Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Disabled woman's mum threatened with a "taser" in Chelmsley Wood robbery

"HEARTLESS thugs" tried to steal a specially-adapted disability vehicle which is used by a Chelmsley Wood mum whose daughter has cerebral palsy.
The two men had threatened the 45-year-old woman with what is thought to have been a taser-type weapon outside the family home in Oxford Grove.
Terrified, the mum had fled into a nearby flat and the men attempted to drive off in the VW Caddy - which still had its tailgate and wheelchair ramp down.
Unbelievably, having failed to start the car, the men hammered on the door to demand their victim come out to help them make their getaway. 
The pair are understood to have escaped the scene in a dark-coloured vehicle that had been waiting at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Police have now appealed for help in tracing the would-be robbers, who had targeted the family last Wednesday night (August 24). The incident happened at around 11pm. 
Det Con Rhett Collier said: "It’s hard to imagine a more callous act…trying to steal a specially adapted car that the family of a disabled lady rely on for her transport.
"The woman had just dropped her daughter back off at home, and helped her to bed, when she returned to the VW Caddy. One man pointed some kind of stun gun at her and made threats, while another banged on the flat door.
"The victim tells me that her daughter [aged 25], who heard the banging and commotion, has been left very scared by the incident and now needs additional night time care as a result. She has struggled to sleep since."
The two men are described as white and in their late teens or early 20s. Two accomplices are understood to have waited in the vehicle at the end of the road during the incident.
Officers urged anyone with information to search their conscience and get in touch. 
"People who are prepared to stoop to such levels do not deserve protection," said Det Con Collier.
If you know anything about last week's incident, call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Bank Holiday barbecue at Castle Bromwich takeaway

A COMMUNITY barbecue will be taking place at a Castle Bromwich takeaway this Bank Holiday Monday.
The event will be held at Lime Pickle, in Windleaves Road, from 12noon-3pm.
There will be food and drink available and the eatery will be raising money for Make a Wish - a charity which helps realise the dreams of children and teenagers with life-threatening illnesses.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Hotel assures residents it is staying put

NOT FOR SALE: Castle Bromwich Hall was built in 1599 and has been
operated as a hotel for the past five years.

CASTLE Bromwich Hall Hotel has reassured local people that the business is not up-for-sale.
Rumours that the building had been put on the market appear to have been triggered by the fact that the Coach House next door is being sold.
The confusion this week led to a number of concerned calls from brides-to-be (the business has become a popular wedding venue.)
A message was posted on the hotel's Facebook page yesterday to reassure patrons that business was going well and that there were no plans to move.
The historic manor - which is more than 400 years old - opened as a hotel in 2011 after lying derelict for a number of years.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Charity organises weekly coffee mornings in Chelmsley Wood

A CHARITY is holding a weekly coffee morning for disabled people in Chelmsley Wood.
The Disability Resource Centre (DRC), based in Birmingham, has received money from the Big Lottery Fund to organise the new regular session.
The event, held at Bosworth Community Centre, is an opportunity for people to socialise and access information about DRC services.
The coffee mornings will take place every Tuesday from 10-11.30am.
For more information call Katherine on 0303 040 2040 or visit www.disability.co.uk

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Leisure centre swimming pools remain closed following power outage

NORTH Solihull Sports Centre partially reopened today (Tuesday) following repairs to fix a burst pipe which caused a loss of power throughout the building.
Electricians were brought in to resolve the problem last week, with bosses at the Chelmsley Wood facility saying they had no choice but to close the site because of health and safety concerns.
The problems forced organisers of last weekend's computer fair to move the event to the National Motorcycle Museum, near the NEC.
With power restored and the necessary checks completed, the leisure centre confirmed yesterday that it would be reopening the gym, sports hall and track today.
The swimming pools are to remain closed for the time being.
A Facebook post thanked people for their "co-operation", but the closure has led to a number of frustrated messages from both members and staff.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Anger after asbestos is dumped in Smith's Wood street

DANGER: The scene in Smith's Wood earlier
photo/Aaron Bradley
RESIDENTS raised the alarm earlier today after bags of asbestos were dumped by the side of the road in Smith's Wood.
The potentially deadly substance was among rubbish which had been left strewn across the grass verge in Lanchester Way.
Aaron Bradley spotted the asbestos early this morning, contacting the council and posting photos on Facebook to warn residents to steer clear.
Locals were horrified by the images, which showed the bags of the banned building material at the junction of Rover Drive, a stone's throw from a children's play area.
Solihull Council's environmental team sent officers out to remove the waste from the roadside, although it has since been suggested that someone may have removed the substance before they arrived on the scene.
It is hoped that the flytipper, who is believed to have dumped the material under cover of darkness, may have been captured on a nearby CCTV camera.
Solihull Community Housing urged anyone with information to contact them on 0121 717 1515.

Asbestos: It is now illegal to use all forms of asbestos, since inhaling the fibres has been linked to a number of lung cancers - which often take many decades to develop. Unfortunately the product is still found in many buildings built before the ban took effect and the removal and disposal of the substance has to be carried out in accordance with strict health and safety requirements.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Overnight hum puzzles Castle Bromwich residents

MYSTERY: An apparently unexplained humming sound was previously the
subject of  an episode from classic science fiction series The X Files.

A STRANGE humming sound is disturbing the sleep of residents in and around Castle Bromwich.
Local people have taken to social media to complain of a persistent droning during the small hours of the night.
Theories abound about what is causing the commotion, which many have said is different from the rumble of motorway traffic.
Overnight roadworks, the sound of a local wood yard and aircraft engines being tested at Birmingham Airport are among the possible causes of the "low-bass" noise, which has also been heard in Smith's Wood and Castle Vale.
James Brown wrote: "Hard to pinpoint, it must be near someone's home...
"We can't all be hearing things. It seems to go on and on then stops. Drives you mad."
It is possible that the sound is another case of The Hum, a low-frequency drone which has baffled researchers for many years.
The phenomena - which caused enough of a stir in the 1990s to feature in an episode of The X Files - continues to divide opinion among scientists.
The first case to garner significant publicity in the UK was more than 40 years ago, when hundreds of people in Bristol were adamant they had heard the noise.
Some have suggested that gas pipes or power cables may generate a sound which isn't audible to everyone, although other experts have blamed tinnitus or oversensitive hearing.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Local Labour members back Corbyn

LEADERSHIP: Labour's Jeremy Corbyn was in Solihull last night to take
part in a hustings against challenger Owen Smith.

LOCAL Labour activists have voted overwhelmingly in support of the party's current leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Last week, members from the Solihull and Meriden constituencies - the latter covering the north of the borough - turned out to decide whether to give their backing to Mr Corbyn or Owen Smith, the former shadow cabinet minister who is challenging him for the leadership.
It was one of the largest meetings in many years, with activists making strong arguments for both candidates.
While the contest has exposed deep divisions between different factions of the party, in a post on Facebook, the local branch described the atmosphere as "friendly and comradely."
In the end, members voted three to one in support of Mr Corbyn, who was elected by a landslide last summer but enjoys limited support among fellow MPs.
"He continues to have a mandate and support from grassroots members," the Facebook post added.
The declaration of support of constituency parties carries no actual weight in the contest, but is regarded as a good barometer of opinion ahead of members and registered supporters casting their ballot papers.
The result is scheduled to be announced on September 24.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Level results for North Solihull students

GREAT RESULTS: Merrin Varghese, Chelsea Hopkins and Emilee Gallett

HALF of A Level students at the Grace Academy have secured places at university, the school has confirmed.
Fifty per cent of teenagers had applied for a degree course and after receiving their results today, all of them got confirmation that they had been successful.
The number of students at the sixth form who are applying to study at university has more than doubled from just one in five two years ago.
The news will be a boost to Solihull's education chiefs, who only this year raised concerns that despite a general improvement in exam results in the north of the borough, students were still far less likely to continue into higher education than their counterparts south of the A45.
Nationwide, the Ucas admissions services said 424,000 undergraduate places have been offered, up by three per cent compared with results day last year.
Today's results are also good news for the Grace Academy itself; in autumn 2013 Oftsted inspectors identified "serious weakness" and a new principal, Darren Gelder, was appointed 12 months later.
Mr Gelder said he was immensely proud of the latest set of results, another sign of sustained improvement.
"This is another excellent set of results showing the year on year progress of the academy," he said.
"The dedication of students, parents, carers and staff is evident in what our students have achieved."
Students at John Henry Newman Catholic College and Park Hall Academy were among the others to get their results today.

A TEENAGER from Castle Bromwich was among those who achieved a clean sweep of A*s today.
Asad Butt, aged 18, received the highest possible mark in Biology, Chemistry and Statistics.
The Sixth Form College Solihull student is now looking to get his teeth into a degree in dentistry at Kings College London.
"I did work experience at a GP surgery and a dental surgery and I just found dentistry more interesting, so I decided that this was the career I wanted to pursue," said Asad (pictured, right).
"I’m very pleased with my results and looking forward to going to Kings College."
The A* grade was first introduced in 2010 in response to concerns in some quarters that exams were getting easier.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

CCTV appeal after 82-year-old's purse is stolen in Castle Brom

APPEAL: Police have released CCTV stills of two men they want to speak
to in connection with the incident.

POLICE are appealing for information after a purse was stolen from an elderly shopper in Castle Bromwich last month.
It is understood that a man had distracted the 82-year-old woman while she was visiting the Aldi supermarket, in Chester Road.
An accomplice seized the opportunity to pocket the purse, which contained the pensioner's bank cards and a quantity of cash.
Police have now released CCTV images of two men they want to speak to in connection with the theft, which happened on July 6.
Anyone with information should call PC Julie Stokes, at Solihull Police Station, on 101 or email contactus@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk

Dinosaurs take over Chelmsley Wood

DINOSAUR DIORAMA: The events will be running from 11am-4pm.

TOTALLY roarsome! A display of life-sized dinosaurs has been installed at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre.
The prehistoric creatures will be on show at the centre from August 15 to September 4.
The event, which will run in conjunction with a series of family activities, is free to attend.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Teenager jailed for machete attack during the school run

A CHELMSLEY WOOD teenager who slashed at a man with a machete in front of horrified schoolchildren has been jailed for 14 years.
Carl Gamble, 19, had been angry about the fact the man had struck up a relationship with his mother.
On January 26 this year, the 51-year-old had turned up at Gamble's home, in Lowerstack Croft,  in an attempt to clear the air.
But the teenager (pictured, right) flew into a rage and chased him into Tile Cross Road armed with the blade.
The victim suffered serious lacerations, with one wound on his arm cutting down to bone. His right ear was almost completely severed during the frenzied assault.
Eyewitness reports at the time described how the victim was left "dripping with blood" near to a bus stop.
Gamble, who had been wearing a ski mask during the attack, sped away from the scene in a blue BMW but handed himself in at Stechford Police Station six days later.
Despite surrendering, he denied all involvement in the early morning attack and claimed to have been sleeping at a friend’s house in Balsall Common at the time.
However, at Birmingham Crown Court last week, he was given a significant prison sentence having been found guilty of wounding and possessing an offensive weapon.
PC Megan Parry, from Force CID’s Violent Crime Team, described the attack as sickening.
"It was a horrendous incident and one that caused panic on the morning with families on the school run among those witnessing what happened," she added.
"This could easily have been a murder enquiry. Thankfully the man survived but will have the physical and psychological scars of this attack for life.
"[Gamble] will spend many years behind bars as a result of his actions."

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Police investigate serious sexual assault in Chelmsley Wood

POLICE have sealed off an underpass in Chelmsley Wood following reports of a serious sexual assault on a teenage girl earlier this week.
The 14-year-old is understood to have been attacked on Tuesday (August 9), at around 6pm.
The underpass in Moorend Avenue, a stone's throw from the community skatepark, has been taped off ahead of a search by forensics officers.
Police have appealed for anyone in the vicinity at the time who saw what happened or who has any information which could help the inquiry to call 101.

Protest over housing development held at Babbs Mill Park

PROTESTERS are gathered at the entrance to Babbs Mill Park this afternoon, making their feelings known about the plans to declassify part of the Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
Locals armed with banners and placards convened at the roadside, near the turn into Hillside Drive.
Solihull Council is currently consulting over the proposals to strip part of the land of LNR status, which would allow developers to press ahead with a new housing scheme, granted planning permission earlier this year.
Action for Babbs Mill, the campaign group which has organised the protest, said the event gave local people the opportunity to express their "disgust" at the situation.
Speaking at a public meeting earlier in the week, Sarah Evans, who chairs the group, said: "We have always maintained since our founding we will fight any development, whether big or small, which will impact on our park.
"You could argue that Kingshurst is already a densely populated area, with a limited amount of green and open space, let alone access to nature reserves."
Solihull Council has said that the need for housing locally has made the development necessary.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Lucky escape for driver after bad smash in Marston Green

A DRIVER was lucky to escape serious injury after their car collided with a telegraph pole in Marston Green earlier today.
Sheldon Fire Station tweeted a photo of the badly damaged vehicle, which had hit the pole near to Adam Myers Pharmacy, in Station Road.
Ambulance crews also attended the scene of the collision, which caused queues along the stretch of road.

Pop up markets prove a hit

A MUMTREPRENEUR has been delighted by the success of a series of pop-up markets around North Solihull.
Sinead Latham decided to organise the Cheeki Monkeys nearly-new sales at local venues following a period of maternity leave.
The events, which offer toys, clothes and other children’s items, have been held at Marston Green Parish Hall and Arden Hall, Castle Bromwich.
Such is their popularity, talks are already underway to roll out the venture to a third location – Chelmsley Wood’s Three Trees Centre.
Mum-of-one Sinead said she had been delighted by the local response.
“When I finished my maternity leave, I really wanted to do something that would allow me to stay closer to home,” said the 35-year-old.
“I think it’s something a lot of mums are considering because it gives that extra bit of flexibility.”
The next sale will be taking place at Arden Hall on September 3.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Local man charged following "road rage attack"

A FORDBRIDGE man has been charged with wounding in the wake of a suspected "road rage" attack, which left the victim fighting for his life.
Daniel Bond, 29, of Elmore Close, has been charged in connection with the incident, which happened in Gressel Lane last Friday night (August 5).
Emergency services were called to the scene at just after 6.30pm, after a 37-year-old was alleged to have been punched in the head following a minor collision between a car and a van.
Officers said this week that the car driver, who was placed in an induced coma following the rush hour attack, remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Bond has been remanded in custody by Birmingham Magistrates Court and is due to appear before the Crown Court on September 5.

Ringing the changes in Castle Bromwich

A CASTLE Bromwich church will be ringing the changes over the next 12 months, after raising the money needed to restore its bells.
A few years ago St Mary and St Margaret’s Church launched a full-scale fundraising campaign to return its ageing set of ringers to their former glory.
The bellringing guild had already raised £60,000 and last month the team announced that they had been awarded a further £34,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Following their successful bid for a grant, the team now has sufficient funds to move forward with the restoration project - first conceived almost a decade ago.
Taylor’s, a world-renowned bell foundry in Loughborough, has been approached to repair the existing set of six bells and to cast two more.
St Mary and St Margaret’s has confirmed that the bells will be removed before next Easter and taken away to the Leicestershire town so that work can be completed.
During this period the church tower will be silent, although there are hopes that the new, improved set of eight bells will be installed a couple of months later.
This will mean that they are in place for the 300th anniversary of the set installed by Lord Bridgeman, a local aristocrat, in the early 18th century.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Sisters take up charity challenge in friend's memory

DOUBLE ACT: Danielle and Laura Maisey
TWIN sisters from Chelmsley Wood have embarked on a series of challenges in memory of their friend, who lost her long battle with cystic fibrosis last year.
Danielle and Laura Maisey are determined to complete the “bucket list” which their pal Tahlia Banks was sadly unable to finish.
Tahlia, from Marston Green, passed away just four months after receiving a double lung transplant in a London hospital. The former Grace Academy pupil, who was also known as Tink because of her love of Disney films, was just 20 years old.
The sisters are among a group determined to take up the challenge on Tahlia’s behalf.
One of the most demanding of the 35 items is to run a marathon and the twins, who recently turned 21, are already in training.
They hope their efforts will carry both of them over the finish line, at this autumn’s Birmingham Half Marathon.
“Seeing as there are two of us we thought we could both run a half marathon and that would equal a full one – we thought Tahls would see the funny side of that,” said Danielle.
The sisters, who work at Solihull’s Spire Parkway Hospital, have already ticked a number of items off the list, including being fitted for a wedding dress.
Other items for the future include organising a “crazy” party and arranging a trip to Australia.
“There is a big group of us involved so we are sure that between us we will complete the bucket list,” added Danielle. “Tink was loved by everyone and we all really miss her so doing this helps to keep her memory in our lives.
“It also means we can raise much needed cash for cystic fibrosis research.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor the siblings should visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tahliasbucketlist

Monday, 8 August 2016

Bat walk at Babbs Mill

WINGED WONDER: A Noctule bat. Photo by Tom Marshall

A BAT walk will be taking place at Babbs Mill Nature Reserve later this week.
There is a thriving population of the flying mammals in the park and the summer is the perfect time to see them hunting moths and other insects over the water.
The family event will be held as darkness falls on Thursday, August 11 (8-10pm).
Tickets are £4 each or £15 for a family ticket. Book on 0121 704 8000.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Solihull looks for new twin towns

SOLIHULL Council is looking at the possibility of forming an official link with a city in the American Midwest.
Councillors will next week consider the possibility of the borough being twinned with Mentor, Ohio.
The local authority is very keen to foster new relationships with similar communities in other parts of the world and is also exploring a similar arrangement with the Chinese city of Changzhou.
In the past, the main point of twinning has been educational, but now the council recognises the opportunity for laying the foundations for international trade and perhaps bolstering the local economy.
Perry Wardle, a council officer who has compiled a report which looks at the opportunities for greater co-operation, said: "Solihull is well placed to play an important role in developing international relationships and economic links."
Mentor is about half an hour's drive from Cleveland and, rather like Solihull, is seen as a key gateway to a prosperous business district.
A glance at the city's official website also suggests that, as with the borough, there are some residents who are not wholly happy with the rapid growth of the local community.
The About Us section begins: "While some longtime Mentorites may wish for the simpler days when Mentor was a quiet, rural town dotted with nurseries and two lane roads, most would agree that it’s still the best place to live in Northeast Ohio."
Solihull is already twinned with Cholet, in France, and the German town of Main-Taunus-Kreis.


  • Has a population of around 47,000 according to the last census
  • Formerly the home of 20th American President James Garfield (assassinated in 1881)
  • The city's slogan is "It's better in Mentor"
  • Previously ranked among the Top 100 best places to live in the United States.

Kingshurst councillor's hair-raising challenge for charity

A COUNCILLOR last week agreed to have a rather drastic haircut in support of two local charities.
Coun Debbie Evans (UKIP, Kingshurst & Fordbridge) underwent the head shave at the Seeds of Hope Community Hub, at St Barnabus Church.
Proceeds from the event will be shared between the project - which supports outreach work around the local area - and the Marie Curie charity.
Coun Evans said: "I have been mulling over the idea of doing a head shave for charity for some time and last year it was a sponsored slim so this year was the year to brave the shave!"
Jean Johnson, who is the project coordinator of Seeds of Hope, said: "It is fantastic for people to be doing things like this to support our project and the valuable work of vital charities such as Marie Curie."
The fundraising event took place at Seeds of Hope on Friday and coincided with the monthly big lunch.

Friday, 5 August 2016

North Solihull remembers the Battle of the Somme

DARK DAY: The Battle of the Somme got underway on July 1, 1916.
24 men from Solihull were among the 20,000 Britons who died that day.

Other Solihull reports on the recent events in North Solihull to mark a century since the bloodiest day in the history of the British Military...

A LIFE-sized trench that snakes its way through the grounds of a local school was chosen as the setting for a special service to mark a century since the start of the Battle of the Somme.
Civic leaders stood side-by-side with students and members of the services to remember those who gave their lives in the infamous attempt to break the stalemate of the First World War.
Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, Tim Watts, Meriden MP Caroline Spelman and the Mayor of Solihull Mike Robinson were among those who gathered to pay their respects at the CTC Kingshurst Academy.
Coun Robinson said: “It’s quite impossible for me to comprehend the devastation and suffering our soldiers must have endured.
“It’s a battle which has ingrained itself in our nation’s psyche. We must never forget the sacrifice those men made and we must forever honour their bravery.”
The day after the service, local residents were invited to explore the trench for themselves and Other Side of Solihull took the opportunity to see the fortifications first-hand.
It’s the size of the thing which strikes you. The channel cut into the playing fields is 6ft deep and 130ft long and is complete with a covered command bunker, first aid station and firing bays.
Ex-Army captain Carl Hoyes drew on his 30 years of military experience to ensure the trench, which was completed two years ago, was as authentic as possible.
Lee Fletcher, the CTC’s director of extended services, explained that the site had been designed to give pupils a real feel for what the conflict was like.
“We thought this made great use of this space and it helps to take history lessons out of the classroom,” he said.
Stepping down into the space, packed either side with sandbags, gives you a sense of the claustrophobia of those who would have been serving on the Western Front.
Peering over the top, through the barbed wire and blades of grass, I can see the tower blocks which stand a short way down the road.
Of course as a soldier on the front lines of the Somme I wouldn’t have dared scope my surroundings without the use of a periscope. Raising your head above the trench, even just for a moment, would make you an easy target for the snipers sitting ready on the other side of No Man’s Land.
When I reach the firing bays, one elderly gentleman offers a chilling insight into the ordeal of those who were ordered to attack on that fateful day 100 years ago.
“They were basically told to walk into machine gun fire. Two years’ training and you could be wiped out in the space of a few seconds.”

Thursday, 4 August 2016

North Solihull's MP receives Damehood

AFTER several days of speculation, it has been confirmed that Meriden MP Caroline Spelman is to be made a Dame.
The former cabinet minister, who represents the constituency which includes North Solihull, had been rumoured to be in line for an honour following a leak to the Sunday Times a few days ago.
Today the news was made official, with the MP tweeting: "Honoured and humbled to have been successfully nominated to receive a DBE for political and public service.
"My sincere thanks to all of my constituents who continue to put their faith in me as their MP and for the kind messages I have received."
Mrs Spelman was among those put forward by  David Cameron, who exercised the privilege of Prime Ministers leaving office to submit a list of people to receive gongs.
His choices have come under considerable scrutiny however, with critics accusing the former PM of doling out honours to political allies, party donors and those who had worked for him at Downing Street.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the list "was so full of cronies it would embarrass a Medieval court."
Despite the criticism, Mr Cameron's successor,Theresa May, declined to veto the choices, arguing this would set a bad precedent.
Mrs Spelman is one of several sitting MPs to get the nod, with the former Chancellor George Osborne, Tory chairman Patrick McLoughlin and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon among the others recognised.
Conservative councillor Mark Parker said that Mrs Spelman's honour was "richly deserved."

Spelman's career - the highs and lows

1997 - First elected MP for Meriden
2001 - Promoted to shadow front bench by then leader Iain Duncan Smith
2007 - Becomes only the second female chair of the Conservative Party
2009 - Apologises for mistake relating to parliamentary expenses
2010 - Appointed Environment Secretary by David Cameron - one of the few women with a seat at cabinet
2011 - Forced to scrap flagship policy to sell off public forests following considerable criticism
2012 - Returns to backbenches following reshuffle
2015 - Wins fifth term of office with an increased majority
2016 - Helps set up Conservatives for Reform in Europe

Shocking video emerges of riders on Castle Bromwich road

FOOTAGE has emerged online showing dozens of youths performing stunts on a stretch of the Collector Road.
The video shows the group of riders weaving across lanes and throwing wheelies on the busy dual carriageway.
Many of the procession are not wearing helmets or are seen riding one-handed.
The clip is understood to have been taken last Sunday (July 31), when there were reports of a large group of cyclists causing traffic problems on the route.
The scenes were broadly condemned by drivers on Facebook.
A spokesman for West Midlands Police confirmed officers had been called at around 5pm following reports of "almost 100 riders" blocking the road.
Police said a motorcyclist, who was riding among the push bikes, was arrested after breaking off from the main group and speeding away.
The 27-year-old was subsequently charged with driving dangerously, handling stolen goods and taking a motor vehicle without consent.

Parties clash over Solihull council tax plan

PLANS to overhaul Solihull’s council tax policy amounts to a “senseless” attack on the borough’s most vulnerable residents, a Chelmsley Wood councillor has claimed.
The proposals, which were put out to consultation last month, would leave those on low incomes facing a 15 per cent increase in their bills from April next year.
Coun James Burn, who leads the cohort of Green Party councillors, said that the strategy was a major mistake in a borough where there are already high levels of inequality.
“This plan isn’t just incredibly unfair, it’s also illogical,” he said. “Putting more pressure on the most vulnerable will only mean they have to use council and health services more, which will just cost taxpayers more in the long run.
“Raiding the back pockets of the most vulnerable cannot be a fair or sensible way to boost council coffers.”
He has made the case that if the proposals go ahead, residents in his own ward - the poorest in Solihull - would pay twice the council tax of those living just over the border in North Warwickshire.
Three years ago, the Government made local authorities responsible for running their own schemes to help the poorest meet the costs of council tax.
Solihull Council has argued that up until now it has been one of just 41 local authorities nationwide (out of 326) which has not implemented any major changes.
Now however, with budgets coming under growing pressure, the Conservative-run administration argues that the current Council Tax Reduction Scheme has become “unsustainable.”
Councillor Robert Hulland, the cabinet member for resources and delivering value, said: “In the three years since the scheme was introduced we have already made savings of nearly £30 million.
“As Government funding is further reduced, we must look closely at all areas of spending.”
The 12-week consultation will run until October 2 and a final decision is due to be made in December.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Wildlife workshops at North Solihull schools

WARWICKSHIRE Wildlife Trust are organising a series of "really wild" workshops for local youngsters during the six-week holiday.
The outdoor sessions will include games and crafts and will be taking place at North Solihull schools throughout August. The programme is as follows:

  • Coleshill Heath Junior & Infants School - August 10 
  • Smith's Wood Primary Academy - August 15
  • Fordbridge Community Primary School - August 22
  • Yorkswood Primary School - August 30.
Every session runs from 10.30am-12noon. Please note that booking is essential - call 024 7630 8974 or email v.dunne@wkwt.org.uk

Chelmsley Wood boxing initiative wins top award

HIT INITIATIVE: Wayne Elcock with West
Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David
A CHELMSLEY Wood-based boxing club – which has helped local young people get their lives back on track – has won a prestigious award.
Box Clever, based at St Andrew’s Centre and run by former champion Wayne Elcock, has picked up a Police and Crime Commissioner’s Outstanding Citizens Award.
The club, which was originally intended as a 12-week programme but is still running four years later, has played a major role in reducing crime and improving community relations.
Forty-two-year-old Wayne said he could to many of the youngsters he is now mentoring at the free sessions.
“It’s hard to find role models on the city streets: very often the role models are people kids should not be aspiring to. But boxing coaches can guide young people away from that life.
“I grew up in Shard End with no money and no hope and the kids can see that I’m living proof that you can turn your life around. They look at me and see what I’ve done and they get inspired.”
More than 400 young people attend the club each week and since it was set up in 2012, the programme has produced 27 amateur boxers.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations and thanks to all the nominees and winners - they are a true credit to the West Midlands.”
The award was presented at a ceremony at the Birmingham Rep last month.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Castle Bromwich's newest nature reserve

SIGNS installed on a patch of land in Castle Bromwich proudly advertise the fact that the area has been recognised as a thriving wildlife habitat.
The Beechcroft Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is among the most recent of the 23 sites in Solihull to receive the special designation.
The open space, near Kingsleigh Drive, is part of a wider wildlife corridor in the north of the borough.
Solihull Council formally agreed to bestow the status on the 4.25 hectare site earlier this year and the signs were put in place last month.
Other LNRs in the vicinity include Yorks Wood and Babbs Mill, although the latter – by far the largest in the north of the borough – will be controversially reduced in size to make way for a housing development.

Man stabbed in back near Chelmsley town centre

A MAN was repeatedly stabbed in the back in a Chelmsley Wood street earlier today (Tuesday.)
The victim, who has not been named, was attacked in Hedgetree Croft and is said to be in a "stable condition" in hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. 
Police, who were called to the scene at just after 11am, have suggested that the man had been deliberately targeted and are now following up a number of leads.
Following the incident, a section of the street was cordoned off and locals reported both forensic officers searching the area and a helicopter circling overhead.
Anyone with information should call West Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Meriden MP could be made a Dame

MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman is in line for a Damehood it has been reported today.
Mrs Spelman, who served as Environment Secretary in David Cameron's first cabinet, is one of several sitting MPs who the former Prime Minister is understood to have put forward for honours.
It is standard practice for a Prime Minister to submit a list of people to be considered for gongs upon leaving office, however Mr Cameron's choices have led some to make accusations of "cronyism."
Critics say that the list, which was leaked to the Sunday Times, is dominated by political allies, party donors and 24 members of Downing Street staff.
Several politicians have suggested that the selection brings the honours system into further disrepute, although a spokesman for Mr Cameron's successor, Theresa May, insisted that the list would go through "all the proper processes and committees."
Mrs Spelman, who has represented the constituency encompassing North Solihull since 1997, was one of the few women to be named a Secretary of State when Mr Cameron entered Downing Street in 2010.
She returned to the backbenches two years later but was among the Tory MPs who recently campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU.

Battle continues to limit the impact of HS2 on Chelmsley Wood

DIVIDING LINES: The HS2 scheme will have a significant impact on local
communities but supporters say it will be a massive boost to the economy

CAMPAIGNERS are making a final push in a long-running battle to reduce the impact that the HS2 rail link will have on North Solihull.
With the new Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, confirming that the multi-billion pound project would be going ahead, efforts are continuing to thrash out a deal.
Councillor Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) said that the Government was“extremely keen” to push forward with the project and conceded that it had passed the point of being able to secure a major change to the route.
He said that the priority now would be to minimise noise levels for those living in the roads closest to the line and secure green space to compensate for the loss of Pool Wood, near Birmingham Business Park.
Last month, Coun Williams travelled to London to put the case for these concessions to the House of Lords’ HS2 Committee.
The appeal at Parliament comes towards the end of a long-running and often frustrating battle for campaigners to achieve key compromises over the line, which will pass a little more than 100 metres from Yorkminster Drive.
“[We must] ensure the noise barriers past Chelmsley Wood are high enough,” said Coun Williams. “Some barriers are set to be four metres, some three and some 1.4 metres. This is bizarre so I spoke on the illogical inconsistency. “
It remains to be seen if the Lords will accept the requests but he told Other Side of Solihull that he felt the committee had been “more receptive than MPs.”
His visit came a matter of days before Solihull Council voted to become a “qualifying authority”, which will give it a greater degree of influence over matters relating to HS2’s construction process.
Coun Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “I think we need to be clear that this is not going to give us a veto over detailed matters but it will help us to exert some influence.
“Bearing in mind the impact of HS2 on the borough...it is in my mind essential to take steps to become what’s called a qualifying authority. It’s the detailed stage which is critical.”
Castle Bromwich councillor Ted Richards said: “From a transport/infrastructure perspective it’s
important that as construction goes forward we have as much control as we can.”
The first phase of the line, connecting London and Birmingham, is due to be completed in ten years’ time, although the National Audit Office recently warned that this could be an unrealistic timetable.
A HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “Whilst many challenges remain, the project is on track.”

  • What do you think? Email theothersideofsolihull@gmail.com with your views or leave a comment below.