Sunday, 31 July 2016

Police seize off-road bikes in Chelmsley Wood

SEIZED: One of the 15 bikes confiscated by police today.

ADDRESSES in Chelmsley Wood were raided earlier today as part of an ongoing crackdown on off-road bikes.
Police swooped on homes around the region in response to reports of quad bikes, scramblers and motor bikes tearing around residential streets and local parkland.
Seven people - aged between 17 and 30 - were arrested during the operation, on suspicion of crimes including causing a public nuisance, criminal damage, possession of drugs and public order offences.
Properties in nearby parts of Birmingham, including Sheldon and Hodge Hill, were also targeted.
It was confirmed this afternoon that no less than 15 vehicles had been seized during the exercise.
Chief Insp Jack Hadley, of West Midlands Police, said: "The message to off-road bikers is very clear: enough is enough.
"We have been patient and tried to speak to those involved to warn about the dangers of their actions − but such unacceptable behaviour must now stop.
"There is a huge amount of work going on across West Midlands Police into tackling this menace on our communities. This isn’t always visible to the public - like the operation today - but everyone should be reassured we are taking action."
Offences involving off-road bikes tend to peak during the summer months, although councillors in North Solihull have suggested that in recent years there are increasingly more reports throughout the year.
There was recently an incident of an off-vehicle colliding with a pedestrian, who suffered a fractured foot.

Other Side of Solihull - July edition now available.

THE latest edition of Other Side of Solihull's newspaper is now available to view online.
Don't forget to get in touch with us if you have any stories for our next issue.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Family fun day in aid of Motor Neurone Disease

A CHARITY event to raise money for those with Motor Neurone Disease will be taking place in Kingshurst later today (Saturday).
The rare condition, for which there is still no cure, currently affects around 5,000 people in the UK.
There will be a bouncy castle, ball pit and other attractions from 12noon-5pm.
Admission will be £2 for adults, with children getting in free.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Officers recognised at school awards

AMAZING: PC Terri Discenza (right) and PCSO Michelle Collins

TWO police officers who were invited to a school's annual awards evening were surprised to be presented with a prize themselves.
PC Terri Discenza and PCSO Michelle Collins received a silver cup in recognition of the work they do at Smith's Wood Sports College.
The pair regularly attend the school to raise awareness about issues such as sexting and bullying, help vulnerable students and spearhead initiatives to reduce anti social behaviour in the local area.
The school were so impressed by the officers' efforts, they decided to make a special presentation to the duo - who are members of the Castle Bromwich and Smith's Wood neighbourhood team.
Principal Katy Craig said: "They have been amazing and have brought so much to the school.
"They are truly amazing individuals who have no idea just how good they are!"

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Men suffer "flash burns" following explosion in Smith's Wood

EXPLOSION: The scene in Burton's Park Road earlier
Credit/West Midlands Fire Service

TWO men have been taken to hospital following reports of an explosion in Smith's Wood this afternoon.
The blast is believed to have been caused by equipment being used to cultivate cannabis at a property in Burton's Park Road.
Emergency services had been called to the scene at around 2.30pm. Two men, both in their 20s, were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, having suffered "flash burns."
It has been confirmed their injuries are not life-threatening.
West Midlands Fire Service said that crews from Sheldon and Sutton Coldfield had been dispatched to the scene. Photos tweeted earlier show that police officers have put up tape while investigations into the incident continue.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Inquest into motorcyclist's death on the Collector Road concludes

AN INQUEST heard today that a motorcyclist died of multiple injuries following a high-speed crash on the Collector Road, near Castle Bromwich.
Birmingham and Solihull Coroner's Court was told that Christopher Clarke was estimated to be riding at speeds of up to 103mph along the northbound carriageway.
The 32-year-old had been travelling along the road when he collided with a Toyota Yaris which was about to take a right turn into Auckland Drive.
Mr Clarke, from Yardley, suffered "catastrophic" injuries in the collision, and his bike was said to have disintegrated on impact.
The car driver, who did not attend proceedings today, suffered injuries including a fractured collar bone and her boyfriend was hospitalised with concussion following the crash on March 20 this year.
PC Gurvinder Khosa, who investigated the incident, said: "The excessive speed of the motorcyclist was a major contributing factor to the collision. The driver of the Toyota Yaris can’t be blamed."
James Bennett, Assistant Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, recorded a verdict of death by road traffic collision.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Council lays ground for housing development at Babbs Mill

WILDLIFE HAVEN: Babbs Mill is home to many species
WHEELS have been set in motion to remove the Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status from part of Babbs Mill Park, ahead of plans to build a new housing estate on the site.
Solihull Council's cabinet last week agreed to move forward with "de-declaring" the parcel of land, which had been made a LNR back in 2002.
The process will pave the way for building work to start on 52 homes, which were granted planning permission back in March.
The remainder of Babbs Mill will have the status reinstated, although that has not dampened fears that the development has set a precedent for a gradual "chipping away" of the beauty spot.
While the cabinet was only asked to approve advertising the disposal of the open space, the meeting once again laid bare the divisions over the council's handling of the matter and the deep-seated anger among local people.
Coun Debbie Evans (UKIP, Kingshurst & Fordbridge) said: "This is not just a piece of is a haven for wildlife, flora and fauna.
"The gravity of this situation must also go through a scrutiny process so that this council is making the correct call for people who both use and live in this ward."
Coun James Burn (Green, Chelmsley Wood) said: "I find this very difficult because when push comes to shove we're talking about building on a nature reserve.
"I'm not convinced that de-declaring is a word last time I Googled it."
Solihull's Conservative-run administration has defended the development, arguing that there is a pressing need to create more housing.
Coun Ken Hawkins (Blythe) said: "There is a concept of local houses for local people and where do people in Kingshurst want to live if they're going to move house."
The cabinet voted to go ahead with advertising the de-declaration although it acknowledged concerns that the notice would be put in local papers, the Solihull News and Solihull Observer, even though neither are delivered to the north of the borough.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Woman takes a bath in tea in aid of cancer charity

YOU'VE heard about a storm in a tea cup, well how about a brew in the bath tub!
That's exactly what one brave woman had to brace herself for last weekend, when she decided to take part in a charity fundraising event.
Denise Danks, the community champion at Chelmsley Wood's Asda store, climbed into the tub of tea and spent no less than nine hours swilling around in the nation's favourite drink.
The challenge was to raise money for Breast Cancer Care - one of the charities that the supermarket is supporting.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone that supported and donated," said mum-of-three Denise.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Councillors approve expansion of The Coach and Horses building

PLANS to extend an historic pub building in Castle Bromwich were granted planning permission last week.
Councillors have given unanimous support to the proposals for a rear extension and extra car parking spaces at the site of The Coach and Horses, on The Green.
The application had been referred to the planning committee who had to consider the impact of changes to the building, which is situated in one of the oldest parts of the suburb.
The pub was designed by the respected Birmingham architect Charles Bateman in the 1930s and was built on the site of an 18th century coaching inn of the same name.
Councillors were convinced that while the alterations would fit with the character of the surrounding area and would make the business more viable going forward.
Seven letters of objection were received but Castle Bromwich councillor Ted Richards wrote in support of the proposal.
It is understood the building, which has been closed for a six month period while the refurbishment work is carried out, will reopen as an American-style eatery. The changes have garnered a mixed reaction from local people.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

North Solihull sites receive Green Flag Awards

THREE green spaces in North Solihull have received the coveted Green Flag Award.
Babbs Mill Recreation Ground (pictured above), Meriden Park and Woodlands Cemetery are among 14 sites in the borough to meet the criteria.
Woodlands, on the road between Chelmsley Wood and Coleshill, qualified for the Green Flag for the first time this year.
The scheme, run by Keep Britain Tidy, is now in its 20th year and recognises Britain's best parks and open spaces - considering criteria including cleanliness, greenery and community involvement.
Paul Todd, awards scheme organiser, said: "All the flags flying this year are a testament to the efforts of the thousands of men and women, both staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award."
This year more than 1,600 sites around the UK made the grade.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Solihull Council won't press forward with more 20mph zones outside schools.

A WAR of words has erupted over a decision by Solihull Council to abandon plans for 20mph speed limits outside schools.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, has argued that pilot schemes had failed to slow down the speed of vehicles in the way the council had hoped.
He had been presented with evidence earlier this month about the effect of stricter limits at three sites, including Windy Arbor School, in Chelmsley Wood.
Having considered the report he agreed with the recommendation of council officials that the initiative would not be taken any further.
The decision has angered the Green Party, who have argued that a drop in both serious and minor road crashes at the sites was reason enough to persist, even though the speed of cars only fell slightly.
Coun Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) said: "In other authorities they've taken a different approach to the pilots and done more than just put up some signs and they've seen much greater success."
Fellow Green councillor Max McLoughlin (Shirley South) said: "A child from a low-income area is five times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than a child from a more affluent area, but the only school from a low income area to be included in the trial (Windy Arbor) is located down a cul-de-sac."
Speaking at last week's Full Council, Coun Richards defended the approach that had been taken and the decision not to proceed any further.
"The decision which I took was based upon the fact there was a difference of about one or two miles per hour and with the resources that we've got I didn't think it was appropriate to spend more money."

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Local groups urged to bid for share of new community fund

CHELMSLEY Wood Shopping Centre has unveiled a £15,000 community fund, to help groups around North Solihull.
The money will be used to support organisations in getting projects off the ground, with grants of up to £2,000 available to those who make a successful bid.
The Chelmsley Wood Neighbourhood Fund is available to grassroots organisations, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations.
A spokesman said: "As a shopping centre we’re proud to sit in the heart of the North Solihull community and know there is a vast amount of community activity that goes on.
"The aim of this fund is to build on this and galvanise local action, resulting in a broad range of fantastic projects getting backed that have a huge impact and legacy locally."
The deadline for applications is August 14. To find out more about submitting an application visit this website.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Footage of 70-year-old's protest in Smith's Wood goes viral

A SMITH'S Wood grandmother staged a roadside protest after the council repeatedly ignored her requests for a drop kerb, the Birmingham Mail reports.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Primary school pupils contribute to summer art project

A SCULPTURE trail - featuring artwork by school pupils from North Solihull - has been launched across the West Midlands.
The Big Read features 170 benches, each emblazoned with different design by children from schools, colleges and community groups around the region.
Children from Coleshill Heath Primary are among those who have created their own unique artwork.
Solihull town centre is hosting a selection of the work, with a total of ten installations at John Lewis and The Core library and theatre complex.
The Big Read - which follows the success of last year's Big Hoot project - runs until September 13.
You can find out more information about the art trail at the project's official website.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Castle Brom speed camera won't be switched on until August

SUMMER showers have forced highways chiefs to postpone the switch-on of a new speed camera in Castle Bromwich.
The device - recently installed on the Chester Road - was one of eight across Birmingham and Solihull which were all set to be activated on Monday (July 18).
But the "terrible weather" of recent weeks has forced officials to push the date back until August 8.
The new cameras detect vehicles through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and calculate their average speed by measuring the time taken to travel between defined points.

Friday, 15 July 2016

The return of Chelmund's Day

ONE of the biggest events in Chelmsley Wood's calendar - Chelmund's Day - will be taking place tomorrow (Saturday).
The free event, first organised to celebrate local history a few years ago, continues to go from strength-to-strength.
This year's programme will include dancing, live music, historical re-enactments and a range of stalls.
The day will once again take place at Bishop Wilson CofE School, at Chelmund's Cross. More details are available at

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Students complete Duke of Edinburgh challenge

A TEAM of tenacious teenagers from North Solihull have tackled the rugged terrain of the Peak District to clinch their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.
The five students - Jack Rigby, Jack Cope, Marcell Morris, Ben Hales, and Ryan Brown - completed a two-day expedition in the national park to round off a challenging programme of activities.
The group, all aged 14-16, had completed the Award as part of Evolution, a development programme run by Solihull Council to support those students who are in and out of mainstream school.
Other tasks have included 13 weeks' volunteering at the Shard End Friends Day Centre and the Welcome charity shop, in Lea Village.
Ryan Brown said: "The expedition was very exhausting, it took a lot of hard work and determination to get through but it’s all worth it when you see the staff and your friends waiting at the end to congratulate you."

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Solihull Council launches waste and recycling survey

A COUNCIL questionnaire appears to be gauging residents' views on potentially controversial changes to Solihull's waste and recycling service.
The online survey, which runs until the beginning of August, asks for householders' opinions on possible charges for garden waste and how often residents would want to have their rubbish collected.
Last year, Other Side of Solihull, revealed that Solihull Council was considering the introduction of fortnightly collections for household rubbish as a way of increasing recycling rates in the borough.
Following the launch of the survey, some residents have voiced concern on social media about the possible changes, warning that some of the options thought to be on the table could lead to more cases of fly-tipping or people burning rubbish in their back gardens.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Grace Academy to host community fun day

BASKETBALL training with a local team, archery practice and boxing sessions will be among the main draws at Grace Academy's Family Fun Day.
Over 1,500 people are expected to attend the event, which will also feature donkey rides, soft play, craft sessions, face painting and an Olympic-themed food area.
The event takes place this Saturday (July 16) from 12noon until 3pm.
Laura Wadley, youth and community co-ordinator, said: "There will be a fund-raising stall for [local charity] Help Harry Help Others, and students from the academy will join singers from local primary schools to perform hit songs from the shows.
"This is a fantastic day out with lots to keep families entertained for hours, with many free activities."

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Radio WM's treasure hunters descend on North Solihull tennis club

RADIO WM were at Marston Green Lawn Tennis Club earlier today as a weekly round-the-region treasure hunt brought the presenters to the village venue.
A clue picked up in the Touchwood shopping centre led Beccy Wood and the Hunted team to the sports club.
Beccy, who is also known as a weather presenter on BBC's Midlands Today, had to complete a challenge of winning ten points on the court in five minutes.
Although admitting that her serve was "rubbish" she racked up enough points and then had to complete a second challenge of eating a cupcake in one go without licking her lips.
It was a big day for the Lawn Tennis Club, where a good number of members had gathered to watch Britain's Andy Murray battle it out in the Wimbledon final.
At just after 5pm, the Scot completed a straight sets victory over Canada's Milos Raonic to lift the famous trophy for the second time in his career.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

14-year-old threatened with knife in Smith's Wood

A MAN pulled a knife in a residential road during an attempt to steal a teenager's bike.
Police are trying to trace the individual, who threatened the 14-year-old with a blade and threatened to steal his bicycle.
The incident happened in Tame Avenue, Smith's Wood, on Thursday, June 30 at around 8.20pm.
While the victim was badly shaken by the incident, they were not hurt and the would-be robber left the scene empty-handed.
The suspect is described as an Asian man in his early 20s. He was of slim-build and around 5ft 8in tall. At the time of the offence he was wearing a white Nike hat, a blue zip up jacket and black trainers with a white trim.
If you have any information please call Det Con Kate Fitzgerald on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Police seek witnesses following attack on 14-year-old in Kingshurst

POLICE are appealing for witnesses to a brutal assault on a teenage boy which happened in Kingshurst last month.
The 14-year-old was attacked on Kingshurst Way, near the roundabout with Silver Birch Road, on Monday, June 6.
He suffered a serious head injury during the attack and required emergency hospital treatment.
The incident happened at around 5pm. Police have not released descriptions of the boy's attackers.
If you saw the attack please contact PC Laura Lloyd, at Chelmsley Wood Police Station, on 101 or email

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Strike shuts Smith's Wood school

SMITH'S Wood Sports College was closed today (Tuesday) as teachers walked out in a row over funding.
The school was one of dozens across the region forced to shut its doors due to industrial action, with many staff attending a rally in Victoria Square, Birmingham.
In a letter to parents, Smith's Wood's principals said they had taken the decision to close "reluctantly" but the staffing levels would have compromised health and safety.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) had balloted its members for strike action in an attempt to put pressure on the Government to give commitments about education funding.
Staff are also seeking action over teacher workloads.
The NUT's Acting General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, said: "This has been a very well supported strike, both by NUT members and the general public.
"We thank all those parents who have supported us despite the inconvenience it may have caused."
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan criticised the walk-out, accusing the union of "playing politics" with children's futures.
While the strike affected schools nationwide, preliminary figures suggest that around two thirds of institutions across the UK remained open.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Charity day in memory of Castle Brom soldier

A CASTLE Bromwich pub will be hosting a charity day in memory of a teenage soldier who died while fighting in Afghanistan.
Rifleman Joe Murphy, who grew up in the suburb and attended Archbishop Grimshaw before enlisting with the Army, was killed by an improvised explosive while attempting to rescue a fellow serviceman.
This month marks the seventh anniversary of the 18-year-old's death.
The charity event, to be held at The Farthings next Saturday (July 9), will be raising money for the armed forces charity SSAFA.
A DJ, face painting and a bouncy castle will be among the attractions and visitors can also enjoy a BBQ (weather permitting.) There will also be a cycle ride, leaving the Green Lane pub at 1pm.

New tennis courts in Kingshurst to open later this month

AS WIMBLEDON-fever once again grips the nation, North Solihull is getting ready for the grand opening of a new tennis facility.
It is hoped that the courts, located at the CTC Kingshurst Academy, will nurture a new interest in the sport among local residents.
The tennis hub will have its official opening on Sunday, July 17, with junior and adult sessions and cardio tennis - a type of fitness class - set to take place on the day.
Despite the success of British No 1 Andy Murray, there are lingering concerns that the UK does not have the strength in depth of some other countries which have successfully developed the game at grassroots level.
In 2013, the year that Murray lifted the Wimbledon trophy, Solihull Council had ordered a review into how to encourage greater participation in the borough and found that the costs involved deterred many from picking up a racquet.
Find out more about the launch of the new courts at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) website.

Friday, 1 July 2016

From page to park for Marston Green schoolgirl

BUDDING ARTISTS: Marston Green Juniors' Sharron Irwin (left) with fellow
competition winner Eve Casey and Solihull Mayor Mike Robinson

AN ARTY pupil from Marston Green Junior School has helped design a flowerbed in one of the borough's most popular parks.
Sharron Irwin, aged ten, is one of two students whose designs have been turned into an attractive floral display in Malvern Park.
Each year, Solihull Council organises a competition to find the most creative ideas for the bed.
This year there were more than 100 entries from around the borough, with pupils sketching out their ideas inspired by the theme of Food for Life.
Designs by Sharron and Chapel Fields pupil Eve Casey, also aged ten, were the stand-out entries.
The girls were recently invited to meet the Mayor of Solihull, Coun Mike Robinson, and be among the first people to see the designs in person.