Thursday, 31 March 2016

Fire engine relocated to Chelmsley Wood

A FIRE engine has been moved to Chelmsley Wood town centre following concerns that it was taking too long to respond to incidents in the north of the borough.
West Midlands Fire Service aim to arrive at the scene of an emergency within five minutes of receiving a 999 call, but concerns had been raised that crews were often struggling to get to incidents within this time limit.
In response to the problem, the engine will be based at the Asda supermarket for a three-month trial period.
The crew will have specific responsibility for the Kingshurst, Fordbridge, Smith’s Wood, Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood areas.
Firefighters from Solihull and Sheldon Fire Stations will take it in turns to run the service for five hour shifts.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

World record smashed for Sport Relief

WHAT a knock-out! A Guinness World Record was officially broken in Chelmsley Wood earlier this month as part of efforts to raise money for Sport Relief.
Former professional boxer Simon Ford (pictured) battled his way through 141 three minute rounds against some 40 opponents to clinch the world record.
Although it’s been more than 15 years since he hung up his gloves, the 45-year-old fighter was persuaded to get back into the ring to raise money for the charity.
Ahead of the challenge, Simon admitted it was “going to be a long day” but he went the distance and beat the previous record – which had been set only days earlier by an Australian businessman - by a full 14 rounds.
“You just have to be mentally strong as well as physically strong and just go through it and hope that no-one comes to take your head off,” he told Radio WM.
The fundraising challenge took place at Wayne Elcock’s Boxing Academy, in Pike Drive. More than £500 has already been pledged online.
This year's Sport Relief, which has been supported by celebrities including Eddie Izzard, Jo Brand and Steve Redgrave, has raised more than £55million for projects in the UK and overseas.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Latest edition of our digital newspaper is out now

THE March edition of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is available now at Issuu.
Our latest volume carries the full report on the recent Babbs Mill planning decision, as well as other news and events from around the local area.
Don't forget you can email your stories to

Monday, 28 March 2016

World's largest passenger airliner passes over Marston Green

A LARGE crowd gathered at Sheldon Country Park yesterday to see the world's largest passenger jet make its first public flight to Birmingham Airport.
The plane - which weighs 566 tonnes and is the length of approximately 15 double-decker buses - touched down at just after midday.
Residents in Marston Green got one of the best views of the aircraft, which was arriving in the city from Dubai and will be making daily trips between Birmingham and the United Arab Emirates from now on.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Urgent Care Centre in Chelmsley Wood this Easter

AN URGENT care centre is running in Chelmsley Wood to provide extra medical support over the Easter break.
The facility, based at the Primary Care Centre, in Crabtree Drive, will be open Easter Sunday and Monday (from 9am-6pm.)
The centre will complement the walk-in centre at Solihull Hospital during the Bank Holiday period.
Dr Rachel Clowes, a GP from Bosworth Medical Centre, said: “The Easter break often sees a spike in accidents around the home and garden caused by a combination of the long Bank Holiday weekend, school holidays, longer days and (hopefully) improving weather.”
Health bosses have also advised local residents that they can get clinical advice from the free NHS 111 helpline.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Major Tim sends seeds to schools for ground control

PUPILS from North Solihull schools are being encouraged to take part in a science project that is truly out of this world.
Students will have the chance to grow rocket seeds that have orbited Earth aboard the International Space Station.
The seeds were flown the 400km to the station last autumn and will have spent six months in micro-gravity by the time they are returned to terra firma later this month.
Participating schools will be sent a packet of the precious cargo for the children to grow.
The experiment will also require the pupils to nurture a second batch of seeds which haven’t been to space, to see if there is any noticeable difference in the two sets of herbs that emerge from the soil.
The “Rocket Science” project has been devised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the UK Space Agency and the results from schools across the country will be analysed by a team of scientists.
The project is one of several educational programmes that have been put together to celebrate the latest mission to the ISS, the first to involve a British astronaut – Major Tim Peake.
It is hoped that the initiative will encourage young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Find out more here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Hats, hunts and games in Castle Bromwich

HOP to it and make a note about Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens' Easter bonanza.
Families are welcome to the family day taking place this Saturday (March 26).
There will be a bonnet parade, treasure hunt and plenty more to look forward to from 11am-3pm.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Police appeal after man dies in Collector Road crash

TRIBUTES have been paid to a motorcyclist who died following a crash on the Collector Road yesterday afternoon (Sunday.)
Ambulance crews were called to the scene after the rider was involved in a collision with a car at just before 4pm. Sadly the man was confirmed dead at the scene.
This afternoon, police identified the motorcyclist, who had already been named on social media, as Christopher Clarke.
The 32-year-old, from Yardley, was apparently nicknamed "Stig" after the driver from BBC series Top Gear.
Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the crash, which happened near the junction with Auckland Drive, Smith's Wood, to come forward.
Sergeant Steve Newbury said: "Even the smallest piece of information could  help us build a picture of what happened.
"A man has tragically lost his life and our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time."
There were two people, both in their 30s, travelling in the black Toyota Auris which was also involved in the collision.
The man suffered an ankle injury and the woman was reported to be suffering from shock. Both were taken to Heartlands Hospital for further treatment.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Work on Chelmund's Cross shops to start next month

WORK will start on the shop and office units at Chelmund's Cross next month.
A Co-op food store and a separate funeral service will be developed alongside two other retail units, which will be put on the market later this year.
Office space for Solihull Council staff and a new car parking facility will also be created, with construction set to get underway on April 18.
The work forms part of the final phase of the new-look village centre, which has replaced the badly run-down Craig Croft precinct.
The last stage of development also includes plans for a 60 bed care home, details of which were recently revealed.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Man admits manslaughter of retired teacher

Anne Dunkley had also been
involved with the scouts
A MAN charged in connection with the death of a much-loved Marston Green woman has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Gareth Emery had denied the murder of his aunt Anne Dunkley, who had died after being attacked at her home on June 5 last year.
But at Birmingham Crown Court this week, the 25-year-old, from Shirley, admitted manslaughter and a separate charge of wounding Mrs Dunkley's son Matthew with intent.
Court heard that the defendant had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and the case was adjourned until May 13 for sentencing.
Last summer there had been an outpouring of tributes to Mrs Dunkley, who was a well-known member of the local community. The 67-year-old had previously taught at Hatchford School, in Chelmsley Wood, and was a churchwarden at St Leonard's.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Drivers urged to keep off the verge

A CASTLE Bromwich councillor has urged drivers not to park on grass verges, following a torrent of complaints from residents.
Coun Ted Richards, who is Solihull Council's cabinet member for transport and highways, said members were inundated with calls from members of the public who were fed up with grass being churned up outside their homes.
Now he has called on drivers to keep off the verge, revealing that it costs the council thousands of pounds to repair the damage every year.
Coun Richards said: "This is a persistent problem in my ward of Castle Bromwich and represents a really irresponsible attitude from drivers.
"At a time when we are attempting to de-clutter our streets, some of the traditional methods we’ve used to deter verge parking such as timber posts or signage are no longer appropriate.
"I am asking for residents to help take ownership of the problem and inform their visitors and guests to keep their vehicles away from our grass verges."
In some areas, the problem has got so bad that homeowners are using house bricks, rocks and logs to try and prevent drivers parking on the grass, although the council has warned against this - arguing that it creates its own safety issues.
In certain circumstances, parking on grass verges is an offence. For instance, if there are yellow lines on the road or if the vehicle is parked on a bend, narrow street or at a junction and is causing a hazard to other motorists.
The council also has powers to fine drivers who cause persistent damage.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Wedding Fayre in Castle Bromwich

A WEDDING Fayre will be taking place at a Castle Bromwich church tomorrow (Saturday).
The event, at St Mary and St Margaret's, is an ideal opportunity for couples planning their big day to have a look around the historic church.
There will be some dozen exhibitors, a chance to meet the church's wedding co-ordinator and a free glass of bucks fizz for every bride-to-be.
The day will run from 11am-3pm, with the church's bellringers opening the event with a full wedding peal.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Police warning over "shed breaks" in Castle Brom

POLICE in Castle Bromwich have reported an increased number of break-ins to residents' sheds.
The local neighbourhood team has said that it has increased patrols in and around the Parkfields estate following the spate of offences.
These crimes tend to increase during the spring, when there is a greater demand on the black market for tools and other equipment.
Locals are encouraged to fit locks to out-buildings and take other precautions, such as installing alarms or security lights, where appropriate.
Anyone with any information about the thefts should call officers on 101.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Kingshurst Camera Club to restart next week

A PHOTOGRAPHY group will be restarting in North Solihull next week.
The weekly sessions of Kingshurst Camera Club will begin next Thursday (March 17).
The free classes last an hour (6.30-7.30pm) and will be led by Glynis Harrison, from Solihull Photographic Society.
Meet at Kingshurst Art Space, on the Parade.

MP makes dig about Chelmsley Wood in Parliamentary debate

AN MP has invited criticism after making a jibe about Chelmsley Wood in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Conservative backbencher Stewart Jackson (pictured, above) described the estate as "a brutalist horror" during a debate on whether or not to extend shop opening hours on Sunday.
His barbed remarks came after Meriden MP Caroline Spelman - who represents North Solihull -  had suggested that the best way forward would be to only relax the current trading laws in tourist areas.
Mr Jackson told Mrs Spelman this approach wouldn't work because councils would have too much freedom to decide what qualified as a tourist area.
"People might come to Warwickshire, near her own constituency and visit Stratford [Upon-Avon] and yet she has Chelmsley Wood in her constituency which is, some might say, a brutalist horror which could be reclassified potentially as a tourist attraction."
Mrs Spelman, who was sitting nearby, was apparently unimpressed by the comments and appeared to say:"It's not a horror."
In the end the proposals to relax Sunday trading laws were defeated by 317 votes to 286.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

New care home will be built in Chelmsley Wood

A SIXTY-bed care home for elderly people with dementia will form part of the final phase of the Chelmund's Cross development.
It was confirmed this week that the facility would be designed, built and operated by Runwood Homes - which run around 65 homes around the country.
A public event will be held in the coming months which will give local residents an opportunity to view the plans before they are submitted to Solihull Council.
The local authority has said the home will be "the final piece of the jigsaw" for Chelmund's Cross, with the finished village centre also boasting a dental practice, pharmacy and several shops.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Survey suggests Solihull more Eurosceptic than its neighbours

SOLIHULL residents are generally more Eurosceptic than people in neighbouring areas, a new survey has suggested.
Polling company YouGov has examined attitudes towards the European Union and built an interactive map to demonstrate the differences of opinion around the country.
A survey of 200 Silhillians suggests that the borough has a less favourable view of Europe than Birmingham, Coventry or Warwickshire.
The research only looked at Solihull as a whole, so there was no clear evidence whether the north of the borough differed in any great way from those areas south of the A45.
Walsall was among those areas apparently most likely to support leaving the EU, while the residents in Ceredigion, in mid-Wales, had the most positive view of Europe in the whole of the UK.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Police appeal following Castle Bromwich car-jacking

WANTED: Police have released these CCTV images
following the robbery on the Parkfields estate

MASKED men armed with metal bars robbed a man in broad daylight outside his Castle Bromwich home.
Police have made a public appeal for information following the brutal car-jacking, which happened in Stoneymoor Drive last Thursday (February 25).
The 57-year-old victim was on the driveway with his wife when a white Ford Kuga pulled up outside.
The two men, whose faces were covered, jumped out of the vehicle and demanded the man hand over the keys to his Audi Q7.
When he refused they struck him several times with a bar and one of the robbers managed to snatch the car keys, before the pair sped away from the scene.
The man was taken to hospital following the assault, but fortunately had not suffered any serious injuries.
Police have now released CCTV footage of two men they want to speak to in connection with the car-jacking, which happened at around 9am in the morning.
Anyone with information should call Det Con Jon Rankin on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Homeless clinic at Chelmsley Wood Library

A WEEKLY homeless clinic at Chelmsley Wood Library is providing support for local people.
The sessions every Friday are to help those already sleeping on the streets or who are at risk of homelessness, due to difficulties like a relationship breakdown or problems with their landlord.
The service is operating at a time when rough sleeping has risen dramatically. On any one night, there are thought to be more than 3,500 people in England on the streets - more than double the number recorded in 2010.
The clinic runs at the library from 11.30am-1.30pm.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Heartbreak for residents as plans to build on Kingshurst nature reserve are approved

PLANS to build more than 50 homes at Babbs Mill have been approved by Solihull Council, despite fierce opposition from local residents.
The housing development, which will see the loss of part of a local nature reserve, was given the go-ahead this evening.
Ahead of the vote, members had heard passionate pleas from ward councillors and the campaign group Action for Babbs Mills not to build on the well-known wildlife habitat.
In the end the planning committee voted in favour of the plans by a majority of six to three.
Councillor Jeff Potts (Con, Knowle), who previously represented Kingshurst, said that helping to meet the housing need was worth "the sacrifice."
But Coun John Windmill (Lib Dem, Olton) suggested the scheme was tantamount to "the plunder" of green space and claimed that the odd swing or roundabout didn't make up for the loss of land.
A full story and further reaction to tonight's decision will feature in this month's edition of the Other Side of Solihull e-newspaper.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

HS2 roadshow in Chelmsley Wood this week

GET the latest information on the high-speed rail link at a public roadshow which is taking place in Chelmsley Wood this week.
The event is an opportunity to find out what the scheme will mean for the local area, with a chance to examine plans and talk to transport experts.
The multi-billion pound line, which will pass near to Yorkminster Drive, has been at the centre of fierce debate ever since plans were announced.
There have been fears about the noise for those living nearest to the track, the loss of open space and congestion through Castle Bromwich during the construction period.
However, supporters claim that the project will be a major boost for the local economy, with Meriden MP Caroline Spelman recently claiming it would encourage many more companies to invest locally.
The roadshow takes place at Chelmsley Wood Town Council, Helmswood Drive on Thursday (March 3). Members of the public are welcome between 2-8pm.