Sunday, 26 April 2015
POLICE have released CCTV images of several young men they want to speak to in connection with off-road racing around streets and open spaces in Chelmsley Wood.
The use of bikes and mini motos is an ongoing problem on many local estates, but the number of complaints tends to shoot up with the arrival of the lighter nights and warmer weather.
As reported on this blog last summer, police have previously faced problems catching the culprits and there has been frustration among many residents that more isn't being done to tackle the problem.
Police hope that the pictures released this week will help them to track down those who have been tearing around parks and along pavements in Chelmsley.
Patrols have also been stepped up in Kingshurst and earlier this month officers issued an official warning to an individual who was riding around the Babbs Mills area.
A Solihull Police spokesman said: "If off-road bikes are causing a nuisance in your neighbourhood and you have information about the use of these vehicles, where they're being ridden and who by, then please call 101."
Local people's concerns:
Claire Beresford said there was a problem with racing by the river, near Cambridge Drive, Marston Green. "My kids play there and the last couple of days there's been bikes up and down. Plus one of them had a young child riding a mini bike with him. Neither were wearing helmets."
Nicky Cane said she was tailgated by a group of lads on bikes as she drove down the Collector Road earlier this month. "They were that close that if I'd have had to of braked suddenly there would have been an almighty pile up and probably fatalities as some of the idiots didn't even have helmets on! God knows about the legality of the bikes but all I do know is that they absolutely don't care for anyone's safety!"
Saturday, 25 April 2015
|ELECTION: Green Party|
candidate Alison Gavin
The impact of HS2 will be considerable for the people of North Solihull. Do you believe the scheme should go ahead and if so what steps can be taken to mitigate the disruption?
The Green Party and I are not in favour of HS2. It is not needed, it would widen the north-south economic divide, severely damage our environment and cost an arm and a leg. Green Councillor Chris Williams went to Parliament to speak up for mitigation on noise, moving the line another 100 metres eastwards and turning a proposed embankment past Chelmsley Wood into a viaduct.
There is still a gap in living standards, employment levels and health between North and South Solihull, what do you believe can be done to address this inequality?
Regeneration began in earnest before the recession but progress has been halting since then. Austerity measures have not helped the region, so it is important that we support an anti-austerity approach. The communities and local councillors in the North of the borough are working hard to ensure that the community is supported. I think that, in the medium to long term we need to ensure that multi-agency working helps to bridge the gap.
Two of the main concerns for people in the north of the borough are the lack of affordable housing and loss of green space - if elected as MP for Meriden how would you address what are sometimes conflicting problems?
Green space is being decimated in North Solihull. Smith’s Wood for example has less green space than any other ward in Solihull. North Solihull was built to high density but with green space to compensate. There needs to be a moratorium on loss of further green space here now. On housing, Greens would scrap the right to buy – it has more than run its course now – and would certainly not introduce right to buy of housing association properties as the Conservatives propose. There are hundreds of thousands of empty homes across the country but the law does not allow enough powers to local councils to take tough action. I would push for more powers to be devolved to local authorities. I would also push for house building on brownfield sites such as Powergen headquarters in Shirley and a redevelopment of Chelmsley Wood town centre to include housing.
|GROWING SUPPORT: The Greens are now the second|
largest party, and official opposition, on Solihull Council.
The Council does now better understand people’s concerns thanks to the persistence of our Councillors. This doesn’t mean absolutely everything is better but some lessons have been learned so certain mistakes won't be repeated. When the regeneration started the budgets were huge and the regeneration scheme promised the earth. People are now over the fact the “nirvana promised” is not around the corner but through us constantly focussing on the need for action on village centres and new schools, we have seen a big improvement there. Some of the problems such as the Longley Walk “muddy” mound are being resolved. However, some still remain such as the lack of action on parking areas off Tamar Drive and Green Party Councillors are pushing for change.
Some people have accused Green Party policies of being unrealistic or financially unviable. What would your response be to this?
The Green Party’s manifesto has been fully costed and drawn up on the back of research by academics over the past two years. Some of the very long term policies are long term ambitions and not in the manifesto as we know they can't be achieved in the next 5 years.
Finally, why should people in Meriden vote Green on May 7
Our local councillors work very hard to preserve the green space and improve the quality of life of all residents- especially those who are vulnerable. We need more Green councillors locally so that more of this work can be done. Nationally, the Green Party are the only party who have made a serious commitment to social justice, the more Green MPs we have the more we can narrow the gap between the rich and poor by enhancing the quality of life of all constituents.
Thursday, 23 April 2015
candidate Caroline Spelman
There is still a gap in living standards, employment levels and health between North and South Solihull, what do you believe can be done to address this inequality?
Two of the main concerns for people in the north of the borough are the lack of affordable housing and loss of green space - if re-elected as MP for Meriden how would you address what are sometimes conflicting problems?
You have now represented Meriden for 18 years, what would you say your proudest achievements have been in this time?
|DEVELOPMENT: Mrs Spelman says she is proud of the North|
Solihull Regeneration, recently welcoming Health Secretary
Jeremy Hunt to the Chelmund's Cross site.
Conservative policies such as the bedroom tax and welfare reform have been fiercely criticised by some. What would you say to residents affected by these changes?
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
|TEAMWORK: Anne Kendrick (front), with gardeners Stephen Webb and|
Gordon Sammons, the present chair of trustees Simon Cleaver, chair of the
gardens committee David Howell and Solihull's Mayor, Coun Kate Wild.
A WOMAN who played a vital role in restoring Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens to its former glory has been made a patron of the site.
Anne Kendrick was one of the original trustees of the project to reclaim the ten-acre tract of land, which had been neglected for decades.
Thirty years after the hall gardens' trust was formed, Anne's role in restoring one of the borough's hidden gems was recognised by the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Kate Wild.
The Mayor dropped in at the attraction last Friday (April 17) to celebrate National Open Gardens Day.
Coun Wild said: “It is lovely to be in these gorgeous gardens on such a beautiful day – the hard work by all those who volunteer to keep them looking immaculate and true to their heritage is evident.
“It is an honour to be here with Mrs Kenrick, who has been so instrumental in keeping the gardens going right from the beginning of the restoration process, over 30 years ago.”
During her visit, the Mayor also met with the team who help tend the borders and beds of the site and members-of-the-public who had taken advantage of the one-off free admission.
- Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is currently running monthly taster sessions for people who might like to volunteer. The next one is this Friday (April 24) from 10am-12noon. You can register to take part here.
1982: The gardens are "rediscovered". After decades of neglect they are derelict, overgrown and have been repeatedly targeted by vandals. But the basic structure has survived and is much as it would have been in the early 18th century.
1985: The trust is set up to take the lead on the restoration work. Mrs Kendrick is the first chairman.
1988: The gardens open to the public for the first time. Within a decade, the main restoration will be completed, taking the site to how it would have looked between 1680-1740.
Sunday, 19 April 2015
IF you want to vote in the parliamentary and council elections next month, tomorrow (Monday, April 20) is your last chance to register.
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Friday, 17 April 2015
|POPULAR SPOT: Millennium Wood, Marston Green.|
The caravans arrived at Millennium Wood, Marston Green yesterday evening (Thursday).
Earlier today, Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council confirmed that Solihull Council has taken out a court order, requiring the group to leave the site.
If they fail to move off the land, the authorities will take enforcement action.
Solihull Police, who have attended the scene, have requested residents do not approach the travellers.
Update (19.04.15): The parish council has confirmed that the travellers left the land at around 11am today. The area will be assessed for damage and a clean up operation is underway.
Wednesday, 15 April 2015
The 67-year-old was flagged down by the crook in Kingshurst Way on Monday morning (April 13). When she got out of her car, the young man snatched her keys and shoved her to the ground. He then jumped in her Ford Fiesta and sped off.
The victim injured her leg in the fall and was taken to hospital by emergency services, who arrived on the scene within minutes.
Sgt Peter Wall, from Solihull Police, said: "This was a terrifying ordeal for the lady who could easily have been more seriously hurt.
"Thankfully she will make a full recovery, but we need to trace the man responsible to prevent this happening again."
Police are appealing for witnesses to the robbery, which took place at around 10am. The suspect is described as a mixed race man, around 5ft 9in, with facial stubble. He was wearing a grey hooded top during the carjacking.
The Fiesta - yet to be recovered by officers - is silver (registration number BF60 VBT).
Anyone you saw what happened or who has any information should call Solihull Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 113 5000.
Monday, 13 April 2015
THE final list of candidates has been confirmed for next month's parliamentary elections.
Traditionally seen as a safe seat, a lot of the media attention will be focused over the border on the ultra-marginal Solihull.
All the same, the rise of the smaller parties has washed away a lot of the older certainties and there's no doubt that campaigners will be out in force in the days and weeks to come.
Chris Booth (An Independence from Europe): Chris, a chartered surveyor, is standing for a eurosceptic party founded by former UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass.
The General Election takes place on May 7. You have until April 20 to register to vote.
Six questions for six candidates:
With less than a month until polling day, Other Side of Solihull will be looking to put questions to all six candidates campaigning for your vote. This week we will be emailing everyone standing, asking for their response to six questions. Three of these will be the same for every individual; dealing with some of the issues of particular importance to the people of North Solihull. Two others will allow the candidates to respond on the strengths and weaknesses of their individual parties. And the last question will give the would-be MPs a final chance to put their argument about why you should vote for them on May 7. Every set of answers we receive back will be posted on this blog in the order they are returned.
Denise Danks, the supermarket's community life champion, visited young patients at Heartlands Hospital with the chocolate treats - the entire lot had been donated by staff and customers.
“I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to meet patients... and bring a smile to their faces,” said Denise.
“All three of my children have been treated on the children’s unit at Heartlands so it was a poignant moment for me going back to the hospital.”
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Carlos Boente, 33, was already serving time for harassment at HMP Birmingham when he began to phone and text the 19-year-old, whose number he had got from a cellmate.
Boente (pictured right) originally asked the victim to change his Facebook password on his behalf and while the teenager did not know who was contacting her, she agreed to do so as a favour.
From this point on, Boente sent thousands of texts to the woman and called her constantly, telling her he had no family and nobody visited him in prison.
Feeling sorry for him, the woman continued to correspond with him but his communications soon took a sinister turn when he began to ask where she was and if she did not reply, he would leave abusive and threatening messages.
Left exhausted by the endless texts and calls, the victim finally contacted police when he told her he had friends on the outside watching her, sending her a picture of her front door.
Det Con Vanessa Lewis said: “Even when the victim was giving a statement to us about Boente’s behaviour, we witnessed him constantly calling her, shouting down the phone and being abusive.
“Despite knowing we were investigating him, Boente showed no signs of stopping his disturbing conduct. On March 24 [last year], shortly after we blocked his letters and landline contact from the prison, three men entered the home of the woman’s aunt and uncle looking for a safe.”
Boente’s Facebook status two days later – boasting that he sent his “soldiers” to the property – indicated he was behind the burglary.
On June 4, Boente was charged with two counts of threats to kill, one count of harassment, one count of conspiracy to burgle and three counts of possessing a mobile phone while in prison.
He denied all the charges against him, apart from two counts of possessing a mobile phone.
Earlier this year he was cleared of the threats to kill charges but found guilty of the other offences, and sentenced to a total of five years in prison.
Det Con Lewis said: “It is clear that Boente – who operated four Facebook accounts through five different phones from behind bars – thinks he is above the law and unfortunately, does not see prison as a barrier to his bizarre behaviour.
“The woman concerned in this case and her family lived in fear for months. The stress caused by Boente’s actions resulted in family members giving up their jobs and selling their homes, while the victim felt she had lost all control of her life.”
Saturday, 11 April 2015
|COUNTDOWN: There will be some closely-fought battles for council seats|
in North Solihull
AN ATTEMPT by the Tories and Labour to stop the march of the "smaller" parties in North Solihull will be at the centre of next month's local election campaign.
|AS IT STANDS: The current make-up of Solihull Council|
- This year's election takes place on Thursday, May 7. Residents have until April 20 to register to vote.
Thursday, 9 April 2015
|FOND FAREWELL: Headteacher Mary|
Parfitt with the parish council's Frank Bunce
MARY Parfitt, headteacher of Marston Green Infant Academy, is retiring after 20 years at the school.
Last month, Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council visited to make a special presentation to Ms Parfitt, in recognition of her service to the local community.
Frank Bunce, the parish council's chairman, said: "Over the last 20 years more than 2000 local children have started their school life at the infant school.
"Mary has made the infant academy a very special place for local children to start their academic career and she will be leaving a legacy for many years to come."
A number of villagers, including several former pupils, have paid tribute to the popular headteacher on social media.
Donna Ward-Reynolds wrote: "She will be missed by many and the next head has a lot to live up to."
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
|LANDMARK: One of the six griffins, photographed in 2011|
AN EVENT is taking place this week to celebrate the restoration of a group of historic statues.
To celebrate the successful restoration, the 'Day of the Griffins' event will be taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) from 11am-2pm. Visitors can enjoy games and refreshments.
Griffin History: Local legend has it that the griffins were originally a gift to Britain from the Tsar of Russia. While this has never been confirmed, it's a fact that the creatures once looked out over Birmingham from the roof of Lewis. When the department store was renovated, the statues were shifted from the city centre to Yorks Wood, a stone's throw from Kingshurst. They were originally positioned at the entrance to the Scouts Camp, which finally closed in 1972. A lot of the area was used for council houses, although some of the original wood survived and was later designated a nature reserve by Solihull Council. As for the griffins, they continue to fascinate passers-by in nearby Kendrick Avenue and Horne Way.
Monday, 6 April 2015
Details have now been published online about some of the events which will be taking place when the second IMAGE Fest gets underway next month.
Among the activities confirmed so far include a community dinner to commemorate 70 years since the end of the Second World War. The VE Day-themed evening will be held at St Barnabas Church, Kingshurst on May 8.
Meanwhile, the Funbridge Games will once again be staged at Fordbridge Community Primary, on May 2.
There will also be a return for the Castle Bromwich Heritage Festival, in many ways the lynchpin of last year's programme.
Although this time the event - which celebrates the suburb's rich history - will be shifted from the spring to September.
For more about this year's IMAGE Fest, visit the website.
- Pictured left, a re-enactment in Castle Bromwich last year.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
A TEMPORARY walk-in centre will be opening in Chelmsley Wood to relieve the pressure on local hospitals over the Easter break.
With doctors' surgeries closed over the Bank Holiday period, people will be able to seek non-emergency medical advice at the Primary Care Centre, in Crabtree Drive (pictured above).
The service will be available from Good Friday through to Easter Monday, 9am-6pm.
Dr Sue Harrower, a member of the Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The temporary walk-in centre will give our patients greater choice over Easter and help reduce the demand on urgent care services, especially A&E."
Patients are reminded that people should only visit the casualty department with serious injuries and illnesses. Otherwise they are invited to use the walk-in centre, go to a pharmacy or call the NHS 111 helpline.