Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Review of the Year: Part 2


Other Side of Solihull continues its look back on the past 12 months...

June:
Marston Green residents were shocked by the murder of Anne Dunkley, with warm tributes paid to the retired schoolteacher. The pensioner, who was a much-loved member of the local community, had been attacked in her Elmdon Road home. Her nephew, Gareth Emery, was subsequently charged with murder.
There was concern after it was revealed that the number of people using the Kingfisher Food Bank, in Smith’s Wood, had more than doubled.
Frustrations also boiled over in Castle Bromwich, where the council had come in for criticism over a much-hyped road improvement project. Some drivers claimed that the £1.3million scheme was causing chaos during busy periods.
From slow moving traffic to fast horses, it was a rather better month for racing-mad Dora Franklin. The Chelmsley Wood woman had the chance to celebrate her 100th birthday at Royal Ascot, where she rubbed shoulders with some of her favourite jockeys.

July:
There was a huge turn-out in Marston Green for a memorial service held in honour of Anne Dunkley. Her family later thanked the community for the flurry of heartfelt tributes.
A Chelmsley Wood man was given a serious ticking-off by a Judge after he dropped his trousers during a trip to a Coleshill pub. The outrageous antics in the Red Lion cost the man hundreds of pounds in fines, costs and compensation to the bar manager.
Also in trouble were the reckless drivers who were treating Bickenhill Parkway like their own private race track. Footage of their late-night meetings emerged on YouTube and police vowed to take action to stop the street racers.
Elsewhere, users of North Solihull Sport Centre were furious with the decision to sack long-serving lifeguard Ray Lill. Locals mounted an unsuccessful campaign to have the pensioner – who was dismissed for allegedly using his phone at the poolside - reinstated.

August:
It was a damp squib of a summer, but the sun was shining on Chelmsley Wood’s Angela Moore.
She had started writing following a series of health problems and realised her dream of getting a novel published.
Also flying high, quite literally in this case, was teenage daredevil Declan Hughes. To celebrate his 16th birthday, the brave schoolboy completed a skydive in aid of Solihull Life Opportunities (SoLO).
Elsewhere there was shock over the announcement that the Smith’s Wood councillor Mike Sheridan was quitting the Green Party and horror after a clergyman was subjected to a brutal robbery outside the Church of Latter Day Saints, Chelmsley Wood.
Other Side of Solihull also revealed that speed cameras were returning to the borough, with plans to install two new digital devices in Castle Bromwich.

September:
There was a proper stink after a Chelmsley Wood woman failed to clear up after her dog. The fouling
faux-pas saw the owner stung with costs and fines totalling more than £300.
In less pungent news, Castle Bromwich held a Heritage Festival for the second year running,
welcoming a cavalcade of characters from history.
On the day that Labour elected its new leader, it was perhaps strange that the town crier bore a striking resemblance to Jeremy Corbyn!
Changes were also being rung in Kingshurst, to the general dismay of local residents. It was the plans to develop part of Babbs Mill Park which were once again causing controversy and locals vowed they would not give up their fight against the housing development.
Finally came the news that the group of nuns who had inspired BBC series Call the Midwife were looking to find a new home in Marston Green.

October:
We’ve haddock nuff! That was the message from Castle Brom residents who were fed-up with the amount of takeaways opening in the neighbourhood.
Plans to open yet another hot food outlet in Hurst Lane had seen some locals raise a petition, but when the chips were down the council agreed to approve the plans.
Food fights were something of a theme this month, after a man got himself banned from Morrisons in a row over a pack of doughnuts. Grandfather Michael Blackwell said he was dismayed by the supermarket’s decision.
While that particular resident may have been denied a sweet treat, many younger people were actually turning them down by choice.
In an OSOS exclusive, we revealed that Solihull schoolchildren were far healthier today than they were a decade ago.
Also this month, a Marston Green man was unveiled as a candidate on BBC’s The Apprentice and a new cinema opened its doors at the NEC’s Resorts World.

November:
Drivers were less than pleased by the announcement that roadworks on one of the main roads into North Solihull would drag on into 2016.
One quick-witted motorist asked Birmingham City Council if they intended to finished the Chester Road improvements before the next Ice Age.
Over the border in Solihull, attention was also turning to a cold snap, with highways chiefs announcing their preparations for winter.
In Chelmsley Wood meanwhile, there was concern about continuing crime concentrated around the town centre. The number of offences revived fears about local police cuts.
In happier news, a local man decided to get a tattoo tribute to the hospital staff who had provided his mum with vital cancer treatment, and Patricia Hayes, a familiar face at Chelmsley Baptist Church, received a Civic Honour.

December:
Leader of Solihull Council, and Marston Green man, Bob Sleigh was being tipped as a possible candidate to become the region’s answer to Boris Johnson.
The councillor is considered a contender for Mayor of the West Midlands, after plans to create a new combined authority were finally agreed.
There was mixed news for public transport passengers, with confirmation that bus fares were going up yet again, but also an announcement that the Midland Metro could be on its way to areas including Chelmsley Wood.
North Solihull Soup - a new initiative to help fund community enterprises - continued to go from strength-to-strength, and there was fresh debate in the council chamber about the best way to tackle inequalities between the borough’s richest and poorest districts.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Review of the Year: Part 1


As the year draws to a close, Other Side of Solihull takes a look back at 2015...

January:
IT was a great start to the year for a stalwart of the Castle Bromwich community.
Phil White, involved with the local Lions club and a number of other groups, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List.
There was also a reward for Chelmsley Wood man James Hefford – even if he’d had to wait over 70 years to get it.
The 91-year-old, a veteran of the Arctic Convoys campaign, was informed he would receive a Russian bravery medal for the part he played in the war.
Elsewhere two men were jailed after police discovered £72,000 worth of cannabis in a two bedroom flat in Smith’s Wood.
But there was a big boost in local efforts to nurture rather more wholesome business ventures, with the official launch of the multimillion pound Enterprise Centre at Chelmund’s Cross.

February:
Marston Green residents were pleased to receive confirmation of a police restructure, following long-running concerns that the village wasn’t receiving enough attention from officers.
From boots on the ground to homes up high – Chelmsley Wood’s tower blocks emerged as the unlikely stars of a national photographic exhibition.
Over in Castle Bromwich there was once again talk about drivers being slapped with fines for parking on grass verges and pavements, with frustrations boiling over about the behaviour of selfish motorists.
Similar anger was simmering at Solihull Council, where members dismissed calls to introduce the
Living Wage for staff. Green Party councillors – well represented in the north of the borough – were quick to condemn the decision.

March:
The local authority came in for further criticism in March over its handling of plans for a so-called “halfway hostel” in Ipswich Walk, Chelmsley Wood.
Over 500 residents had signed a petition against the scheme, accusing the council of keeping them in the dark about the nature of the proposals.
As one side of the estate saw red, the other had gone green. The success of the Bluebell Community Garden saw volunteer Craig Duffy receiving national recognition.
Students at the Grace Academy received a visit from classical singer – and keen rugby player – Laura Wright. The young performer dropped in as part of an ongoing initiative to get more women involved in the sport.
From a thorny issue to a prickly problem - what to do about a dwindling hedgehog population. Around North Solihull, residents were encouraged to throw their support behind a new project to help the creatures.

April:
There was something of a rumpus in Marston Green after a group of travellers pitched up at Millennium Wood. It would be one of several encampments to appear during the course of the year. If villagers were glad to see the back of the caravans, there was a rather more reluctant farewell to Mary Parfitt, who retired from the local infant school after 20 happy years.
Chelmsley Wood’s Amelia Jane-Harris gave a candid account of her ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease. The debilitating condition had seen the young woman shed 18 stone in the space of just 20 months.
With the nights growing lighter, police once again pledged to take a tough line with those driving off-road bikes around local parks and open spaces.
The ongoing problem of boy racers had previously been identified as a top priority for officers.

May:
Election fever gripped North Solihull as the month began, with voters casting their ballot papers in both national and local elections.
Conservative candidate Caroline Spelman was returned as MP for Meriden with a thumping majority – increasing her share of the vote from 2010.
On the council, Labour lost out to UKIP in Kingshurst & Fordbridge – the defeat of Alan Nash meaning the party was left with one solitary representative.
As some councillors were shown the door, others showed their hand, with news that the local authority was poised to introduce fortnightly bin collections – the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures.
Elsewhere, the Kingshurst & Fordbridge Medical Practice was once again mired in controversy, with allegations that more than 100 complaints had been received about the quality of services.
Also this month, plans to build a new engineering academy in Chelmsley Wood were given the go-ahead.
The proposals had sharply divided the community, amid concerns about the impact that the new campus would have on local infrastructure.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Urgent Care Centre in Chelmsley Wood this Christmas

AN URGENT care centre will be providing medical advice over the festive period.
The service will be available at the Chelmsley Wood Primary Care Centre, Crabtree Drive on December 25-28 and January 1-3.
The initiative, which follows the success of a similar scheme at Easter, is designed to ease pressure on hospital services.
Dr Sue Harrower, from Solihull's Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The pop-up urgent care centre will give our patients greater choice to access healthcare advice over Christmas and the New Year.
"I would also like to remind people that A&E is for serious injuries and illnesses."
The centre is open to patients from 9am-6pm.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Concerns raised over inequality in Solihull

COUNCILLORS have clashed over whether enough is being done to tackle inequality in Solihull.
The Green Party has highlighted a recent Government report which revealed that eight areas in North Solihull (each covering between 1,000 and 1,500 homes) were ranked among the top five per cent of neighbourhoods in the country when it came to deprivation.
Four of these were in Chelmsley Wood, two in Kingshurst & Fordbridge, one in Smith’s Wood and one in Bickenhill (the ward which encompasses Marston Green.)
Councillor Ian Courts, deputy leader of the council, said that the statistics should be treated with some caution, as they did not take account of many of the improvements that had been made locally.
“It’s extremely important not to read too much into the data,” he told this month’s Full Council meeting.
However, Councillor Stephen Holt (Green, Smith’s Wood) remained concerned that despite Solihull’s overall prosperity, there was still “a massive difference” between the standard of living in
different parts of the borough.
Coun Holt urged the council’s Conservative administration to commit to a concerted effort to close the gap.
“It does seem, however you look at the data, Solihull is becoming increasingly polarised between the richest and the poorest areas.
“So can the cabinet member outline what the council is going to do differently over the next five years to try to make sure the next report paints a better picture?”
Coun Courts hit back, arguing that while the survey was published this year, much of the data was collected several years ago, when unemployment was far higher. He also defended the record of the council in addressing inequality.
“The gap in attainment [for GCSE students] between North Solihull’s schools and the rest of Solihull has gone down from 61 per cent in 2004/05 to 22 per cent in 2012/13.
“Now that is a statistic I’m proud of, that is a statistic I intend to push hard. That’s what’s important, not some – dare I say it – rather meaningless national statistics.”

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Community in shock after Chelmsley Wood deaths

POLICE today launched an investigation after a mother and daughter were discovered dead at their Chelmsley Wood home.
The women, named locally as  Pamela and Audrey Dunn, were pronounced dead after paramedics were called to the address in Raglan Way.
Neighbours dialled 999 at around 9am after one of the women was spotted lying on the floor of the dwelling.
Mrs Dunn, aged 80, and her daughter, 48, are understood to have lived in the road for over 30 years.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: "Their deaths are being treated as unexplained.
"Post mortems will take place in due course to establish a cause of death. Police are not seeking anyone else in relation to this investigation at this stage."

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Council confirms commitment to bring the metro to North Solihull

ON TRACK: The Midland Metro is being extended
TRAMS look set to travel through North Solihull as plans advance to expand the Midland Metro network.
A new line, bringing trams into Birmingham city centre, was opened this month and discussions are already under way to extend this down to Birmingham Airport and the new HS2 Interchange Station.
This will mean carriages travelling through the borough, although with two possible routes being considered, it has been uncertain which areas would benefit.
One option would take the trams down the A45, a more direct route but of little use to local commuters.
Councillor Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) this month called on Solihull Council to push for the alternative route through East Birmingham and North Solihull.
“It’s a bit longer and it’s going to be more expensive and when you’re talking about half a billion pounds I can just see a bit of pressure from Wolverhampton and Dudley saying… can you just have a straight line please?”
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, insisted that the borough council was making the case for the second option.
“One of the things I have insisted when I have been involved in these discussions is it’s not right to take the Metro down the A45 as that doesn’t serve people.”
He recalled a previous attempt to bring the Metro through the north of the borough in the 1980s and in particular a heated meeting at Arden Hall, Castle Bromwich, in which some residents spoke against plans to bring “50 tonne carriages” down the Bradford Road.
Over 30 years on, Coun Richards said the council would fight hard to ensure it got an agreement which would make the biggest difference to the local community.
“We are going to get what we want for the benefit of our people,” he said

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Other Side of Solihull - New edition out now


THE latest edition of Other Side of Solihull's monthly digital newspaper is now available.
You can read it for free here and don't forget to contact the team with your stories for the next edition, which will be out in the new year.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Mayor of Solihull's Christmas message

OVER the last six months, my Consort and I have been astonished by the warmth and generosity of the lovely people who live and work in Solihull.  It has been so very noticeable that giving, helping out and loving one’s neighbour are each very prevalent in Solihull. Organisations, too numerous to mention, and individual volunteers make a daily difference to the lives of others.
As Mayor of Solihull, I chose a theme for my year: “Let your Light Shine”. Which, quite simply, means do your best and help out whenever and wherever you see a need.  It can be a small thing like helping a neighbour or a more involved service helping in the community.
Every little thing we can do to help can make a difference.  All of us can help each other in some way, be it something big or quite small.  I have been very pleased to see that this is already happening in so many ways both in the North and the South of Solihull.
Christmas is a time for getting together with family and friends but there are those among us who are less fortunate.  I would ask that we share a thought for those who are alone, sick, elderly or disabled.
The Consort joins me in thanking you all for the work you do to make this borough such a good place to live and we wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.

Councillor Glenis Slater
Mayor of Solihull

Friday, 11 December 2015

Marston Green man makes Apprentice's "final five"


MARSTON Green man Gary Poulton has made it to the semi-finals of BBC's The Apprentice.
Over the last couple of months, Lord Alan Sugar has whittled down the 18 candidates who started the process and Mr Poulton has survived to the final five.
The 34-year-old was one of the oldest of this year's bunch of hopefuls, but his experience may have helped put him within sniffing distance of the coveted quarter of a million pound investment.
Mr Poulton impressed when he was appointed project manager in the seventh week of the competition and won a task which required the teams to open a discount store in Manchester.
Since then it's been a difficult few weeks; the father-of-one has found himself on the losing side on three consecutive occasions and has had his share of narrow escapes in the board room.
Lord Sugar himself has expressed reservations that the Aston University graduate may be too "corporate" to be his business partner.
Deliberating who should be given their marching orders in Wednesday night's instalment, the former Amstrad boss said: "I've been around for a long time, I've been in business for nearly 50 years, and of course I've come across a lot of Garys... I worry you lack entrepreneurial spirit."
In the end, Mr Poulton escaped by the skin of his teeth, earning a spot in the show's notorious "interview week."
All of the remaining candidates will now have their business proposition prodded, poked and possibly torn to shreds by four of Lord Sugar's closest confidantes. Only two will go on to claim a place in the grand final.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Bus ticket prices to rise again

BAD news for bus passengers!
National Express West Midlands, which runs some of the busiest services through North Solihull, has confirmed another increase in ticket prices in 2016.
From January 1, a single adult ticket will rise 10p to £2.30, while the cost of a Daysaver will jump to £4.40 (up 20p).
The cost of weekly and monthly travelcards will also be going up from next month.
Many travellers were quick to criticise today's news on social media, but National Express defended the latest hikes, arguing that the cost of an off-peak Daysaver would actually be reduced.
"We will also be investing tens of millions next year in new services," said managing director Peter Coates.
Some of the operator's busiest services through North Solihull include the Nos 71, 94 and 966.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Event Diary: North Solihull


Other Side of Solihull has put together this handy guide to Christmas events over the coming weeks:

December 11: Christmas by Candlelight, St Mary and St Margaret's Church
Classic carols and seasonal stories starting from 7.30pm.
Tickets are £5 each (including a mince pie and mulled wine.) Call 0121 747 1270.
December 12: Table Top Sale, Chelmsley Conservative Club
There will be all sorts of stalls to browse at this festive fayre, which runs from 12noon-3pm.
Tables are £5 each.
December 12-13: Christmas Remembrance Services, Woodlands Cemetery
Services in memory of loved ones led by Father Peter Conley, starting at 1pm both days.
Light refreshments will be available opposite the chapel.
December 15: Christmas Concert, Three Trees Centre
The North Solihull Singers will be performing in aid of the charity Entraide.
The concert starts at 7.30pm, with tickets £3 on the door.
December 15: Carols on the Green, Chelmsley Wood
Free event from 6.30-7.00pm. Don't forget your lantern!
December 17: Christmas Fayre, Chapelhouse Boys Club
Stalls, tombola, refreshments and more. Open from 2-6pm.
December 19: See Santa, Chelmsley Wood Town Centre
Meet Father Christmas at the town's shopping centre, between 11am-4pm.
The event is free and there will also be an opportunity to ride the Santa Express.
December 19: Ghost Stories for Christmas, Chelmsley Wood Library
Spooky stories will be told from 3.00-4.15pm. More details on 0121 788 4380.
December 22: Marston Green Carol Service
A traditional service will be taking place in the Garden of Memory, starting at 7pm.
December 24: Midnight Mass, Castle Bromwich
Start the Christmas celebrations with this traditional service at St Mary and St Margaret's Church (11.30pm).

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Speed camera plan confirmed for Castle Bromwich

SOLIHULL Council has confirmed that a new generation of speed camera will be coming to Castle Bromwich in the new year.
The digital device is going to be installed near the junction of Bradford Road and Chester Road and is one of nine units being introduced across the Birmingham and Solihull area.
Other Side of Solihull revealed earlier this year that councils had come to an agreement about bringing back fixed cameras at some of the most dangerous locations across the region.
At the time there were suggestions that a device could also be erected on the northbound carriage of the Collector Road if funding was available.
This site was not mentioned in the press release issued this week, suggesting the council will be assessing the success of the pilot scheme before committing to any further cameras.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: "This new digital technology will play a very important role in keeping the region’s roads safe."
The scheme has received the backing of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who was previously a borough councillor for Kingshurst & Fordbridge.
Mr Jamieson is an outspoken supporter of speed cameras, arguing that they play an important part in reducing the number of road accidents.
"Speed is one of the biggest cause of deaths on the road and one of the biggest issues that local people raise with me on a daily basis," he said.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Robber jailed after admitting Chelmsley Wood carjacking

A CHELMSLEY Wood clergyman, who was run over during a "brutal" carjacking, has spoken of his ordeal.
Bishop David Charmbury had been knocked to the ground and was dragged along the road during the robbery outside the Church of Latter Day Saints.
He suffered a head injury, a punctured lung, a fractured pelvis and knee cap and several broken ribs during the incident, which happened on August 16 this year.
This week Harley Davidson Heyes (pictured), who had previously pleaded guilty to robbery, was sentenced to six years and ten months in prison.
Court heard that Mr Charmbury had been opening up the church ahead of a Sunday morning service, when the robbery took place.
Heyes, 36, had sped off in the Mazda sports car and dumped it a little over a mile away, before calling a taxi to take him to his Bluebell Drive home.
Police later arrested him at the address and items including an iPad and iPhone, which the defendant had stolen from the vehicle, were found in communal bins nearby.
Mr Charmbury, from Castle Bromwich, had been been found lying in the road by a passer-by. Such was the extent of his injuries that doctors took the decision to put him in an induced coma.
He spent the next four weeks in hospital and continues to recover at home.
In a statement following sentencing, he said: "As you will appreciate, this has been a difficult and painful time for my family and myself and we are relieved that the judicial process has reached a conclusion.
"This will allow me to focus on completing my physical recovery such that we can all move on with our normal lives.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank West Midlands Police and all medical staff that have helped us through this difficult time plus all of those that have forwarded their messages of support both publicly and privately."
PC Stephen Tomlinson said: "It was brutally reckless leaving Mr Charmbury with serious injuries.
"With no thought for his actions or the injuries, Heyes parked up the vehicle in a secluded area where he rifled through it and stole items.
"He continued to give no comment and showed no remorse when interviewed and refused to answer questions, despite claiming he was remorseful today."

Friday, 4 December 2015

Marston Green and Chelmsley Wood sleigh routes confirmed


THE timetables have been confirmed for Marston Green & District Lions' Santa sleigh routes.
The team have been touring local streets for almost 40 years and the 2015 timetable begins on Monday.
A spokesman said that nightly collections would start at around 6.30pm and finish no later than 6.30pm. There will be a slightly earlier start time for the Saturday and Sunday collections.e
During the tour, the Lions will be raising funds for a range of good causes.

Monday, December 7:
Witney Drive, Charlbury Avenue, Banbury Croft, Lambourne Grove, Hillys Croft, Leyburn Road, Buckden Close, Oxford Grove, Chichester Grove, Wavers Marston

Tuesday, December 8:
Perch Avenue, Grantley Drive, Pendrell Close, Conway Road, Stapleton Drive , Fencote Avenue. Elmore Close, Hadfield Way, Anstey Croft

Wednesday, December 9:
Clopton Crescent, Newby Grove, Tyne Close, Runcorn Close, Tay Croft, Rowan Way, Box Road, Whitebeam Road

Thursday, December 10:
Bluebell Drive, Yorkminster Drive, Lyecroft Avenue, Foxland Close, Waterson Croft, Ryeclose Croft, Wheaton Close, Hawksworth Road, Drake Croft, Kitegreen Close, Heathgreen Close, Partridge Close

Friday, December 11:
Pike Drive, Bream Close, Graylings Walk, Chilham Drive, Ludlow Close, Wardour Drive, Penrith Grove, Drummond Way, Keepers Gate, Carisbrooke Way

Saturday, December 12 (3pm start):
Elmdon Lane, Canterbury Drive, The Greenway, Digby Drive, Elmdon Road, Somerton Drive , Ashfield Lane, Moat House Lane, Wolverton Road, Rotherby Grove, Farndon Avenue, Hidcote Grove, St Leonards Close, Land Lane, Hall Drive, Aylesford Drive, Bickenhill Road, Mowe Croft, Brook Croft, Lyndon Croft

Sunday, December 13 (3pm start):
Coleshill Road, Musson Close, Station Road, Chelmsley Lane, Alcott Drive, The Orchard, Holly Lane, Moseley Drive, Martin Rise, Marston Croft, Farm Avenue, Wayside

Tuesday, December 15:
Shirland Avenue, Ludworth Avenue, Enville Close, Costock Close, Maple Leaf Drive, Byford Way
Harby Close, Radlow Crescent.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Man charged with North Solihull shop raids

A MAN has been charged in connection with two alleged robberies in North Solihull.
Andrew Paul Henry, of no fixed address, was arrested earlier this week and subsequently charged with two counts of robbery, possession of a controlled Class A drug and two counts of possession of a knife or pointed article.
The unemployed 37-year-old appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court yesterday (December 2).
The incidents took place at Lloyds Pharmacy, Castle Bromwich, last Wednesday and Life Style Express, Chelmsley Wood, on Monday of this week.

Spelman supports Syrian air strikes


MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman yesterday voted with the Government in support of extending British air strikes to Syria.
Mrs Spelman, whose constituency encompasses North Solihull, spoke in favour of a bombing offensive against so-called Islamic State militants.
Addressing MPs during the ten-hour debate in the House of Commons, the Conservative backbencher said that religion had been "hijacked for political ends" and it was important to tackle extremism. 
"It is all important how we give our international aid, during and post-conflict, and how we ensure that the voice of the displaced is heard in the post-conflict planning," she said.
"As we know, it is the most vulnerable, and often the women, who have no voice at all in war. We have a duty to ensure that they are heard.
"The public will need continuous assurance and transparency about why action is being taken and what outcomes are being achieved, so I welcome the commitment to quarterly updates for the House."
There were passionate arguments on both sides, although in the end the majority of West Midlands MPs voted in favour of air strikes. The motion was carried by a majority of 179 and the bombing raids are now underway. 
Eleven of the region's MPs, all of them Labour members, opposed the Government's motion.
They included Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley) and Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill), whose constituencies are adjacent to Meriden. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Man arrested following police appeal

A MAN has been arrested in connection with two robberies in North Solihull.
The 37-year-old man was detained only hours after police issued CCTV images of two incidents which happened in the space of five days.
The first robbery occurred at Lloyds Pharmacy on the Chester Road, Castle Bromwich, on Wednesday (November 25). Yesterday afternoon a second incident was reported at Life Style Express, in Tulip Walk, Chelmsley Wood.
It is alleged that staff at both stores were threatened with a knife and that cash was stolen from the premises.
The suspect, of no fixed abode, is being questioned on suspicion of robbery.
Det Sgt Andy O'Keeffe said detectives had received a number of calls following yesterday's appeal and thanked the public for coming forward with the information.