Saturday, 31 October 2015

Celebrate Halloween in Chelmsley Wood

A SPECIAL event to celebrate Halloween will be taking place in Chelmsley Wood this afternoon.
Families are invited to meet at the Victory Garden, in Lumley Walk, and take part in a fancy dress parade down to the Bluebell Community Gardens.
Once there, residents can look forward to a tombola, face painting and traditional apple bobbing. As evening falls, a bonfire will be lit.
If you would like to take part, assemble at the Victory Garden for 3.30pm.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Residents invited to Speedwatch session in Chelmsley Wood

SOLIHULL Council has attempted to allay elderly residents' concerns about speeding in Chelmsley Wood.
Those living at Guillimard Court were worried about drivers travelling too fast on the road outside the housing complex.
They had originally petitioned the council to install a pedestrian crossing, but when the local authority carried out a traffic survey they concluded that there wasn't a sufficient need.
In an attempt to reassure residents - and explain the rationale behind the decision - highways officers invited locals to attend a recent Speedwatch session.
Special speed guns were used to monitor the vehicles travelling along Marlene Croft and, during the course of the morning, no car was found to be travelling faster than 24mph.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said "Speeding can cost lives, which is why we take it so seriously.
"We also want our residents to feel safe when crossing roads and showing them that traffic calming measures are having an effect on drivers’ speeds will hopefully allay any concerns."
The council recently announced it would be introducing a new policy to determine the stretches of road where a crossing would be installed.
Under the criteria, two sections of Windward Way, in Smith's Wood, have been identified among the top priorities in the borough.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Half-Term events in and around North Solihull.

BRICK-BY-BRICK: A two-metre tall TARDIS will be built at the NEC
this week.

LOOKING for things to do now the schools have broken up, here are some of the events taking place locally...

Wild about the Gardens Week: Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens has organised a series of wildlife-themed events to keep the children amused.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is hedgehog day, with workshops, craft activities and advice from the experts about how to attract these prickly animals to your own backyard.
There will also be a talk by the Help4Hedgehogs team at 2pm.

BRICK 2015: Lego fans will be attempting to build a life-size TARDIS using more than 100,000 of the toy bricks.
The tenacious team are painstakingly creating every detail of Doctor Who's famous phone box, with no glue, string or metal pieces to hold their work together.
The Guinness World Record attempt will be the highlight of the BRICK show - a celebration of Lego taking place at the NEC. The event is on at the venue from October 29-November 1.

Hallowe'en Event: There's something spooky going on down at the vegetable patch!
A special event, to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, will be taking place at the Bluebell Community Gardens, Chelmsley Wood on Saturday (October 31.)
Visitors can look forward to apple bobbing, arts and crafts and a costume parade - we'll be posting further details later in the week.

Catch a film: Residents in North Solihull will no longer have to make the trip to the town centre to see the latest blockbusters, with a new cinema now open at the NEC.
The 11-screen multiplex forms part of the Resorts World development, which was officially opened this month.
One of the first films being screened is Spectre - the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise.
The movie, the fourth to feature Daniel Craig as Agent 007, opened today (Monday) amid rave reviews from critics.

  • Know of another event taking place locally? Let Other Side of Solihull know.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Former Kingshurst councillor is made an Honorary Alderman

A FORMER councillor - who represented his local community for 15 years - was this month recognised for his efforts.
Alan Nash, who was a member for Kingshurst & Fordbridge until earlier this year, was made an Honorary Alderman of the Borough.
This is the honour typically bestowed on ex-councillors who had a particularly long or distinguished service.
The Chelmsley Wood taxi-driver was first elected in 2000 and was known in the council chamber for his plain-speaking; campaigning on issues such as the loss of land at Babbs Mill Park.
Mr Nash (pictured, right) also served as Mayor of Solihull - one of the few councillors from the north of the borough to wear the chains of office in recent years. He has the distinction of being the only Labour member to have held the role since the turn of the Millennium.
His wife Flo is still a serving councillor.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Half term bike rides in Chelmsley Wood

SADDLE up for a set of free bike rides taking place in North Solihull next week.
The family events, organised by the charity Sustrans, will both start in Chelmsley Wood and follow traffic-free routes.
Details are as follows:
  • Tuesday, October 27 (3.30pm) Meriden Park to Sheldon Country Park and back again.
  • Thursday, October 29 (2-4pm) Meriden Park to Babbs Mill/the Cole Valley and back again.
For more details call Alice Swift on 07825046069 or email

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Officers appeal for information following the death of Castle Brom cyclist

POLICE have appealed for witnesses following the tragic death of a Castle Bromwich cyclist earlier this month.
Anthony Kimberley, aged 55, was involved in a collision with a Ford Mondeo as he travelled down the Lichfield Road, in Water Orton.
The incident happened on October 8, near the junction with Marsh Lane.
Ambulance crews were called to the crash site at around 10pm and Mr Kimberley was taken to Heartlands Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by medics.
Anyone who witnessed the crash should call Warwickshire Police on 101.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Mexican mercy mission for Chelmsley Wood students

LIFE-CHANGING TRIP: Students from the Grace Academy outside the
newly-built homes in Tijuana, Mexico.

SPIRITED students from the Grace Academy have returned from a two week trip making a massive difference to people's lives in Mexico.
A team of 18 teenagers from the Chelmsley Wood school had travelled out to South America to help build homes for two families.
The Build Hope project saw pupils from five UK schools visit Tijuana - one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico, where poverty is a growing problem.
Before the students arrived, the families were living in the most basic conditions, without access to electricity, running water or a telephone.
The new homes, which had to be started from scratch using only hand tools, were built with concrete foundations and massively improved the locals' quality of life.
Dave Boden, assistant principal, said: "Build Hope is an incredible opportunity for young people to travel overseas and actively engage in making a positive difference."
Each student had to raise almost £1,500 to cover the cost of the trip.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Kingshurst rap artist makes it big at city venue

LOCAL LADY: The Kingshurst rapper features on the new mural.

A KINGSHURST rap artist is among the local faces to feature on a massive mural promoting the region's arts scene.
Melesha O'Garro, better known by her stage name, Lady Leshurr, stares down from the six-storey artwork which has been painted on the side of the Custard Factory.
The mural has been commissioned as part of a campaign to promote Birmingham's creative industries.
The poet Benjamin Zephaniah, musician Mike Skinner and Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones also feature
It was an ideal time to unveil the design; on Wednesday this week Lady Leshurr's latest hit was named Radio One's track of the day.
It's another milestone for the 26-year-old, who started to make mix tapes when she was still a teenager and has previously collaborated with electronic dance duo Orbital.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Marston Green man enters TV's biggest boardroom battle

A MARSTON Green man is hoping to show he has what it takes to launch a business venture alongside one of Britain's best-known entrepreneurs.
Gary Poulton is taking part in the latest series of BBC's The Apprentice, which got underway this week.
In Wednesday night's opening episode, 18 men and women wheeled their suitcases into Canary Wharf (or a studio doing a decent impression of said office block) for their first meeting with Lord Alan Sugar.
The grizzled businessman - known for his plain speaking - will be presiding over a series of challenges designed to test their business acumen (or lack of it.)
Gary, aged 34, will be hoping to persuade Lord Sugar - formerly Sir Alan, before his promotion to the House of Lords - that he is the brightest prospect.
If successful the father-of-one will win a £250,000 investment to help get his business proposition off the ground.
"My game plan is to be myself," he said. "I look like the nice, easy going laidback Brummie, but once I start doing my business people know I’m the real deal.
"I don’t like people trying to talk down to me. People see me as ‘Alroight there I’m Gary from Birmingham’ but little do they know I can fight with the best of them."
Gary, a graduate of Aston University, has previously worked as a project manager for Tesco and is now employed by hospitality firm Whitbread.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Marston Green man joins Star Wars celebration

MAY the four strings quartet be with you…
A Marston Green voice-over artist, who has previously lent his vocal talents to the Star Wars films, is teaming up with the CBSO for a concert with a difference.
Marc Silk will be appearing at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall this week for the musical celebration of the famous sci-fi series.
The rousing score of John Williams will be performed live, interspersed with stories from Marc about what it was like to work on one of the most popular franchises in cinema history.
For fans of the series, the one-off concert will be an ideal appetiser for the release of the seventh film – The Force Awakens – later in the year.
Friday Night Classics: Star Wars will be performed on Friday (October 16). Tickets are available from the box office on 0121 780 4949.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Arrests in Chelmsley Wood following fatal shooting.

SHOT DEAD: Connor Smith
THREE people were arrested in Chelmsley Wood earlier today, in connection with the murder of a teenager last week.
Nineteen-year-old Connor Smith was shot in the stomach in the Hawkesley area of Birmingham.
Following his death last Thursday evening, police launched a murder investigation and had already detained three men in Coventry.
In the early hours of this morning (Tuesday), they swooped on the North Solihull address.
A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and two women, aged 22 and 26, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Det Insp Warren Haines urged anyone with information to come forward.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Engineering academy organises new drop-in session

YOUNG people interested in studying at the WMG Academy for Young Engineers are invited to a "meet the principal" event tomorrow evening (Tuesday).
Building work is now under way on the Chelmsley Wood-based campus, which is expected to welcome its first students in September 2016.
Those keen to take a place there can have a chat with Stewart Tait, associate principal, at North Solihull Sports Centre. Tomorrow's drop-in session runs from 5-7pm.

Castle Bromwich Singers get ready for their concert

CASTLE Bromwich Singers will be raising the roof at Arden Hall this week.
The group will be performing their Circle of Life show from October 14-17. Net proceeds from the concerts will go to Heart Research UK.
Tickets available from Greg (07825 969298) or Stella (0121748 7635). For more details about the Singers, visit

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Big Hoot sculpture flies home to Castle Bromwich

OWL'S ABOUT THAT: The larger birds, above, were put on public display
in Birmingham this weekend.

A SCULPTURE which formed part of a massive public art project has been taken to its new permanent home at Castle Bromwich Junior School.
Pupils there had come up with the colourful design for one of more than 120 owlets which had been strategically placed at venues around Greater Birmingham.
Hands On was designed by
Castle Brom Junior School
Castle Bromwich was one of the select few schools in Solihull invited to take part.
The junior school’s contribution was Hands On! – one of several birds which took pride of place at Birmingham Airport.
The owlet formed part of The Big Hoot – the ambitious art trail which has captured the public’s imagination over the past few months.
The children’s owlets were placed alongside slightly larger statues, whose intricate designs were the brainchild of various professional artists.
This weekend, the bigger birds were all brought together at Birmingham’s Millennium Point so that members-of-the-public had one final chance to see the feathered fellows in all their glory.
On Thursday (October 15), the owls will be auctioned off for charity, with organisers hoping to raise around £500,000 for Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital.
You can find out more about how the project was put together at

Friday, 9 October 2015

Crowdfunding event to launch in Chelmsley Wood

A NEW project to help local people get their idea for a business or community project off the ground is being launched in Chelmsley Wood next week.
The first North Solihull Soup session will be taking place at the Three Trees Centre a week today (October 16.)
In one way the event owes a debt to BBC series Dragons' Den, in which budding entrepreneurs make a pitch to a panel of business gurus and hope they will be persuaded to invest. The difference with Soup is that the people who turn up are the investors!
Here's how it works. Everyone pays £3 on the door and will sit through a four minute pitch from four local people. After each presentation, there will be a couple minutes more to ask questions.
Soup will be served and everyone has the opportunity to chat about the ideas they have just heard.
Afterwards the group votes for their favourite proposal and the one which wins the greatest support will receive all the money collected at the door to put towards their project.
The idea started life in Detroit, America and has quickly caught on around the world.
It was recently decided to get the scheme up-and-running in Solihull, with Chelmsley Wood chosen as one of two venues (another Soup is expected to launch in Dickens Heath.)
The introductory event takes place from 6.00-7.30pm.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Surprising results from survey of Solihull schoolchildren

SOLIHULL schoolchildren are now less likely to smoke, drink or take illegal drugs than they were a decade ago.
A new survey of primary and secondary school pupils, which was presented to councillors last month, shows that on the whole students are living a more healthy lifestyle.
Over 90 per cent of the Year 8 students surveyed said they had never tried cigarettes, compared to two thirds in 2004.
Under age drinking is also well down according to the latest figures.
When questioned last year, only three per cent of Year 6 pupils had drunk alcohol in the past week. Ten years earlier, almost one in five admitted to having done so.
There has also been a marked decline in the number of secondary school children who admitted to having carried a weapon or other item for protection.
One area that may cause some concern for parents is the potential dangers that children are being exposed to online. In the 2014 study there were a number of questions about use of the internet and social media and some of the responses may well ring alarm bells.
Almost 30 per cent of pupils had seen pictures online that had upset them, around one in six had spoken to people they had never met and three per cent confessed they had received a chat message that had frightened them.
On the positive side, both schools and families are working hard to spread the message about staying safe online and an overwhelming majority of those who took part in the survey said that they had been taught to beware of the dangers of using sites such as Facebook.
The survey collated responses from over 8,700 six to 15-year-olds from 66 different schools across the borough.
Park Hall Academy, Grace Academy and John Henry Newman Catholic College were among the schools to take part in the study. The results were discussed in a special meeting held in Cooks Lane, Kingshurst and will be used to improve Solihull’s Healthy Schools programme.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Grandfather banned from Castle Brom Morrisons following doughnut row

A CHELMSLEY Wood man has been banned from a local supermarket following a row over a budget pack of doughnuts, the Birmingham Mail reports.

New scheme to involve women in sport launches in North Solihull

AN INITIATIVE which aims to increase the number of women playing sport was launched in Kingshurst last month
Across the borough, just over 16 per cent of women regularly exercise or play sport on a weekly basis, compared to almost a quarter of men.
In an attempt to address the issue, Solihull Active has launched an initiative to reduce the gender gap.
The Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Glenis Slater, was among those invited to the launch event at the CTC Kingshurst Academy.
She said she was delighted to support the programme and had high hopes it would give women more confidence about getting involved in traditional sports such as netball and tennis, as well as less familiar types of workout.
One of those being demonstrated at the CTC was the Clubbercise classes - dance sessions with disco lights and glow sticks thrown in!

  • You can find out more about the "Solihull Girls Can" initiative at Or why not drop in at the tennis session, taking place at North Solihull Sports Centre this Friday (October 9), from 10-11am.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Another takeaway approved in Castle Bromwich despite local concerns

PLANS to open another fish and chip shop in Castle Bromwich have been given the go-ahead, despite concerns about the glut of takeaways in the surrounding area.
The plans to open a chippy in Hurst Lane had worried residents and local councillors, who argued
there were already 17 other fast food outlets in the local community.
One of the existing takeaways, a short walk away, had gone as far as to start a petition against the proposals – collecting 400 signatures.
Appealing to the council to reject the latest application, they said: “Our family has run a fish and chip shop on Chester Road for 48 years and there are now lots of other hot food outlets in the area – we are losing footfall as these shops are much the same.”
Councillor Gail Sleigh (Con,Castle Bromwich) argued that there was already a sufficient number of takeaways to meet local people’s needs.
The number of takeaways in Solihull has been the subject of fierce debate for some time.
In 2013, plans to build a KFC on the Stratford Road, Shirley led to protests; one local family was so appalled they actually moved house.
Last autumn there was another heated debate about opening a takeaway in Rathlin Croft, Smith’s Wood.
In response, Solihull Council has started to draft clearer guidelines about the number of food outlets which should be allowed to open in main shopping areas.
Although the policy is yet to be finalised and had no bearing on this particular application.
Planning officers had said that the new chip shop would mean that three out of eight units along the parade would be takeaways, but this was not considered an excessive amount.
Councillors noted residents’ objections but agreed to grant permission for the change of use.

  • What do you think? Email or leave a comment below.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Good turn-out for Castle Brom's Apple Day event

TODAY's glorious sunshine brought scores of visitors to the Apple Day event at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens.
Dozens of varieties of fruit and vegetables were on display and there was also a chance to browse stalls and watch demonstrations of traditional crafts, including beekeeping and woodturning.
For details about future events at the Gardens, please click here.

STRICTLY COME PRANCING: These "Molly Dancers" gave several
performances throughout the afternoon.

TAKE YOUR PIP: The garden's summer houses were stacked with
autumn produce, including dozens of species of apple.

WHAT A HOOT: A falconry company gave visitors the chance to get a better
look at several birds-of-prey, including this lively tawny owl.

Chelmsley Wood school raises record amount for cancer charity

TEA UP: Trish Purnell pictured with Bishop
Wilson pupils at a previous Coffee Morning.
CHILDREN and teachers at Bishop Wilson CofE Primary School have raised more than £1100 for charity.
Parents pitched in to serve tea and cake in the school hall, with all proceeds going to Macmillan's World's Biggest Coffee Morning.
Trish Purnell, the school's senior lunchtime supervisor, has been co-ordinating the event every autumn for the past decade and was delighted that a record amount was raised this time round.
Ms Purnell, mother of the Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell, said: "I was keen to see the event become even bigger this year.
"Glynn was able to donate some hampers and a signed cookbook, as well as lots of other prizes from local businesses and volunteers.
"The charity means a lot to me and I'm proud that we have managed to put on one of the biggest events in the West Midlands."
Macmillan started its Coffee Morning event in 1990 and thousands of fundraisers take place around the UK each year.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Plans approved to reintroduce speed cameras to Castle Brom

ROAD SAFETY: This speed camera on the Chester Road was switched
off in 2013, but a new digital device is being installed at the site.

PLANS to bring back speed cameras at two accident blackspots in North Solihull were given the go-ahead last month.
As part of a new pilot scheme, a digital device will be installed on the Bradford Road/Chester Road (between Timberley Lane and Hurst Lane.)
And, if the money is available, Solihull Council’s highways bosses will also consider a second camera
on the northbound carriageway of the Collector Road.
Overall, the council will be pumping £400,000 into the road safety project, which will be run jointly with Birmingham City Council.
The two stretches of road in the Castle Bromwich area have been identified as priorities because both have a history of collisions and drivers breaking the speed limit.
The plans have been agreed just over two years since the decision was taken to switch off more than 300 speed cameras across the West Midlands region.
At the time there was a fierce debate among borough councillors about whether this was the right course of action.
Many Labour and Lib Dem members believed the cameras played a crucial part in road safety and pulling the plug could see a catastrophic increase in accidents.
The Tories, meanwhile, argued that the devices had had their day and that the financial strain of replacing an ageing network would be too great.
In April 2013, when the cameras were turned off, highways bosses said that the emphasis would switch to mobile speed traps, which could be move between locations as required.
But the idea of reintroducing fixed cameras to the most dangerous sites was always on the table, with Birmingham and Solihull spending many months thrashing out an agreement.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, has been told that the success of the new digital technology could pave the way for cameras to be reintroduced in greater numbers across the region.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Anger as Marston Green memorial bench is defaced

A BENCH installed in memory of local men who gave their lives in the First World War has been defaced by vandals.
Marston Green residents are appalled by the damage done to the seat, which was placed in the village’s Garden of Memory last autumn.
The piece of furniture had been specially commissioned to mark the 100th anniversary of war breaking out and was officially unveiled less than 12 months ago.
This month, Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council revealed that people had thrown stones at the bench, chipping the enamel, while initials had been scratched into the surface. The group described the vandalism as “very disappointing.”
The damage comes amid general concerns about groups of youths congregating in the garden.
Residents last month met with the police neighbourhood team to discuss the problem and many are calling on officers to introduce CCTV in an attempt to curb the anti social behaviour. The matter will also be raised at a parish council meeting on November 4.