellor George Osborne in August; one of several sites around the country which will provide specialist technical training to young people.
Two months on and plans have now been drawn up to develop a campus on land between Chelmsley Road and Conway Road.
The site would be modelled on an existing college in Coventry and would cater for over 600 14-19-year-olds. If all goes to plan, the facility could welcome its first intake of teenagers by September 2016.
The academy partners have said they are keen to hear what potential students, parents, employers and the wider community think about the proposals.
Chief Executive of the WMG Academy Trust, Dr Richard Hutchins said: “This is an important stage in the development of our second WMG Academy. We really want to hear the views of all sectors of the community.
“Our goal is to enable students from across Birmingham and Solihull to access to the same high-quality, innovative teaching we will be providing in the WMG Academy in Coventry; giving them the chance to gain technical qualifications alongside the national curriculum and gaining important business skills such as team-work, problem-solving and leadership.”
People are encouraged to complete an online questionnaire and there is also a public meeting scheduled to take place within the next few weeks.
To find out more about the proposals and take part in the consultation (which runs until November 30) go to www.wmgacademysolihull.org.uk/

The academy is being sponsored by the University of Warwick and has the backing of industry heavyweights including Jaguar Land Rover and Prodrive.
It is one of seven University Technical Schools (UTCs) that were given the green light over the summer. The aim is to train young people to pursue a career in industries such as engineering.
Four out of five manufacturing companies have experienced problems recruiting new staff, and Business Secretary Vince Cable warned earlier this year that the skills shortage facing the industry was a major cause for concern.
The blueprint for the North Solihull college will be the WMG Academy for Young Engineers, which opened in Coventry last month.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Traveller caravans invade pitches at Bluebell Park, Chelmsley Wood

POLICE and council officials were called out to Chelmsley Wood this morning (Friday) after a group of caravans pitched up on parkland.
The travellers have set up camp on football pitches in Bluebell Park and it’s understood that a number of junior matches that were due to take place tomorrow are likely to be cancelled
Several residents posted on Facebook, voicing their anger about the arrival of the eight caravans, which rolled onto the site at just before 12noon.
Claire Pickles Tyers wrote: “They need to leave now. That park is well used by local kids and dog walkers. Those travellers have no right to be there.”
Gill Linforth added: “I have called the council. Whilst I do not live in CW, I totally support my fellow council taxpayers and we will all be picking up the bill for the damage we know the travellers will cause.”
Solihull Council said it was aware of the situation and was working with West Midlands Police to resolve the matter peacefully.
If travellers do not leave promptly, local authorities usually issue a notice ordering them to leave the land they have occupied.
In a separate incident last month, the council was left with a bill running into thousands of pounds after caravans left a trail of destruction in Chadwick End Park and Tudor Grange Park.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, the leader of Solihull Council, said: “I would like to reassure residents and businesses in Solihull that the council will continue to work with the police and other partners to stop these illegal occupations of sites and if they do occur, to use whatever legal avenues are available to resolve them as speedily and decisively as possible.”

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Apple Day Weekend at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

ROSY RED: Dozens of varieties of apple are grown at
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens.
PIP, pip hooray! Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are getting ready for their annual celebration of the humble apple.
Traditional varieties of the fruit, harvested from the gardens and other local orchards, will be on display in the green house.
Visitors can also enjoy a falconry display, molly dancing and a guided tour of the grounds. There will also be stalls laden with autumn produce and demonstrations of wood turning and bee keeping.
Apple Day Weekend takes place this Saturday and Sunday (October 4 and 5), from 12noon-4pm.
For full details and admission prices visit the Hall Gardens' website.

Core Blimey: There are around 7500 varieties of apple and they are cultivated for lots of different reasons. Some, such as the sour-tasting Calville Blance d'Hiver, are ideal for cooking. Those partial to a bit of cider won't go far wrong with the Redstreak, well-known in Herefordshire and Somerset. Other varieties you might see on show this weekend include Wyken Pippin, Margil and Catshead - which has been been grown in England for centuries.