Sunday, 30 October 2016

Concern that North Solihull could be hit with a major shortage of school places

NORTH Solihull could be left facing a critical shortage of school places in the future, an ex-borough councillor has warned.
Graham Craig, who represented Smith’s Wood for over 20 years, has grave concerns that the local authority is sitting on a “time bomb.”
This month he called on Solihull Council to scrap plans which could see homes built on the former site of Bosworth Wood Primary, arguing the land may need to be returned to educational use at a later date.
Outlining his fears, Mr Craig insisted he had always been a supporter of the Regeneration scheme and, in fact, this had cost him his council seat five years ago.
But he believes that disposing of the site could be incredibly shortsighted as it is the only area left on the estate large enough to accommodate the new primary which he believes the community will inevitably need.
“There are thousands of the original residents still on the estate, many in three bedroom houses, the vast majority in their late 60s and early 70s,” he told councillors.
“When they pass on, those three bedroom houses will be taken by young couples with children, starting the process all over again.
“Coupled with that, the houses still to be built in Smith’s Wood... there will be a need for primary places in our schools.”
When Bosworth Wood closed its doors in 2009, it left what is now the Smith’s Wood Primary Academy as the last remaining non-faith school for four to 11-year-olds.
This is in stark contrast to when the estate was newly-built and had four separate schools to serve the community.
The closure, which was itself deeply controversial, was justified on the basis that pupil roll calls were falling. Seven years on, Mr Craig argues that many in Smith’s Wood are already having to send their children to schools in nearby Kingshurst and Castle Bromwich because of the lack of places.
Councillor Ian Courts, the Deputy Leader of Solihull Council, said there would be a full consultation before the land at Bosworth Wood was released for residential development.
“The implications of additional housing in the locality on school place planning will also be considered.”

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Outdoor cinema launches new community space

SHOWTIME: Comedy horror Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Kathy
Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker was a popular choice for the first film

FROM bowling green to silver screen! Part of a Chelmsley Wood park is to be transformed into an open-air cinema this weekend.
Community enterprise Gro-Organic is organising the Halloween screening of Hocus Pocus on the old bowling area in Meriden Park.
The special event, taking place on Sunday, has been arranged to celebrate the creation of a new community space.
Organisers said they were inspired to show a film amid concerns about the increasing expense for families paying a visit to their local multiplex.
The screening was advertised on social media at £1 per person, with the tickets selling out in a matter of hours – before the choice of film had even been confirmed.
Future “cinema” sessions are already under discussion, with suggestions that another family favourite, Polar Express, will be shown in the run-up to Christmas.
The bowling green which is set to be transformed into an outdoor picture house had fallen into disuse in recent times.
Earlier this year, Solihull Council confirmed that the area would no longer be retained for the sport and launched a consultation on how the land could be given a new lease of life.
Gro-Organic was subsequently awarded the contract to run the site and has talked about a number of possible activities including tai-chi sessions and even a regular farmers’ market.
A spokesman said: “We want to make sure that it is a space that can be used and enjoyed by both young and older generations and will hopefully become the centre point of the park for all activities.”

Friday, 28 October 2016

New edition of Other Side of Solihull is out now

THE latest edition of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is now available on Issuu.
Don't forget to send us your stories for the next issue - out at the end of November.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Man hospitalised in Chelmsley Wood crash

POLICE have appealed for information following a serious road crash in Chelmsley Wood last night (Tuesday).
The collision happened in Helmswood Drive, near the Greenwood pub, at just after 9.30pm.
Emergency services attended the scene and the force said that a 57-year-old man had to be cut free from a taxi cab.
He was taken to hospital on a spinal board but fortunately it has since been confirmed that he has not suffered life-changing injuries.
Police want to trace a small red car which may have been involved in the smash.
If you were in the area or saw what happened, call officers on 101, quoting crime number 2488 25/10.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Halloween hooley in North Solihull

A HALLOWEEN fun day for families will be taking place in Smith's Wood later this week.
The spook-tacular event will be held at Auckland Hall, with apple bobbing, hot food and "a bat hunt" around the estate to enjoy
The free activities, organised by the Vauxhall Crescent Street Association, run this Thursday (October 27) from 2-4pm.
Other Halloween-themed activities taking place locally include:

  • Pumpkin Workshop for children at the Crafty Cow, Castle Bromwich (Friday, October 28)
  • Reggae-themed Halloween Party at Chelmsley Wood Conservative Club (Friday, October 28, from 7.30pm).
  • Zombie Zumba (at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre this Saturday, 11am-4pm).
  • Light Night event at St Andrew's Church (on October 31).

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Council launches crackdown on illegal firework sales

REMEMBER, REMEMBER: Most nights of the year it is illegal to set off
fireworks after 11pm.

WITH Bonfire Night celebrations just round the corner, Solihull Council has announced a campaign to curb the illegal sale of fireworks.
The council's Trading Standards team will be working with police officers and the fire service to stop the sale of devices from shops which don't have a licence.
The crackdown will also tackle the sale of fireworks to under 18s and the offer of products which don't adhere to the UK's safety laws.
Spot checks will be carried out at a number of local outlets and officials will also be visiting retailers to remind them of the current legislation.
The visits will form part of a wider campaign in response to the traditional spike in anti social behaviour which coincides with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night.
The council will also be aiming to raise awareness about the laws against setting off fireworks after a certain time of night and the dangers of unauthorised bonfires.
Complaints about firework misuse should be reported to the police on 0845 113 5000.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Wife pays tribute to man following fatal stabbing

A YOUNG man who died after being stabbed in Kingshurst earlier this week has been named as Giovanni Lewis.
The 28-year-old (pictured, right), who has been described as "a gentle giant", had been taken to Heartlands Hospital on Tuesday evening (October 18) after being attacked in Hadfield Way.
Doctors had fought to save his life but he was pronounced dead at just before 9pm. A post mortem confirmed he had suffered a stab wound to the heart.
The victim's wife, who has not been named, has issued the following tribute.
"My heart has been ripped apart, Giovanni was my gentle giant and my beloved husband.
"Words cannot express how I feel right now, I do not know how I’m going to get through this, he was my soul mate.
"Giovanni will truly be missed by all, by me, his family and his friends."
Police have said that the investigation into the killing continues and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Det Insp Justin Spanner said: "This is a fast paced inquiry and it is only a matter of time before we arrest the person responsible for this tragic incident.
"My officers are working around the clock to piece together the circumstances that led to Giovanni losing his life.
"I would at this point like to appeal directly to the person responsible to do the right thing and to come forward, it is only a matter of time before we knock your door and by coming forward it will give you a chance to tell us your side of the story."
A 27-year-old man, from Shard End, was arrested shortly after the incident and released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Two 38-year-old women appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court yesterday (Friday) charged with perverting the course of justice.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Drugs factory uncovered in Kingshurst street

SURPRISING DISCOVERY: The bedrooms had been fitted with lamps,
heaters and other equipment to grow the drug. Photo/WMP Cannabis Team

POLICE called out to investigate reports of a burglary in Kingshurst were surprised to discover a cannabis factory at the address.
Officers had attended the house in Silver Birch Road earlier today, following a 999 call concerning a break-in at the property.
Arriving at the scene they found the back door was partially open, while inside the dwelling two upstairs bedrooms were being used to cultivate the Class B drug. A total of 31 plants were inside.
No-one was in the house at the time but investigations into the factory continue.
Anyone with information should call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Police launch murder inquiry following fatal stabbing in Kingshurst street

A MAN has been arrested following a fatal stabbing in Kingshurst yesterday evening.
The 28-year-old is understood to have been attacked in Hadfield Way and was driven to Heartlands Hospital A&E by a member of the public.
Medics battled to save the man - who had suffered a stab wound to the chest - but he was pronounced dead at just before 9pm.
Police confirmed this afternoon that a 27-year-old man, from the Shard End area, had been arrested in connection with the fatal attack and remains in custody.
The road, which is just off Cooks Lane, is still being searched by forensics officers. The route was closed to traffic because of the police cordon
DCI Caroline Marsh, from West Midlands Police, said "We’re still working to establish exactly what’s happened.
"The victim suffered what is believed to be a serious knife injury and there was nothing that could be done to save his life."
Anyone with information should call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Chelmsley Wood councillor announces Mayoral bid

IN THE RUNNING: James Burn was elected to represent Chelmsley Wood
in 2014 and is now bidding to become West Midlands Mayor

A CHELMSLEY Wood councillor has been chosen as the Green Party's candidate in the race to become the Mayor of the West Midlands.
Coun James Burn, who leads the Green group on Solihull Council, announced he would be standing earlier today.
If he wins the contest, he said that creating jobs and investing in up-and-coming industries to strengthen the local economy will be among his priorities.
"Many communities across the West Midlands have been left behind, and current...plans won't change that," said Coun Burn.
"If elected, I will invest more in those places and connect people to good jobs, decent wages, and chances to get on."
Whoever is elected as Mayor next May will head up the West Midlands Combined Authority, a new body set to be handed considerable powers by central government.
In fact Coun Burn and party colleagues are concerned about the arrangements being put in place, believing that they are far less democratic than those which were previously implemented in London.
In the capital, the Mayor is responsible for housing, transport and other key policy areas, but is held to account by an elected Assembly.
The Greens are concerned that no similar body will exist to scrutinise the workings of the West Midlands Combined Authority.
Other candidates confirmed as standing including former Erdington MP Sion Simon, who has been selected as Labour's candidate, and John Lewis boss Andy Street, who will be representing the Conservatives. The Lib Dems have pinned their hopes on businesswoman Beverley Nielsen.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Castle Bromwich takeaways take a tilt at top award

IS Castle Bromwich the new curry capital of the West Midlands?
The suburb could certainly lay a decent stake to the claim after two of its Indian restaurants were shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Lime Pickle, in Windleaves Road, and Chutney Express, in nearby Hurst Lane, are both vying for the title of Best Takeaway in the West Midlands at the 2016 British Takeaway Awards.
They have been selected alongside eight other eateries from around the region.
And the competition is certainly hotting up, with a fish and chip shop in Walsall and a Wolverhampton-based Chinese also among the contenders.
Customers have until October 24 to nominate their favourite venue online and the top five from the public vote will make it through to the awards ceremony later this year.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Blooming good show for North Solihull's gardeners

SCHOOLS, community groups and green-fingered residents were among those to receive awards at this year's Solihull Neighbourhoods in Bloom competition.
A clutch of winners from the north of the borough were named at the awards ceremony, which was held at the CTC Kingshurst Academy earlier this month.
The fact that Fordbridge Parish Council and Solihull Community Housing organise the contest in conjunction with Solihull Council means that North Solihull is always well represented among the entries.
But locals also did exceptionally well in the borough-wide categories, with Gladys Brewer, of Tulip Walk, Chelmsley Wood, receiving the prize for the prettiest front garden in all of Solihull.
It was also a proud night for Marston Green residents. The village's vibrant displays of flowers were ranked the third best in the borough, behind only Berkswell and Meriden.
Councillor Ken Hawkins, cabinet member for environment, housing and regeneration, said: "It’s great to reward people taking pride in their garden displays and long may it continue."

The full list of winners from the north of the borough were:

Schools (Silver Award winners):
Castle Bromwich Juniors, Marston Green Juniors and the Grace Academy.

Young Gardener:
237 Castle Bromwich Thursday Beavers

SCH Best Garden - Chelmsley Wood, Fordbridge and Marston Green:
1st – Merlie Barrett, Whitebeam Road
2nd Ann Robinson, Poplar Avenue
3rd – Carol Shelton, Clover Avenue

SCH Best Garden - Kingshurst, Smith’s Wood and Castle Bromwich:
1st – Jacqueline Matthews, Haselour Road
2nd – Sarah Walker, Laburnum Avenue
3rd – Ivan Dean, Dunton Road

SCH Disabled Garden:
1st – Grace Jones, Poplar Avenue
2nd – Ernest Howard, Coleshill Heath Road
3rd – Marcia Evans, Kelsull Croft

SCH Chair’s award for best display of geraniums:
2nd – Edith Wootton, Winchester Drive

SCH Champion Gardner:
Andrew Parkes, Laburnum Close

Disabled Gardener:
1st – D E Power, Moorend Avenue
2nd – P Smith, Pike Drive

Front Garden:
1st place, Gladys Brewer, Tulip Walk

3rd place, Marston Green

Friday, 14 October 2016

Apple Day in Castle Bromwich

PIP, pip hooray! Apple Day will be taking place at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens this Sunday.
Fruit  harvested by the gardeners will be on sale and visitors can also look forward to face painting, corn dolly making, birds of prey on display and tours of the orchard.
People are also invited to bring apples from their own tree to be juiced.
Visitors welcome from 12.30-4.30pm.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Clash over hikes in pay for Solihull Council directors

Councillor James Burn
A CHELMSLEY Wood councillor has strongly criticised the decision by Solihull Council to give further pay rises to two of its highest earners.
At the Full Council meeting on Tuesday night it was agreed that two senior directors would see their pay packets increase by £6,000 a year.
Coun James Burn (Green) said that the move followed a number of similar rises in executive pay and that the situation was "getting beyond a joke."
"Since last year our top six directors have shared almost £40,000 per year pay increases between a time when there has been cuts to virtually almost every service.
"The reason given for this latest rise is to address gender inequality, obviously that ostensibly is a good thing but if that's really our concern I think we need to look first to increase pay for our lowest paid, who are disproportionately women."
Coun Robert Hulland, the cabinet member in charge of council finances, said the changes had been made in response to concerns that people of similar-ranking jobs were paid different amounts of money. He also insisted the plans would be "cost-neutral."

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

"Killer clown" filmed near Castle Bromwich pub

VIDEO footage has appeared online of a "killer clown" in the vicinity of a Castle Bromwich pub.
The clip, which was published on Facebook earlier today, shows an individual in a sinister mask lurking near The Coach and Horses.
The figure was caught on film by a group of teenagers who heard there was a clown in the local area and had gone to investigate.
As they approach the man, who is stood in a wooded area, he starts to give chase.
The sighting yesterday evening is the latest in a spate of incidents of people putting on scary clown costumes in an attempt to frighten passers-by.
Over the weekend, another masked figure was spotted hiding in the bushes near the shops in Shard End Crescent.
The trend started in America, but there have been an increasing number of reports around the UK in the past few days.
Police have been called to some incidents and forces have warned the pranksters that while their actions may seem like harmless fun, some people are likely to be distressed.

"Cold-hearted" carer who stole from an elderly man gets suspended sentence

A CHELMSLEY Wood woman who stole from a vulnerable 91-year-old has avoided  prison, ITV News has reported.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Discovering an alien world in Castle Bromwich

OSOS is given an insight into the alien world right under our nose – and beneath our feet – during a visit to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens...

THE creature’s skin glints like metal in the sun.
It has great bulging eyes and a cluster of sharp bits around its mouth parts, ideal for grinding apart its prey.
This formidable predator may sound like something from a science fiction story, but you may be surprised – and slightly alarmed – to discover that you could find one at the bottom of your garden.
Before you get too worried you should know that this perfectly engineered killing machine is a couple of inches long and will be known to schoolchildren around England as a dragonfly.
The species that we’ve stumbled upon is the Common Darter – a bright orange specimen that hunts midges and other small insects.
Despite their fearsome appearance, the insects are entirely harmless. Although one should remember that when the creatures first evolved – more than 300 million years ago – they were truly enormous, with wing spans of around two feet.
These prehistoric terrors died out long ago, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the fact that the creatures’ distant ancestors once hunted in the same swamps where dinosaurs roamed.
Today the dragonflies are hunting in the rather less tropical surroundings of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, where a group of us are being led around by insect expert Steven Falk.
The naturalist, who recently featured on an episode of BBC’s Countryfile, is an ideal guide to the creatures which swarm and multiply, often unseen, in flower beds and hedgerows across the country.
In a shady spot not far from the pond, another minibeast stirs.
If the dragonfly, with its iridescent armour and bristling jaws, bore a passing resemblance to the xenomorph from the Alien films, this creature’s long legs bring to mind the tripods from HG Wells’ War of the Worlds.
At first glance you assume you’re staring at a spider, until you notice the legs are so much longer and the body more bunched than the scuttling things you tend to find in your bath tub.
The harvestman is in fact a type of arachnid, but it doesn’t spin webs or produce venom. Instead it snares prey with hooks at the end of its stilt-like legs and when threatened can produce a foul-smelling liquid. I make sure not to threaten it...
While Steven’s expertise seems to extend to almost any kind of invertebrate, his true passion – and indeed the focus of today’s walk – is bees. Fuzzier and, it has to be said, rather friendlier insects than wasps, the gardens’ flower beds make this something of a haven for the pollen collectors.
Incredibly there are 250 different species in the UK, with only 10 per cent of these the bumblebees which people are most likely to be familiar with.
With a quick sweep of his net, Steven is able to snare one of the insects so we can get a closer look and, indeed, feel.
“It won’t sting you – I promise,” he tells one youngster, who looks ever so slightly terrified by the suggestion that he stroke the bee. It turns out that only females have a sting.
The truth is of course that, as is often the case, humans are creating far more problems for insects than they are for us. The same week of the walk there were more reports in the press of the harm that pesticides are doing to Britain’s bee population.
The chemicals used on certain crops have caused numbers across the world to plummet.
Throw in the threat of foreign invaders – harlequin ladybirds have decimated the native varieties – and it’s a sobering thought to take away as we arrive back at the entrance to the gardens.
This alien landscape is not only vast and complicated, it is also remarkably fragile and there’s always the danger that tomorrow’s children won’t have the chance to enjoy it.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Bishop Wilson raises a cuppa for cancer charity

TAKE A CAKE: A sample of the sweet delicacies being sold at the school

PUPILS, parents and staff at a Chelmsley Wood primary school have raised almost £1,300 for a national charity.
Bishop Wilson CofE Primary organised a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, with an excellent turn-out on the day.
It is the eleventh year running that the school has served up tea and cake, with a raffle helping to raise the total to a record level.
Trish Purnell, the school's senior lunchtime supervisor, said: "I’m delighted we have been able to host one of the biggest coffee mornings in the West Midlands.
"We have had fantastic support from local businesses, residents and parents donating prizes and cakes. I’m thrilled that each year we manage to hold this brilliant event and each year we beat the amount raised the previous year."

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Residents keen to see improvements to Kingshurst Parade

LONG WAIT: Kingshurst Parade is set to be redeveloped
as part of the North Solihull Regeneration
RESIDENTS in Kingshurst are becoming frustrated by the long wait for news about the proposals to give the Parade a much-needed facelift, a local councillor has said.
The shopping area is set to be redeveloped as part of the ongoing Regeneration programme.
It is now three years since Solihull Council acquired the former Mountford pub; a deal which, along with the subsequent acquisition of the GP surgery, was seen as giving the local authority more options as it prepared a “masterplan” for a new village centre.
However, the lack of updates about how the scheme is developing has worried some local people, who argue that the increasingly dilapidated precinct needs urgent attention.
One of the council’s own documents, dating from 2014, described the shopping area as “busy but run down.”
Councillor Debbie Evans (UKIP, Kingshurst & Fordbridge) said that the subject had become “the elephant in the room” as far as the Regeneration was concerned.
“I know it’s a thorny issue and I know it’s down to finance but I as a ward member need to offer people assurance that this is definitely going to go ahead.
“They are all looking at Chelmund’s Cross, they are all looking at Smith’s Wood and saying ‘there’s all this money going there, when’s Kingshurst going to come to the party?’.”
The redevelopment of the Parade is listed as one of the main priorities in the latest report on
the progress of the Regeneration, which went across to councillors recently.
The business plan covers the period up until March 2020, although an exact date for the start of the project  has yet to be confirmed.
Coun Bob Sleigh, leader of Solihull Council, said that updates on the progress of the work would be made available to ward members on request.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Bra-sket competion helps raise awareness for breast cancer

HANGING BRA-SKET: Photo by Gro-Organic

A NUMBER of community projects and venues in North Solihull will be taking part in a novel competition to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Bluebell Community Gardens, Gro-Organic, the Three Trees Centre and Kingshurst Art Space are among the organisations creating colourful hanging "bra-skets"
It is hoped that the contest will draw attention to a serious issue.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a number of information sessions will be held in the weeks ahead. In the north of the borough, events are scheduled for:
  • Tuesday, October 11 - Chelmsley Wood Library (10am-12noon)
  • Tuesday, October 11 - You+ Shop, Chelmsley Wood (1am-3pm)
  • Wednesday, October 12 - Craig Croft Pharmacy (10-11am).
Councillor Karen Grinsell, the cabinet member responsible for health, said: "Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – with 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer in their lifetime. 
"We hope that these eye-catching displays will help raise awareness for local support services and also encourage women to check themselves and attend their breast screening appointments."
Previous research has suggested that screening for the illness is less common in the north of the borough. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Council confirms Kingshurst school will be rebuilt

SOLIHULL Council has bowed to public pressure and agreed to give the go-ahead to a brand-new building for Yorkswood Primary School.
The ageing premises, which was built in the 1950s, was one of several sites due to be pulled down and rebuilt from scratch as part of the North Solihull Regeneration.
But the local authority had more recently suggested that the improvements would be limited to an extensive refurbishment of the existing building.
In response, parents had pushed hard for the council to honour its original proposal and it has now been confirmed that education chiefs have reverted to the previous plan.
The new development will link with the existing Brambles Nursery and allow for expansion to cater for an increased number of pupils in future.
Executive headteacher Deb Wilson said: “We are delighted that the children at Yorkswood will have access to an exciting new learning environment.”

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pastry and poetry at the Grace Academy

A CHELMSLEY Wood school is organising a family event to mark National Poetry Day.
And unusually the Grace Academy will be serving up that match day favourite, the humble pie, alongside a selection of verses.
The event will be taking place on Thursday (October 6) from 6-7pm. Call Maxine on 0121 329 4600.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Chelmsley Wood man named as victim of city centre crash

POLICE have confirmed that a Chelmsley Wood man was the victim of a hit-and-run in Birmingham city centre last month.
Paul Donaldson was struck by a car between Ashted Circus and Curzon Circle in the early hours of Sunday, September 25.
The 42-year-old was taken to hospital but died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash, which happened around 2.30am.
Two men have been arrested and released on bail, West Midlands Police confirmed today.
A 29-year-old man, the driver of a Vauxhall Vectra, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop.
The driver of a Fiat Panda, a 78-year-old man, was also arrested at the scene for drink driving.
Police have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to call them on 101.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Public transport a problem for North Solihull's jobhunters

WAITING FOR CHANGE: A significant proportion of
people in North Solihull rely on public transport
POOR public transport links continue to cause problems for a significant number of young people looking for work, the Deputy Leader of Solihull Council has said.
Councillor Ian Courts was responding to questions about the steps that were being taken to tackle youth unemployment in the north of the borough – which remains at a higher level than the figure for the whole of Solihull.
The debate once again highlighted the difficulties that unreliable and infrequent bus services pose in those parts of the borough where car ownership is still comparatively low.
The last Census suggested that in excess of four in 10 households in Chelmsley Wood don’t have access to a vehicle.
“Something like 70 per cent of young people said ‘the problem I have about getting a job is that I don’t have good public transport’,” said Coun Courts.
“That is a key thing. It’s not just jobs, it’s getting people to jobs.”
The comments follow previous research which suggested that poor services put off many people in areas including Chelmsley Wood from considering work in Solihull town centre.
With previous changes to timetables having done little to address the underlying problem, the option of so-called “sprint” bus routes to cut journey times is currently under discussion. There are also hopes that the creation of a new combined authority, in which Solihull will collaborate with other West Midlands councils, may help to tackle the longstanding difficulties – with councillors assuming greater responsibility for transport matters.
Coun Courts said “significant progress” had been made in driving down youth unemployment, although eight per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds in North Solihull continue to claim Jobseekers’ Allowance or Universal Credit.
Green Party councillor Tim Hodgson said that the issue continued to be a “stubborn problem.”
“That’s not to take away from the progress that has been made but [unemployment] is something that really sticks out to’s something that we have to continually keep focusing on.”