Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas lights to be turned on in Marston Green

AN ENHANCED display of Christmas lights will be switched-on in Marston Green tomorrow (Thursday).
Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council has confirmed that eight more lamp posts have been decorated in the village centre, thanks to sponsorship from around 20 local businesses.
The first phase of a project to create a more impressive display got underway last year, with street lights adorned in the vicinity of the memorial garden.
At the time, councillors said that a sponsorship scheme would probably be the most effective way of finding the funds for additional illuminations.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Police warning as winter takes hold

FAST-acting thieves stole a car in Castle Bromwich this morning, prompting a fresh appeal from police for drivers not to leave the engine running in cold weather.
Overnight temperatures dropped to around -6, with many motorists waking up to find their vehicles had been frozen over.
But the incident in Hodnell Close - in which opportunists drove off with a Mazda - is a stark reminder about the dangers of leaving the keys in the ignition while trying to clear the ice from the windscreen.
The crime was one of three similar incidents that Solihull Police confirmed on social media, with cars also reported stolen in Knowle and Dorridge. In total the thefts amounted to more than £100,000.
A spokesman said: "We are warning car owners it only takes a few seconds for their vehicle to be taken from a driveway or outside their homes.
"Opportunist car thieves watch the weather forecast and we are advising car owners not to nip back inside their home when a car is defrosting. Motorists should stay with their vehicle and use a de-icer spray or scraper to speed up the process."
The cold snap is set to continue over the next few days, with sub-zero temperatures expected again tonight.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Xmas card workshops to start in Smith's Wood

A SERIES of Christmas card workshops will be taking place in Smith's Wood over the next couple of weeks.
The sessions will be held at Auckland Hall on Wednesday (November 30) and December 7 and 14. The events run from 10.30-11.30am and if you have any craft items please bring them along on the day.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Plans to revamp Kingshurst Parade take shape

LONG-awaiting plans to redevelop Kingshurst Parade are due to be debated by Solihull Council next week.
The redevelopment of the ageing shopping precinct was always due to form part of the Regeneration, but the lack of progress has frustrated residents.
Now a report, which sheds some light on the reasons for the delays, has been prepared for the council's cabinet.
Council officers said that the main stumbling block had been coming up with a plan which was commercially viable, admitting that two previous proposals from last year had been abandoned.
Now a fresh scheme has been brought to the table, which would include new shops and medical facilities, a 100 homes and the possible creation of a new "community hub."
The report says that the project could "reinvigorate" an area which the local authority admits has become "run down" and often attracts anti social behaviour.
Discussions are set to continue over the coming months, with a public consultation to take place next year. The council's hope is that a masterplan for the Kingshurst village centre will be in place by the summer.
That said, concerns remain about securing the necessary funding for the development, which is ultimately expected to cost in the region of £15million.
The report comes just a few weeks after a petition was raised calling on the local authority to provide an update.
The document, which was presented by UKIP councillor Debbie Evans (Kingshurst & Fordbridge), said: "We feel we have waited long enough for an explanation to come forward and we as residents feel forgotten by this council."

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ladies "indulgence evening" in Marston Green

A SPECIAL “pampering” event will be taking place at Marston Green Junior School tomorrow evening (Friday).
The ladies’ evening will include manicures, eyebrow threading and a range of stalls and refreshments.
The event will be taking place from 7-9pm. All welcome.

Delivery driver jailed for sexual assault

A PARCEL man from Castle Bromwich has been jailed for four years after being convicted of sexually assaulting a disabled woman during a delivery.
Wasim Bhar, 24, of Sweetmoor Close, had been sent to deliver a package to the Chelmsley Wood address on January 7.
After handing over the parcel, Bhar had groped his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The 52-year-old had told the court she had been scared for her life.
Police had later linked the defendant to the scene through DNA evidence, despite his initial protests that the woman was "delusional."
On Monday (November 21), Bhar was convicted of the crime and has been handed a custodial sentence. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.
Det Con Katy Roberts said: "I want to reassure the public that these types of sexual crimes are thankfully very rare.
"The fact that Bhar had gained the victim’s trust and used his role as a delivery driver to gain access to her house was very concerning and the crime was treated as very serious. The attack was clearly premeditated and was extremely callous.
"The courage that the victim showed in coming forward was considerable."
A spokesman for the delivery firm Hermes said that Bhar had concealed previous criminal convictions before applying for a job.
"This is an extremely serious incident and whilst we are satisfied that all necessary legal checks are in place, we are undertaking a full review of our service provider application process," they added.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Council plans £400 fine for fly tippers

SICK AND TYRED OF IT: In recent months fly tipping has been reported
behind the Marston Green Tavern and in Lanchester Way, Smith's Wood

SOLIHULL Council is set to impose the highest fines available under new powers designed to deter fly tipping.
Changes to the law, which came into force earlier this year, mean that local authorities can now hand out fixed penalty notices to those who have dumped rubbish.
Under previous rules, the only options open to councils were to give culprits a formal caution or start proceedings to take the individual to court.
Now however, they will be able to issue the fines of between £150 and £400, in a similar fashion to the penalties already handed out for littering and dog fouling.
On Wednesday this week, the cabinet member for stronger communities and partnerships will approve the level of fine which will be issued in the borough and it has been indicated that the heaviest sum available will be imposed on those caught.
Nigel Abbotts, a Solihull Council officer who prepared a report on the options available, said: "Fly tipping is a serious environmental crime, impacting on our local and wider communities and environment.
"Therefore, it is believed that the highest level fine of £400 is an appropriate and sufficient penalty to make it clear that an offence has been committed and also to act as a deterrent against further offending."
The penalty notice will be reduced to £300 for those who pay within ten working days.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Return of Christmas hamper appeal for elderly residents

SPIRIT OF GIVING: There was an extraordinary response to last year's
appeal, which was widely shared on social media sites.

A CHRISTMAS hamper appeal will once again be running in North Solihull following the tremendous success of the initiative last year.
Thanks to the generosity of local people, a total of 315 hampers were delivered to elderly people in 2015.
Organisers from Solihull Council's Neighbourhood Services team are hoping that there will be a similar response this year and will be working closely with local primary schools, including Coleshill Heath.
Residents can also contribute by taking a hamper to the collection point which has been set up at the Onward Club, in Helmswood Drive. There is also a similar drop-off at Olton Library, for those who live south of the A45.
People are asked to decorate a small box, fill it with food and include a Christmas card. The best items to include are those with a decent shelf-life, such as soups, tinned vegetables and chocolate.
If you would like to donate a hamper, you have until December 10.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Santa set on his way with help from local cab company

SANTA'S LITTLE HELPERS: Simon Moss and fellow Lions
receive the donation from John Kington of TC Cars
SANTA has struck a deal with a local taxi firm to complete his rounds in North Solihull.
Marston Green & District Lions announced this week that their partnership with TC Cars will be renewed for the third year running, with the private hire company once again lending a cab for the traditional sleigh routes.
As well as loaning the Lions the vehicle, the firm has made a £500 donation for the good causes that the annual tour of local roads supports.
Simon Moss, president of the branch, said: "The generosity of local people and businesses never ceases to amaze me. The vehicle alone is essential for our Christmas activities and will help us raise around £3,000.
"The donation from TC Cars is the icing, and the marzipan, on the cake and we cannot thank them enough."
The sleigh will be travelling the streets of Marston Green and Chelmsley Wood from December 12-20. Full details of the timetable will be posted next month.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Festive fair in Marston Green

A CHRISTMAS Craft & Gift Fair will be taking place in Marston Green tomorrow (Saturday.)
The event, at St Leonard's Church, will have a variety of stalls for visitors in hunt of a gift or two.
There will also be festive songs, a raffle and Santa's grotto between 10am-2pm.
Admission is £1 for adults, children get in free.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Police appeal as part of Kingshurst murder inquiry

WANTED: Jammal Chase
POLICE have appealed for help in tracing a key suspect, who is wanted in connection with a fatal stabbing in Kingshurst last month.
Giovanni Lewis, 28, had suffered a knife wound to the chest in the vicinity of Hadfield Way on October 18.
Today police appealed for information about the whereabouts of 19-year-old Jammal Chase, who they want to speak to in connection with the incident.
Jammal is originally from Birmingham but currently has no fixed address.
Members of the public are urged not to approach the teenager but to dial 999 immediately if they see him.
Det Insp Paul Joyce, from Force CID, said: "I also want to appeal to Jammal directly. Do the right thing and come forward to tell your side of the story."
Police can be contacted on 101 or alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Young people co-ordinate Chelmsley Wood photography project

A PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition which puts local residents in the frame will be taking place at Bosworth Community Centre this Saturday (November 19).
The Humans of Chelmsley Wood event has been co-ordinated by young people and draws inspiration from a similar project which previous won acclaim in New York.
The exhibition will be open from 12noon-2.30pm. Food and drink will be served on the day.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Plans for Smith's Wood Medical Centre to go on show

NEW PREMISES: The creation of purpose-built medical centres has been
a key part of the North Solihull Regeneration.

PLANS for a new medical centre in Smith's Wood will be available to view at a consultation event tomorrow (Thursday).
The drop-in session will give residents the opportunity to discuss proposals to build a new premises which will house both Green Lane Surgery and the existing Arran Medical Centre.
The consultation will be held at Smith's Wood Primary Academy, in Burtons Way, between 2-6pm.
Feedback from the session will be used to shape the plans submitted to Solihull Council.
Information will also be made available to view online, with locals having until November 24 to comment.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

MP for Chelmsley Wood? Examining plans to change your local constituency

MAPPED OUT: The proposed boundaries
of Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North
IF a new set of plans is pushed through, there could be an MP for Chelmsley Wood sitting in Parliament in a few years’ time.
Or, to be more precise, an MP for Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North – the full name of the new constituency which was first revealed last month.
The change is part of a nationwide shake-up of electoral boundaries, set to take effect in time for the next General Election (currently scheduled for 2020.)
Locally it could potentially mean a new MP from a new party representing a very different area. Other Side of Solihull looks at some of the main issues surrounding the change.

1. New boundaries: Meriden - the seat that North Solihull is currently part of - is the largest (geographically speaking) in the West Midlands.
Its size makes it incredibly diverse, from the council estates of the north to the great acres of farmland and small villages to the south.
The new seat is a lot more compact and will be dominated by urban areas. As the new name suggests, North Solihull would be very much the centre of the constituency, rather than on the margins.
The north of the borough would be grouped with Elmdon and Lyndon, two suburbs on the other side of the Coventry Road, and the Sheldon district of Birmingham.
A few remaining rural communities, including Barston and Hampton-in-Arden (right), would also be part of the seat.

2. New name: Some residents have made the point that Chelmsley Wood is in fact part of North Solihull, so a new name including both could be confusing.
With locals having a chance to give their opinion on the proposals, there’s a chance that the name may change before the plans are finalised.

3. New parties: Meriden has been held by the Conservatives since the 1970s and, with a good number of prosperous neighbourhoods, it is considered one of the party’s “safe seats”.
Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North would be a far harder seat for the Tories to win, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that Labour would ease to power.
If anything the area would be a real political chameleon - as it stands, the eight wards which would make up the constituency have councillors from five different parties.
The Lib Dems, who have lately stopped fielding candidates in the north of the borough, nonetheless command significant support in areas including Sheldon and Elmdon. UKIP - who are growing support in traditional working class areas - and the Greens, the dominant force in North Solihull, complete the colourful political map.

4. New MP?: Caroline Spelman has been the MP for Meriden since 1997 and has increased her majority over the course of almost 20 years. The new boundaries, however, would leave her with something of a dilemma.
Five of the nine wards from her current seat will be part of Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North, but the majority of areas where she enjoys the greatest backing are set to be moved elsewhere - where she is likely to face a tougher fight to be named the Tory candidate.
Mrs Spelman has raised a number of concerns about the new look boundaries, including the fact that constituencies can now include areas from more than one council area.
She said: "The splitting of constituencies across local authority boundaries; such as Hampton-in-Arden in the new Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North constituency, and Balsall Common in Meriden and Coventry West, are ill-conceived and will cause significant problems of administration by flying in the face of historic local ties."
She also believes that the new arrangements will undermine work to unite Solihull borough, going so far as to set up a petition against the proposals.

5. New voters: The Government’s main argument for the boundary changes is that it will mean that almost every constituency has a similar number of voters.
Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North (77,400) would have a slightly smaller electorate than Meriden (around 83,400). Interestingly, the most densely populated part of the new seat would be Sheldon, where more than 15,000 people are eligible to vote.

6. New neighbours: There would also be various changes to the nearby constituencies. Solihull would be rebranded Shirley and Solihull South and would retain many of the same neighbourhoods, although it would also encompass some of the leafier parts of Meriden as well as Tanworth-in-Arden, in Warwickshire. Other areas of Meriden, including Knowle and Balsall Common, would be bound up with the western parts of Coventry.

You can have your say on the proposals at the Boundary Commission website.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Supermoon over North Solihull

CLOUDS parted earlier this evening to give amateur astronomers in North Solihull the chance to see the most impressive "supermoon" for 70 years.
The Earth's satellite has made its closest approach since 1948 and will appear seven per cent larger and 15 per cent brighter than usual - although the difference will be difficult to detect with the naked eye.
The moon - which was a mere 221,524 miles (356,509km) from Earth earlier today - won't be this close again for another 18 years.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Lost tooth links man to Castle Bromwich burglary

A BURGLAR who bit a man's hand during a break-in has been jailed, after one of his teeth broke off and was used by police to link him to the crime
Lee Francis, 39, had been rummaging around the house, in Manor Park Road, Castle Bromwich, when the owner returned.
The 66-year-old had bravely tackled the burglar, who had bitten the pensioner so hard that he had fractured the man's finger.
The two men ended up grappling on the kitchen floor, with the homeowner's mother striking the defendant with a walking stick. The 93-year-old was also assaulted in the struggle.
Eventually Francis (pictured, right) broke free and fled with property worth around £2,000.
On July 18 this year, almost two months after the burglary, the victims were baffled when they found a tooth in their washing machine.
The incisor - which had been dislodged in the scuffle and is thought to have fallen into an upended washing basket - was handed to detectives who carried out tests and found a DNA match with Francis.
He was arrested and later charged with burglary, assault and drugs production, after a small cannabis factory was uncovered in the loft of his home in Timberley Lane, Shard End.
Appearing at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this month, the defendant admitted the offences and was jailed for six years and four months.
DCI Anthony Tagg, from Solihull Police, said that the tooth had been the key piece of evidence which had enabled officers to put the burglar behind bars.
"It [had] stayed undetected for several weeks until the residents heard it rattling around in the washing machine. Initially it was unclear if it was a human or animal tooth…but when it was ground down and analysed by forensics it identified Francis as the former owner.
"This was a really nasty incident: the man described hearing a crunch when Francis bit his finger and suffered a fracture and tendon damage."

American football team launched in Chelmsley Wood

AIMING FOR GREATNESS: The Arrows were previously a Redditch-based
team which disbanded in 2009. Ex-players have decided to revive the name.

HOPES are high that a sport may gain a new audience locally with the launch of a team based in Chelmsley Wood.
The Arrows - an American football team - is inviting over 18s to take part in taster sessions in the weeks ahead.
The sport is thought to have been introduced to this country by US soldiers stationed here decades ago and there is a national governing body for the British contingent.
While a number of new teams have been set up in the past few years, the game has yet to gain the popularity among spectators enjoyed by home-grown team sports such as football and rugby.
Ian Hill, the Arrows' head coach, hopes that the emergence of a new side will enthuse people locally.
Training sessions will be taking place at North Solihull Sports Centre today (November 13), November 27 and December 11. Registration from 10.45am.
Pre-season training will begin in the new year.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

North Solihull to remember the fallen

LOCAL people will be paying their respects to those who gave their lives in various conflicts at tomorrow's Remembrance Sunday services.
In Castle Bromwich, members of the community will parade from Old Croft Lane to the Village Green's memorial, where the traditional service will be held.
Ex-servicemen, parish councillors and members of the Royal British Legion will be among those taking part in the procession.
Crowds will also fall silent in Marston Green, where commemorations will start with a short service at St Leonard's Church (at 10am.) The parade will then travel to the Memory Garden for the silence at the stroke of 11.
Wreaths will also be laid in a ceremony in Chelmsley Wood.
Mayor of Solihull, Coun Mike Robinson, said: "The Battle of the Somme drew to a close on November 18 1916; this was one of the bloodiest battles fought during the First World War. 
"British casualties alone amounted to over 240,000 including the 127 local men who died; a devastating loss to families in Solihull and throughout Britain.  
"It seems fitting that this year we should commemorate the ending of this terrible slaughter."

Friday, 11 November 2016

Smith's Wood man charged with child sex offences

A NURSERY worker from North Solihull has appeared in court charged with a number of child sex offences.
Jamie Chapman, 28, of Tamar Drive, Smith's Wood, was arrested earlier this week and remanded in custody by Birmingham Magistrates today (Friday).
He has been accused of four counts of causing/inciting a boy aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of causing/inciting the sexual exploitation of a child aged 13 to 17, and the rape of a boy aged 13 to 15.
He also faces charges relating to taking, making and distributing indecent photos/pseudo photos of a child.
Following a search of a property earlier this week, police have seized a number of pieces of computer equipment.
Officers are also liaising with the nursery where Chapman is employed, as well as previous places of work. Detectives stressed that at this stage of their inquiry there is no evidence to suggest any inappropriate contact between the worker and children at the nursery.
The case was adjourned to Birmingham Crown Court on December 9.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Local projects receive share of £15k community fund

TOP OF THE CROPS: Pizza and Potatoes was
one of 11 projects to receive funding
ELEVEN projects in North Solihull will share a £15,000 community fund.
The new owners of Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre had invited applications for grants from local community groups and received almost 40 bids.
The winners, announced last month, are: Let's Decorate Chelmsley Wood, Moor Involved, BeSeen BeHeard BeCreative, The Wellbeing Community Choir, The Charitable Guitar Workshop, SOH Young Rangers, Three Trees Community Centre, Pizza and Potatoes, Recovery Garden Restoration, Children's Clothing Scheme, and Northern Star Community Arts.
The judging panel had a very difficult task whittling down the shortlist, having heard pitches from the people behind each venture.
Neil Griffin, the centre manager, said: "We hope that in the coming months many of these groups will take the opportunity to put on modest displays and presentations at the Chelmsley Wood Centre so all our shoppers can share the positive way they are helping shape our society."
If you would like more information about the beneficiaries click here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

CCTV appeal after safe stolen in Castle Bromwich

POLICE are appealing for information after burglars stole a safe containing thousands of pounds from a house in Castle Bromwich.
The culprits climbed onto a flat roof and smashed an upstairs window during the break-in in Lyndon Close last Wednesday (November 2).
The safe was ripped out of a wardrobe and carried out of the property at some point between 5pm and 7.40pm.
CCTV cameras at a neighbouring address captured two men, thought to be the suspects, walking down the road. Some 45 minutes later they passed again wheeling a suitcase.
Solihull Police are pursuing several lines of enquiry but have now released CCTV footage and are appealing for the public’s help to trace those caught on film.
Officers are also keen to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Ian Akehurst.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Marston Green scheme could open the flood gates to green belt development

RESIDENTS in Marston Green have warned that the decision to grant planning permission for an expansion of Birmingham Business Park sets “a dangerous precedent” for building on green belt land.
Last month, Solihull Council granted outline approval to erect up to three new buildings on a field adjacent to Blackfirs Lane – a little over 100 metres away from some residents’ homes.
Clive Hill, a member of Bickenhill and Marston Green Parish Council, argued the scheme rode roughshod over the terms agreed when the business park was first built in the 1980s.
Locals were also concerned about increased noise and disturbance.
Coun Alison Rolf (Con, Bickenhill) said: “This is high quality green belt land which forms a buffer between the business area and the residential area.
“[Solihull Council] has already allowed expansion which has eroded that buffer and this application seeks to erode it even more. Simple question – why does the green area have to be reduced to allow for the size of the buildings? Why can’t the building size be changed instead?”
The developers argued that the expansion would deliver significant economic benefits and could create up to 2,000 jobs locally.

Woman carjacked at Castle Bromwich supermarket

A WOMAN was robbed in a supermarket car park in Castle Bromwich yesterday (Monday) evening.
The 63-year-old was sat in her Vauxhall Astra outside the Morrisons store when a man opened the door, climbed into the passenger seat and urged her to give him a lift down the road.
She refused but he continued to demand that she drive away, claiming that there were people after him who would stab him.
Eventually he ordered the victim out of the vehicle, snatching the keys and driving away from the scene.
The woman, who was badly shaken but otherwise unhurt, had run to the nearby petrol station to raise the alarm. The incident happened at around 6.25pm.
The suspect is described as a white man, aged 30-35. He was wearing dark clothing and a pale-coloured beanie hat.
The vehicle, which is deep sky blue and had a distinctive nodding dog on the dashboard (pictured), is still missing.
If you have any information please call Solihull Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Only one in ten of the borough's takeaways are in North Solihull

ARE the takeaways taking over North Solihull? Not if a recent study is to be believed.
A new report, published by Public Health England (PHE), has revealed that while there are 114 fast food outlets across the borough, only a dozen of these are located in the three “regeneration” wards (Chelmsley Wood, Smith’s Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge).
Castle Bromwich has a higher concentration of takeaways, with nine scattered across the suburb – although this is still rather fewer than the number doing business in certain wards south of the A45.
The study would seem to suggest that the national trend of food outlets targeting more deprived areas for custom does not hold true in Solihull.
In fact, the figures show that you are far more likely to find Chinese restaurants and Indian eateries in areas such as Shirley.
Although experts may argue that the number of businesses is less important than how often locals are eating at these premises and research has consistently shown that encouraging healthy eating is a challenge in North Solihull.
In all three regeneration wards, fewer than one in five adults eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Dr Lola Abudu, director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE West Midlands, said: “Having fish and chips or a curry is part of Britain’s culture, however over a fifth of adults and children eat takeaway meals at home more than once a week, which is contributing to the nation’s obesity epidemic.
“Some local authorities are already trying to limit new takeaways, particularly around schools and we understand a number of councils in the West Midlands region are looking to do this, in order to discourage children from swapping their healthy school dinners for fast food.”
Such an approach has been discussed by a number of Solihull councillors and last summer there was a petition raised against plans to open a new fish and chip shop in Hurst Lane.
The ultimately unsuccessful campaign was, ironically enough, spearheaded by an existing chippy which argued that a glut of similar shops opening their doors would be bad for business

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Chelmsley Wood residents frustrated by "long-running saga"

A RESIDENT has made an impassioned case for Solihull Council to scrap plans to pull down a set of bungalows in Chelmsley Wood, which he claimed would “destroy” a close-knit community.
Peter Wilson has questioned the logic of bulldozing the single-storey homes in Lambeth Close, given that they are still structurally sound.
The homes in question have been at the centre of a long-running dispute, ever since it became apparent a few years ago that the council was considering demolishing the buildings as part of its Local Development Plan.
Up to 14 dwellings and the nearby Centurion pub would be affected by the proposals.
Mr Wilson, who has lived in the area since it was built in 1970, said that the residents had endured “a very long period of uncertainty.”
“They are now a little bit upset and annoyed that this saga is dragging on and on, year after year,” he told last month’s Full Council meeting.
“A forced move for the bungalow residents, many of whom are elderly and infirm, and have been in their houses for a very long time, would be traumatic.”
Councillor Ian Courts, the Deputy Leader of the Council, said the development was being considered as part of the wider Regeneration programme.
He insisted that “extensive consultation” to discuss residents’ personal needs and wishes would take place before any final decision is taken.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Marston Green mum supports a charity close to her heart

RUNNING PARTNERS: Katerina Pegg, with her
daughter Daisy and mum Susan.
A MARSTON Green mum – whose little girl has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder – recently ran a half-marathon in aid of the charity which has given her so much support.
Katerina Pegg, aged 29, was devastated to be told that her baby daughter Daisy had alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency – a condition which affects sufferers’ liver and lungs.
Daisy had been diagnosed when she was just a few weeks old after the family noticed that she was suffering from jaundice and was failing to gain weight.
A series of tests confirmed that the youngster had the condition – which is thought to affect just one in every 1,500 people.
Katerina, who works as a nurse, was put in touch with the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), who were able to offer much-needed advice.
“Alpha-1 is rare... I had never heard of it, so we were so grateful to CLDF who were there with vital information which explained everything clearly to us and emotional support for us when we needed it most,” she said.
“Daisy responded to treatment and is currently doing well but her condition is a lifelong one and we want to ensure that CLDF will be there for her as she grows up.”
Katerina and her mum Susan decided to pull on their running shoes and tackle the Great Birmingham Run last month, hoping to raise £200.
Alison Taylor, the CLDF’s chief executive, said the organisation relied entirely on donations and the charity was “very grateful” that two generations of the same family had decided to take up the challenge.
The fundraising page can be found here.

Council readies for winter as colder weather sets in

WINTER WEATHER: Conditions in 2009/10 caught many councils off guard
and led to a renewed emphasis on planning for frequent snowfall.

SOLIHULL’S highways team is confident that it has made all the necessary preparations to keep the roads moving in the event of a bad winter.
Last year, the borough council had little to contend with; the weather throughout the traditional “gritting months” was milder and wetter than usual.
While this led to flooding in some areas – and a slight increase in the number of potholes – there was little by way of ice and snow.
Councillor Ted Richards, the cabinet member for transport and highways, said there was no reason for complacency – 4,500 tonnes of gritting salt has been stockpiled in readiness for this winter.
“We’re well geared up,” he said. “Let’s hope we don’t get a severe weather but if we do, it looks like we can cope with it.”
Councillor Stephen Holt (Green, Smith’s Wood) had questioned if the comparatively mild conditions in 2015/16 – when only 25 gritting runs took place – had saved the council any money.
He was informed, however, that gritting is “a fixed cost” service and the only saving would have been on the salt used.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Chelmsley Wood fireworks display supports charities

ORGANISERS are making the final preparations for Chelmsley Wood’s biggest fireworks display.
This year the event will take place on Bonfire Night itself (Saturday, November 5) at the playing fields behind the Town Council offices (near the junction of Helmswood Drive and Berwicks Lane.)
There will be a burger bar and children's rides and organisers will be raising money for Marie Curie and Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Gates open at 6pm, with the display scheduled to start at 7pm.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Grace Academy student wins Solihull Education Award

TOP OF THE CLASS: Chloe Sutton, far right, joins other pupils and teachers
at the Education Awards, hosted by the Mayor of Solihull, Mike Robinson

A STAR pupil at the Grace Academy has been recognised at the annual Education Awards, which are organised to honour hard-working students around the borough.
Chloe Sutton was among six students singled out for praise, receiving the award for “Outstanding English Student.”
The teenager was presented with her prize in a ceremony at Solihull’s Civic Suite last month.
Chloe, who received four A*s in her GCSEs, has recently started her A Levels and has hopes of becoming a university professor.
English teacher Rachel Winn said: “I have never before taught a student with such natural flair for my subject and it is truly a pleasure to sit back and read her work.”
The award winners were picked following a rigorous judging process.
Councillor Ken Meeson, cabinet member for children, education and skills, said: “The judging panel were hugely impressed with the number of outstanding nominations and the winners can take great pride in being chosen from such a strong field.”

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Council vote paves the way for unpopular Babbs Mill development

AN appeal last month for Solihull Council to reconsider proposals to allow housing to be built on part of Babbs Mill Local Nature Reserve fell on deaf ears.
Eighty-eight objections were submitted to the local authority, urging councillors to rethink the plans – which have proven deeply controversial.
The council’s planning committee had already granted planning permission to build 52 houses on the green space but had yet to give the go ahead to strip a section of land of the nature reserve status – which needed to take place before building work could begin.
Despite the local opposition, the step was taken at a cabinet meeting on October 6, removing the final obstacle to the development.
Sarah Evans, who chairs the campaign group Action for Babbs Mill, said that activists were “gutted” to lose the latest battle.
“We [will] hold the developer to account making sure that they adhere to every promise and planning condition,” she said.
“Our group will now be moving forward to ensure that the remainder of the park is maintained to the high standard that it deserves.”
A report presented to councillors said that residents’ main objections included the loss of an important wildlife habitat, overcrowding and the general quality of the council’s consultation process.
It had previously been pointed out that advertising the intention to remove the nature reserve status in local newspapers was a futile gesture, since neither of Solihull’s weekly titles are delivered in the north of the borough.
Councillors ultimately agreed to press ahead with the “dedeclaration”, having concluded that the need for more housing outweighed the issues raised by locals.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Halloween bike rally causes chaos on North Solihull streets

SEIZED: Police have confiscated ten bikes, some of which were brought to
a stop using "stinger" devices.

UP to 100 bikers attacked a police van in Chelmsley Wood last night, after a mass rally descended into violence.
The motorcyclists had surrounded the vehicle in Yorkminster Drive, kicking at wing mirrors and attempting to smash the windows.
The gang, many of them masked, had only sped away after back-up had arrived at the scene.
Residents on the estate reported dozens of riders gathering on local streets around 9pm, with one eyewitness describing how the crowds brought nearby Moorend Avenue to "a standstill." Another likened the scenes to "like something from a Mad Max film."
There were also reports of the bikers racing through Marston Green, Castle Bromwich and other neighbouring areas.
One resident, reacting on Facebook, said: "What a stupid night to be out riding like idiots when there's little kids 'trick or treating' in the dark with dark clothing on. Just mindless."
The incidents were part of an event which had been advertised on social media as a "Halloween Ride Out" and involved hundreds of motorcyclists tearing along busy roads and through residential areas.
Police said the group had caused chaos around Birmingham and Solihull, jumping red lights, weaving in and out of traffic and performing dangerous stunts. There were even reports of bikers throwing fireworks at other motorists.
Five men and two male youths have been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, causing a public nuisance and motoring offences.
Chief Insp Jack Hadley, from West Midlands Police, described the behaviour as "loutish and criminal".
"Bikers were riding without lights, at speed, dangerously, pulling wheelies in the street, mounting pavements and damaging vehicles," he said.
"This kind of ‘event’ is outrageous and totally unacceptable and I sympathise with any members of the public that were inconvenienced by the bikers."
The rally was the latest in a series of incidents involving off-road bikes and motorcycles and comes only a matter of weeks after Solihull Council obtained an injunction which imposed a borough-wide ban on street  racing.
Some locals have accused the authorities of not doing more to intervene, but Chief Insp Hadley said that such incidents pose considerable challenges for officers on the ground.
"It is very difficult to plan for outbursts like this... we saw small groups of bikers speeding off in all directions. It is very hard for officers to try and contain that activity."