Wednesday, 28 September 2016

New edition of Other Side of Solihull out now


THE latest edition of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is available to download at Issuu.
If you have stories you would like to feature in next month's issue, please contact us.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Car crash in Chelmsley Wood following late-night police chase

AFTERMATH: The distinctive green vehicle hit a wall in Chelmsley Wood
photo credit/West Midlands Police

A SPORTS car ploughed into a wall outside a Chelmsley Wood petrol station following a high-speed chase in the early hours of this morning.
The BMW had come to a juddering halt at the forecourt at the junction of Chester Road and Birmingham Road. The crash happened at around 4.15am.
The £85,000 vehicle had been attempting to escape police, who had started pursuit in the Washwood Heath area of Birmingham.
Police confirmed this morning that three men, aged 32, 34 and 35, had been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and bailed pending further enquiries.
Officers later tweeted photos taken at the scene.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A bright idea? Street lamp debate rages on

LED THERE BE LIGHT: Coun Richards
with the new-look street lighting
A NEW type of street light continues to be rolled out across the borough, despite concerns from some residents that the new-style lamps make for dingier neighbourhoods.
Solihull Council has started the second phase of a borough-wide programme to replace more than 5,000 lights with  LED technology.
Main routes through the north of the borough including Chester Road, Bradford Road and the Collector Road are among those where the change will take place in the near future.
Councillors claim that the more modern devices will be better for the environment and reduce light pollution, with the reduced energy bill saving the council in the region of £275,000 a year.
Solihull is the latest local authority to replace its ageing lamps with LEDs, as councils nationwide look to cut their carbon footprint.
But since officials started to introduce the lighting in 2014, some local people have complained that the lights makes for a gloomier street scene.
The lights have also proven unpopular in some of the other parts of the country where they have been introduced; in Edinburgh, lighting engineers agreed to make adjustments following concerns that streets were not adequately illuminated.
Despite some people's reservations, Solihull has insisted the new, more energy-efficient system is a big improvement.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways said: "Some of our street lighting is nearly 50-years-old so this is a really positive change for the borough."
The council has also made the point that following its review of street lighting four years ago it chose not to follow the example of some other authorities and turn off lights altogether during the early hours.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Chelmsley Wood man invited to Birthday Honours event

HONOURED GUESTS: Rev'd Neil Roberts (third from left) joined other
Solihull residents at the Mayor's Birthday Honours reception.

CHELMSLEY Wood clergyman Neil Roberts was among residents recently invited to a special tea with the Mayor of Solihull.
Councillor Mike Robinson welcomed the Rev'd Roberts and eight other individuals who were recognised in this summer's Queen's Birthday Honours.
The Baptist Minister received a British Empire Medal for services to the community in the Chelmsley Wood area, having most recently spearheaded the redevelopment of the Three Trees Centre.
After the event, the Mayor said: "It’s been wonderful to have met such delightful people who in their own respective fields have given so much to society. 
"Having shared an afternoon with them I can quite understand why they were chosen as worthy candidates for these awards."
Rev'd Roberts was the only winner from the north of the borough to feature in the most recent list, but other local recipients included Touchwood manager Andy Cole, soul singer Ruby Turner and long-standing councillor Peter Hogarth.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Chelmsley Wood pupils support recycling campaign

GREEN GANG: The pupils at Coleshill Heath have recorded the YouTube
video, which is in the style of a classic "public information film".

PUPILS from Coleshill Heath Junior and Infants School have been enlisted to improve residents' understanding of the borough's recycling system.
The children recorded a video which highlighted some of the most common mistakes that people make when placing rubbish in the bins and bags they leave at the kerbside.
The clip, uploaded to YouTube earlier this month, was shot to help promote National Recycling Week.
Councillor Ken Hawkins, the cabinet member responsible for bin collections, was confident the public awareness campaign would help the council build on the year-on-year increase in recycling.
"It will mean there will be fewer instances of people not having their bins collected and hopefully less contaminated recycling, which means less costs to the taxpayer and more benefits for the environment," he said.
Last year, Solihull residents recycled more than 39,000 tonnes of waste - equivalent in weight to around 3,900 African elephants.
The council previously set itself the target of recycling 60 per cent of all rubbish by the end of the decade.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Marston Green GP surgery sets out plans for a bigger premises


A MARSTON Green doctor's surgery is attempting to gather residents' support for the creation of a purpose-built medical centre.
The Chelmsley Lane practice has argued that the current facilities are being placed under increasing pressure by the village's growing population and believes that a move to a new, larger premises would benefit patients.
A petition has been made available at the surgery's reception, with the doctors hoping that local people will endorse the idea.
Explaining the proposals, a notice from the surgery said: "As you know, our village has expanded over the years and further housing is already in the pipeline.
"Together with the closure of other GP practices (which has had quite an impact on the number of additional patients we have registered with us), our small surgery has become very overstretched and the number of appointments we are able to offer is limited by lack of rooms.
"As a consequence, the practice has been searching for a new site for some time and we now have an opportunity to develop a new medical centre within the village."
It is proposed that the new centre would be based at the village end of Coleshill Road, where more rooms and increased car parking spaces would be available.
The partners are also keen to bring more medical professionals, including a dentist, pharmacist, optician and chiropodist, under the same roof.
"One-stop" facilities are becoming increasingly popular nationwide as GPs seek to adapt to the challenges posed by a growing number of older patients and a shortage of practitioners.
Concerns were raised last month that some doctors were seeing as many as 60 patients a day.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Chelmsley football match to raise money for hospital unit


A COUPLE who previously lost their little boy are organising a football match in Chelmsley Wood to raise money for the maternity unit which supported the family following the tragedy.
Laura Bell discovered during a 20 week scan that her son had passed away from a rare condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome.
Following the news in September last year, she received support at Heartlands Hospital's Eden Suite.
Happily Laura is expecting again, but the hospital secretary and her husband Rob are determined to give back to the unit which helped them through an incredibly difficult time.
"The care and support we received on the Eden Suite was brilliant," said Laura, from Shard End.
"We received far more than we would ever have thought – we had a funeral, a memory box, photo handprints and a free blanket, teddy bear and candle."
The couple hope to raise £500 for the unit, which relies heavily on public donations for some of its services.
This weekend's match will see Rob and his friends - playing as the Eden Suite 11 - take on the Birmingham City Legends.
The all-stars team has yet to be confirmed but ex-players who have previously turned out include Kevan Broadhurst, Geoff Horsfield, Paul Devlin, Martin O’Connor, Michael Johnson and Jeff Kenna.
The game will take place at the Onward Club, Helmswood Drive on Sunday (September 18). Gates open at 10am and kick-off is scheduled for 11am. There will also be a raffle, kids' games and a bar/refreshments on the day.
Tickets are available from Rob on 07900 087139 (£3 for adults and £1 for children.)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

North Solihull set to be the centre of new constituency

SHAKE-UP: The new constituency would group North Solihull with Sheldon,
Elmdon and Lyndon, as well as a few villages such as Hampton-in-Arden.

DRAMATIC changes unveiled this week could see the creation of a new parliamentary constituency called Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North.
The Government has set out plans to making sweeping alterations to the electoral boundaries as part of efforts to reduce the total number of MPs and ensure that each seat has a similar number of voters.
Under the proposals, all five wards which cover the north of the borough (Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge and Bickenhill) would form the bedrock of a brand-new constituency.
They would be grouped together with the Elmdon and Lyndon areas and the Sheldon district of Birmingham (under the new system, MPs' seats may include neighbourhoods from more than one council area.)
The changes to boundaries will mean a shift in the balance of power and potentially a new MP.
Under the current system, North Solihull is part of the Meriden constituency - a Conservative stronghold by virtue of the fact that it also includes villages such as Knowle, Dorridge and Balsall Common.
These more affluent areas will for the most part be divided up between two other seats  (Shirley and Solihull South and Coventry West and Meriden).
This poses an interesting dilemma for Meriden's current MP Caroline Spelman, should she stand for re-election in 2020.
While the larger part of her existing seat will form part of the Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North constituency, the loss of the more rural communities would make things much more difficult for a Tory candidate.
Mrs Spelman has described the changes as "problematic" and has raised concerns about the fact that - as part of the proposals - parliamentary seats can now absorb wards from different council areas. She fears that this will  damage ties between local communities.
A public consultation has been launched, with the plans for the new boundaries set to be finalised in 2018. It is intended that the new seats will be in place in time for the General Election two years later.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Further success for former CTC student

SHOWTIME: Animus was co-created
by former CTC student Daniel Hall
A FORMER pupil of the CTC Kingshurst Academy has written a second musical for the London stage.
Daniel Hall (working under the pen name Daniel Finn) was commissioned alongside his writing partner Michael Webborn to produce an original show for the Musical Theatre Academy (MTA).
The 29-year-old said that the pair had taken inspiration for the show from British history and in particular the darker side of our capital.
The resulting script - Animus -  is a story of revenge set in the seedy underbelly of 18th century society.
A group of MTA's first year students performed in the production at the Bridewell Theatre, in Blackfriars, with Jenna Innes starring as Charlotte - the heiress seeking vengeance.
After an intensive period of rehearsals, the four-night run came to an end yesterday evening.
The production follows the success of Webborn & Finn's debut show, The Clockmaker's Daughter, which was performed at the Landor Theatre, Clapham, last year.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Birmingham Business Park lodges plans for Blackfirs Lane development

PLANS to further expand Birmingham Business Park, with the erection of new buildings on the outskirts of the site, have been submitted to Solihull Council.
The proposals first emerged back in June and some residents have already spoken out against the development, which they fear will impinge on homes in nearby Blackfirs Lane.
Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council has made it clear it will object to the scheme, which is likely to be considered by the planning committee in a few months' time.
The planning documents are now available to view online.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

History talk in Castle Bromwich

HISTORY'S MYSTERIES: Val Preece will be shedding
light on the long since demolished Coleshill Workhouse

THIS month's meeting of North Arden Local History Society will focus on Coleshill Workhouse.
The institution closed its doors almost 200 years ago, but once played an important in the local community.
The talk, led by Val Preece, will be taking place at Arden Hall, Castle Bromwich on Thursday
(September 8). The event runs from 7.45-9pm.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Project to bring back the Bogey on the Stick gathers pace

LOCAL LANDMARK: The original "Bogey" was erected in the early 1980s.

PLANS to recreate a popular piece of public art - which for several decades was one of North Solihull's best-known landmarks - continue to move forward.
Gro-Organic, a Chelmsley Wood-based social enterprise, had announced earlier this year that it was looking to lead efforts to create a new version of the sculpture affectionately known as "The Bogey on the Stick".
The original piece was installed in Meriden Park around 35 years ago, following a collaboration between a sculptor and local young people.
It became a familiar focal point, but was eventually removed in 2010 amid concerns that the timber had gone rotten.
Six years on from its abrupt disappearance, the suggestion that the piece could be recreated - a campaign which was referred to as "Bring the Bogey Back" - has already attracted a lot of interest on social media.
Having had discussions with Solihull Council at the start of the year, Gro-Organic said yesterday that a meeting would be organised for local residents to discuss the project.
Anyone keen to be involved in the design or construction and who would like details about the forthcoming meeting should email Sarah Gill.

Castle Bromwich lottery players celebrate their win

LUCKY WINNERS: The postcode lottery players were presented with
their cheques last month.

A GROUP of Castle Bromwich residents have shared a total of £150,000 in prize money after winning the People's Postcode Lottery.
Street prize presenter Judie McCourt travelled to Park Hall Crescent last month to deliver the cheques to the lucky winners.
Among those to receive a visit were Raymond and Susan Orme, who are planning a couple of special trips after clinching £25,000.
"It was a massive surprise," said Raymond, who has lived in the street for 25 years.
"We'll definitely treat ourselves with the win. My wife and I have always wanted to go to the Edinburgh Tattoo and The Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, so now we'll be able to do those things."
The recent win follows the success of around 100 Castle Brom residents, who shared a £2million jackpot in February 2014.
The Postcode Lottery raises cash for good causes by managing lotteries operated by charities. Tickets are £2 per draw and five are held every month.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Family fun day in Smith's Wood this weekend

A FAMILY Fun Day will be taking place in Smith's Wood this Saturday (September 3).
There will be stalls, face painting, a bouncy castle, live entertainment and more.
The event, taking place at Bosworth Wood playing fields, in Auckland Drive, is free and runs from 12noon-4pm.