Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Latest edition of our digital newspaper is out now.

THE latest issue of Other Side of Solihull's digital newspaper is available now.
You can download the first edition of 2017 at Issuu.
Please contact us with stories and events to include in next month's publication.

Council called to end uncertainty over Lambeth Close plan

SOLIHULL Council has faced calls to end the agonising uncertainty of residents who are unsure if their bungalows will be demolished in the years ahead.
Councillor Chris Williams (Green, Chelmsley Wood) has urged the local authority to categorically
rule out plans to bulldoze around a dozen homes in Lambeth Close.
Residents have had the threat of demolition hanging over them ever since proposals to pull down the properties were included in the council’s Local Plan, which was adopted in 2013.
This document is now being revised and, encouragingly, the updated version makes no mention of the cul-de-sac.
Coun Williams believes, however, that it is down to the local authority to clarify the situation and dispel residents’ fears once and for all.
“The council owns all of the bungalows, which are managed by Solihull Community Housing (SCH), so they could rule out demolition of them right now if they wanted to,” he said.
“It would really put people’s minds at rest. These are the homes of elderly people who really deserve to be left in peace and know for sure their homes are safe for as long as they want them.”
Some of those living in Lambeth Close were interviewed by Radio WM last month and highlighted how difficult the past few years had been.
One of the residents said: “There’s nothing fair about this at all. We here are a very happy community, we’re happy in our homes, we’ve been here for years...and nobody wants to move.
“It’s not just destroying the buildings we live in, it’s destroying our lives.”
Coun Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of the Council, acknowledged that Lambeth Close did not feature in the revised Local Plan, which is currently out for consultation.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Police take steps to tackle Castle Brom bike riders

VICIOUS CYCLE: The group have caused problems along Chester Road.

POLICE have pledged to tackle the problem of teenagers on push bikes causing chaos on local roads.
In recent weeks, a group of 15-20 youths have been performing stunts along the Chester Road, infuriating motorists.
Resident Ian Yeomans had told a parish council meeting last week that many concerned locals had been given the impression that “it was not a priority.”
Others were worried they could be held liable if one of the bikes rode into their car - a suggestion strongly refuted by West Midlands Police.
Inspector Allan Green said that police policy prevented officers from pursuing the riders - who often aren't wearing helmets - and that a chase could result in a young person being "seriously injured."
However, he rejected claims that the force was failing to act and confirmed that officers had successfully identified a large number of the group, after confronting them at KFC earlier this month.
The police will now be paying visits to their homes, liaising with local schools and taking other steps to deter those involved.
Insp Green pointed to the success of a similar crackdown on off-road bikes fairly recently, although he insisted there was a marked difference between the two groups.
“These groups on off-road bikes are nasty, hardened criminals that you wouldn’t want to get in front of. These kids on push bikes… a lot of them aren’t bad kids.
“They are part of a group that has got a bit too confident, a bit too brave and at the moment they haven’t seen the consequence of what they’ve done.”

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Residents grill police inspector at Castle Bromwich meeting

A SENIOR police officer has admitted that “painful” budget cuts mean that the old methods of policing - such as routine foot patrols - are having to make way for more modern tactics.
Insp Allan Green, head of neighbourhood policing in Meriden, told residents in Castle Bromwich that fewer staff and changes in criminal activity had left the force with no choice but to adopt new ways of working
Addressing last Wednesday's packed parish council meeting, during which frustration about crime in the suburb often bubbled over, he acknowledged that the most recent restructure, which took place in November, had been challenging.
But Insp Green insisted officers were doing all they could with the resources available and remained optimistic that standards would improve once the new system had bedded in.
“Some of these cuts have been brutal. A lot of people have lost their jobs. And it isn’t easy, I’m not going to lie to you,” he told the meeting.
He added he was “genuinely hopeful” that the changes would bear fruit and that the situation would be helped by the end of a long-standing recruitment freeze.
“We are far, far ahead of other forces in terms of modernising our police service going forward.”
Dozens of residents had descended on Arden Hall to make their feelings known about the police response to offences in the neighbourhood.
Many were concerned there wasn't a visible presence anymore or felt that their calls for problems to be addressed had gone unanswered.
One local man, from Springfield Road, criticised the handling of an attempted break-in at his home earlier this month.
He revealed that two masked men had attempted to force entry through the front door while his terrified teenage daughter was  in the house.
She had dialled 999, but a call handler based in West Bromwich had cancelled the emergency response.
The family were also frustrated that police had not collected evidence from the address – the men’s car was caught on CCTV – and claimed they had been told at one stage that the offenders may have been trying the door “because they had got the wrong house.”
“People are losing faith that you will respond… and criminals are gaining a little bit more confidence as they know you are not going to be there,” said the resident.
Insp Green said he would look into the handling of the incident.
Coun Pauline Allen, from Castle Bromwich Parish Council, had suggested that a dedicated event to discuss the situation be arranged at a future date.
The turnout for last week's meeting was so great - after news of the inspector's attendance spread on social media - that what was supposed to be a 15 minute briefing ended up as a 90 minute Q&A with residents. The rest of the parish council's planned agenda was put back until a later date.
  • We will be posting a separate story tomorrow on the group of young people on push bikes that have been causing problems along the Chester Road and what is being done to tackle the problem.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

CTC's warning over trainers

A LOCAL school was less than amused when more than 100 of its students turned up yesterday (Friday) wearing trainers.
A bogus note - which had circulated on social media - encouraged pupils to get their parents to write a note giving them permission to wear the footwear.
Sure enough dozens turned up at the CTC Kingshurst Academy with trainers on and a note signed by their parents.
Vice principal Nichola Davies said: "Please can I remind parents that trainers are not school uniform.
"All students wearing them on Monday will be seen by the principal and sent home by members of the inclusion team."

Friday, 27 January 2017

Meriden MP says EU referendum result must be "respected"

MERIDEN MP Caroline Spelman has confirmed she will vote in favour of beginning the process to leave the European Union (EU).
Dame Caroline issued a statement on her website to clarify her position after receiving a number of emails from constituents asking whether she would support triggering Article 50 - the step which will mark the start of formal negotiations over Britain's departure.
"Whilst I did campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, I have been clear that the result of the ballot box must be respected," she said.
"The majority of my constituents voted to leave, therefore when Parliament is given a vote on triggering Article 50, I will vote to invoke it."
In last summer's referendum, 56 per cent of voters supported Brexit in Meriden.
Over six months on, the issue remains bitterly divisive, with some MPs having confirmed that they will vote against triggering Article 50 when the matter comes before the House of Commons next week.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Man killed on Marston Green rail line

A MAN has died after being hit by a train at Marston Green Station earlier today (Thursday).
Paramedics were called to the scene at around 1.20pm following reports of a collision.
British Transport Police have confirmed that the man, who has not been named, had been confirmed dead at the scene.
The incident caused major congestion on the region's rail routes, with many services delayed or cancelled.
The line between Birmingham International and New Street was disrupted for much of the afternoon, although London Midland has said that services have now resumed.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Castle Brom branch of HSBC will close this summer

HSBC has confirmed today (Tuesday) that it will be closing its Castle Bromwich branch later this year.
The banking giant has announced it will be shutting 62 outlets nationwide in 2017, with the Bradford Road branch due to close on June 9.
Around 180 jobs are understood to be at risk across the country, although HSBC has not given a breakdown of how many positions may be under threat at individual banks.
Francesca McDonagh, head of retail banking and wealth management, said: "The way our customers bank with us is changing.
"More customers are using mobile and internet banking than ever before, innovation such as touch and voice ID has proved extremely popular, and fewer people are using branches."
Dominic Hook, from the trade union Unite, said it was "a dark day" for staff.
"The banking industry must act to prevent confidence in our banking system falling further," he said.
The three other branches which will be axed in the West Midlands are Balsall Common, Warwick and Willenhall.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Local birdwatchers urged to keep their eyes peeled.

WINTER VISITOR: The waxwing migrates from Siberia and Scandinavia
and is usually seen feeding in large numbers.

RESIDENTS in North Solihull should keep their eye out for a rare bird which has arrived in the UK from Scandinavia.
The brightly-coloured waxwing is a winter visitor which has previously been spotted feeding on the berry trees in Parkfield Drive, Castle Bromwich.
So far this year there have been confirmed sightings in neighbouring areas including Castle Vale and on the Hams Hall Industrial Estate.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has said that an unusually large number of the starling-sized species had been reported in recent weeks.
Jamie Wyver, from the charity, said: "They're moving across the country from east to west and they're devouring trees full of berries .... Only every three or four years do these birds come in large numbers."
The RSPB hopes that the interest around the waxwings will encourage more people to take part in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch, which will be taking place from January 28-30.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Flames engulf Chelmsley Wood flat

TACKLING THE BLAZE: Firefighters attend the incident in Oxford Grove
Picture/Shammi Rana

FIRE crews were called to tackle a serious blaze which tore through a Chelmsley Wood flat yesterday teatime (Friday).
Firefighters from Sheldon and Bickenhill battled to prevent the flames spreading from the ground floor premises to the rest of the building.
The fire, which is not being treated as suspicious, started in Oxford Grove at just before 6pm and smoke could be seen rising into the sky from some distance away.
West Midlands Fire Service confirmed that one individual was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Youth sessions running in Castle Bromwich

A NEW series of sessions for local young people got underway in Castle Bromwich this week.
Activities will be held at the Youth Centre, in Hurst Lane North, on Wednesday evenings (7-9pm).
Aimed at 11 to 19-year-olds, activities include table tennis, pool, arts and crafts and video games.
Sessions will also be taking place on Tuesday evenings starting from next month.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Police appeal after bank robbery in Castle Brom

POLICE are hunting a man in a flat cap and glasses who robbed a Castle Bromwich bank last month.
He had entered the Lloyds TSB, in Chester Road, and placed a note in front of the cashier which demanded that she open the till.
A quantity of cash was stolen before the woman was able to activate the panic alarm.
Police have released CCTV images of the incident, which happened on Tuesday, December 20 at around 3.20pm.
Aside from the cap and black rimmed glasses, the suspect was wearing dark blue jeans at the time. He is described as being between 25 and 35-years-old and 5ft 8inches tall.
The incident is one of an apparent spate of offences to take place in the suburb in recent months. The same week two men robbed the nearby Farmfoods store, while a woman was carjacked outside Morrisons supermarket in November.
Earlier this month there were also reports of a young man being robbed at knifepoint near The Coach and Horses pub.
The crimes have prompted some residents to press for a police officer to attend this month's parish council meeting and provide an update on the situation.
If you have any information about the incident at Lloyds TSB call PC Ian Akehurst on 101.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Forgotten footage sheds light on Marston Green's busy history

BYGONE DAYS: The first part of the film shows a number of local stores.

A FASCINATING video showing scenes of inter-war Marston Green has been uploaded to YouTube.
The footage, believed to date from around 1932, was shot by local man Howard Baylis, a farmer and keen amateur filmmaker.
It was posted on the video-sharing site by his granddaughter, Stella Bunn, who explained that it had been stored in her father's loft for the past 70 years.
Titled "A Voyage of Discovery", the footage includes local businesses such as Crawford's Stores and G.E Griffin Motor Repairs.
Mr Baylis' video also features scenes from the village's Horticultural Show, including the unveiling of prize vegetables and local children in fancy dress.
The full video - around 12 minutes long - is available to view here.

Local history: According to the local history book Marston Green: From olden days to the present day, by Graham Crawford, Griffin's was a garage and workshop located near to the present day Tavern.
Crawford's Stores, meanwhile, which at one time was believed to be the largest privately-owned greengrocers in Warwickshire, operated from Holly Lane from around 1930.

Monday, 16 January 2017

North Solihull set to join wetland project

TALKS are underway to include North Solihull in plans to create a large wildlife habitat stretching across a sizeable section of the Midlands.
Solihull Council is in discussions for Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge to form part of the wider Tame Valley Wetlands Nature Improvement Area (NIA).
In total around 11 square kilometres of this area would fall inside North Solihull, which has a number of valuable habitats.
The Cole Valley snakes its way through this part of the borough and the four wards boast a total of six Local Nature Reserves.
The aim of the project would be to connect up a series of important green spaces - encompassing Coleshill and Kingsbury and stretching as far north as Tamworth - and help in the growth of wildlife populations.
Joining the NIA would also open the door to more funding for environmental initiatives.
Councillors are due to discuss the proposal next Tuesday (January 24).

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Suspect seeks shelter at Chelmsley Wood supermarket

POLICE pursued a suspected car thief into the Chelmsley Wood branch of Asda following a five-mile road chase.
Officers had spotted a black Ford Kuga driving "erratically" on Friday (January 13) in the Alum Rock district of the city.
The vehicle had refused to stop and a chase ensued, with a helicopter called in to assist.
The Ford eventually stopped at Asda and the suspect ran inside the supermarket. He was caught after trying to run back out of the store.
Police confirmed yesterday that a 23-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving and possession of cannabis.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

CCTV appeal following Castle Bromwich robbery

CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Footage of the suspects taken from  CCTV.

POLICE are appealing for help in tracing men wanted in connection with a robbery in Castle Bromwich in the week before Christmas.
The incident happened at the Farmfoods store, in Chester Road, early on Monday, December 19.
At 6.40am, as staff began to enter the building to begin their shift, they were followed inside by two men and forced to the rear of the story. A quantity of cash was stolen from the premises.
It is believed that the pair of suspects had been waiting on a bench outside prior to the robbery.
While the CCTV does not provide clear images of the men's faces, one was wearing a long dressing gown, while the other had a fluorescent jacket with his hood up.They fled the scene along Hurst Lane.
If you have any information or saw anything suspicious that morning, call Det Con Jon Rankin on 101, quoting 20SH/250481Z/16.

Friday, 13 January 2017

North Solihull is north of the border

NORTH Solihull should be considered part of the North of England, at least according to a new university study.
Experts at Sheffield University have drawn a line which they think offers the best approximation of which areas of the UK should form part of the North and those which fall in the South.
The team admit that areas like the Midlands, which has never associated strongly with either grouping, presented something of a problem.
As it is local counties find themselves either side of the line, with the likes of Stratford-Upon-Avon and Rugby being placed in the South, while Solihull borough is positioned just north of "the border".
Danny Dorling, former professor of geography at Sheffield University, said: “That such an exact line can be drawn is, of course, a fiction but it is also fair to say that moving from North to South is not that gradual an experience.”

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Scouts plan to expand in 2017

CASTLE Bromwich Scout Group is set to expand this year.
The branch plans to open a third Beaver colony, which will allow it to offer more places for six and seven-year-olds. There are also discussions about opening a third Scout troop.
If you want more information about the company, which is based in Brownsover Close, email info@237scouts.org.uk

Monday, 9 January 2017

Have your say on Kingshurst Parade plan

LOCAL people are being invited to give their views on proposals to revamp Kingshurst Parade.
The project to revitalise the ageing shopping precinct is still being put together, but is expected to include new shops and medical facilities, a 100 homes and the possible creation of a new “community hub.”
Solihull Council has admitted that it has had to drop a couple of previous proposals because they weren’t commercially viable and many residents have criticised the lack of progress over the past couple of years.
At a meeting late last year, council officer Anne Brereton said that discussions would be held about what sort of project is achievable and the main priorities for the area, with hopes that a new masterplan will be drawn up by the summer.
A planning application would follow once the scheme had been finalised.
In an introduction to the online survey, Solihull Council said: "The need for improvement to and possible redevelopment of the Parade and wider village centre has been recognised as an important part of the wider North Solihull regeneration programme.
"However, to date the only major work to take place in Kingshurst has been the provision of a new primary school whilst the ageing Parade has been largely untouched."
Questions include how often people use the existing facilities, what they like and don't like about the precinct and what sort of changes they would favour.
Interestingly, one of the options still on the table would appear to be to refurbish the existing buildings, rather than press ahead with a wholesale redevelopment. Residents are invited to give their view on whether they would support such a proposal.
If this was the route the council ended up pursuing, it could lead to accusations that the local authority is trying to "water down" the regeneration in light of the struggle to attract funding, although it's important to note that more radical options are also included in the questionnaire.
You can access the survey here, and have until January 19 to respond.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Kingshurst rapper returns to where it all began

ROLE MODEL: Lady Leshurr
A RAP artist from Kingshurst – whose tracks have racked up millions of hits on YouTube – recently returned to the local venue where she first performed.
Lady Leshurr went back to the Youth & Community Centre, in Marston Drive, which she would often visit with her brother as a teenager.
“I just used to watch him rapping in that sweaty sweat box and I’d just be watching in awe [thinking] ‘I want to do this’,” she said.
“I taught myself how to DJ, I taught myself how to rap – everything really. Without this youth club, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
The 28-year-old said that she hoped she could inspire today’s young people to follow their dreams. “The fact that now I’m being seen as a role model is overwhelming. I always used to think it’s never going to happen because I’m from Birmingham and I have an accent and I’m a girl.
“I want the younger generation to see me and think ‘ you know what, if she can do it, I can do it.’.”

Temporary closure of part of Chelmsley Wood road

SOLIHULL Council has confirmed that a northbound section of the A452 Chester Road will be closed overnight for a period of several weeks from tomorrow evening (Monday).
The carriageway between Dunster Road and Moorend Avenue will be shut 9pm-6am and is scheduled to reopen on Friday, February 3.
The southbound section will be closed for a similar period of time once the first lot of works is completed.
Diversions are expected to run via Coleshill Heath Road, Stonebridge Road and  Birmingham Road.

Article updated (09/01/16): Solihull Council's original tweet on this was that the road would be "closed from 9pm tomorrow [Monday] until 6am on Fri 3 Feb". They have since clarified that they meant it will be closed from 9pm-6am during this period.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Warning after faux fur blanket causes baby to choke

SOLIHULL Trading Standards have warned people about the dangers of buying cheap goods online after a baby started to choke on a blanket shipped from Asia.
The local woman had bought the item after seeing it advertised on social media, but she became concerned when her child began to choke.
It was then she noticed that the blanket's fibres came away very easily, especially around the edges.
The faux fur item was bought from an American company and the product itself was sent from China.
When Trading Standards examined the item, they concluded it wasn't suitable for infants under 12-months-old, with a risk that it could cause choking or vomiting among younger children.
The team advised that people only bought from recognised retailers and ensured that any goods purchased had a CE mark and safety warnings. If in doubt, it is best not to use the item.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Get in touch with Other Side of Solihull

OTHER Side of Solihull was set up almost three years ago and we hope that local residents are finding the site a useful source of local news and information.
Cuts in journalism budgets have meant that many communities have been left without the sort of local newspaper which served them for decades. Neighbourhoods including Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood and Marston Green - each home to thousands of residents - are among hundreds to have been affected around the country.
Unfortunately, a lack of newspapers doesn't mean that news isn't happening. Without a strong local press, there's a danger that decisions which will affect a great many people will go unnoticed, that organisations like Solihull Council are not held to proper account and that people facing problems are left without a voice.
This is why this blog and the associated online newspaper were set up. Our aim is to bring you the full slate of stories about the local area, from planning applications to police appeals, charity events to local campaigns. We're a small team, but our aim is to report on local issues in a clear, balanced and accurate way. And we promise they will always be local issues.
This year we'd like residents to let us know the sort of stories that they'd like to see more of (or less of, as the case may be) and contact us with anything that they'd like us to cover. Feel free to email theothersideofsolihull@gmail.com, leave a comment below or send us a message at our Facebook page.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Volunteers needed for community project

A PIONEERING project is about to start in Fordbridge, with the aim of supporting people looking to make a difference in the local area.
The Community Action Network (CAN) has been set up by local activists and will aim to identify community-led solutions to various issues.
CAN’s first initiative is a community research project, using the knowledge of local residents to map the area and identify local priorities and possible solutions.
This project is due to get underway in March and CAN are keen to find people who can help carry out the research by speaking to neighbours and friends.
Volunteers will receive training and will be paid expenses. The opportunity to volunteer is open to anyone, with CAN hoping to recruit a mix of people of different ages.
"If you are looking for work, this is a great opportunity to gain a qualification and experience as well as helping your neighbourhood," said CAN member Simeon Bright.
To find out more email simeon.bright@ashrammoseleyha.org.uk or call 0121 770 8570.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Pantomime time in Castle Bromwich

PANTO season has started in earnest – oh yes it has – with a local drama troupe in rehearsals for their upcoming show.
Castle Bromwich Theatre Group will be performing Beauty and the Beast at Arden Hall later this month.
The production runs from January 18-21. Tickets on 0121 776 7821 or 07505 521 309.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Thousands raised in former soldier's memory

TRIBUTES: Wajid Fazil
THOUSANDS of pounds has been raised for charity in memory of a Castle Bromwich man who died in a road crash on Boxing Day.
Former soldier Wajid Fazil had died of his injuries after his motorcycle collided with a barrier on Fort Parkway.
The 39-year-old was airlifted from the scene of the incident, but medics were unable to save him.
Following his death, well wishers decided to set up a fundraising page as a tribute to the ex-serviceman, who had completed tours of duty in both Kosovo and Bosnia.
During his time in the Welsh Guards, Mr Fazil had also been enlisted for guard duties at Buckingham Palace.
The appeal was set up to raise money to build a well in war-torn Syria, with an initial target of £1,600.
A flurry of donations has pushed the figure over £5,000 in the space of a week; this will be enough to fund two wells, with the remainder of the money going to a refugee centre.
Police continue to investigate the cause of the collision, which happened at around 12noon, and have appealed for witnesses to contact officers on 101.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Review of the Year: Part 2

Other Side of Solihull concludes its look-back over some of the major local stories of 2016...

July: The CTC Kingshurst Academy chose to unveil its new tennis facility at the ideal time - the launch coming a little over a week after Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon crown.
Earlier in the month the school had played host to a rather more sombre event, inviting locals to its replica trench to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme.
Elsewhere, a team of treasure hunters from Radio WM made a stop-off in Marston Green and an irate pensioner from Smith’s Wood held a roadside protest over the council’s refusal to install a drop kerb. Denise Danks took a dip in a bath tub full of tea to raise money for a Cystic Fibrosis charity and councillors gave the go-ahead to proposals to renovate The Coach and Horses pub.
Throughout the month, the police continued efforts to contain the menace of off-road bikes, seizing another set of vehicles during raids in Chelmsley Wood.
In fact the boy racers were probably even more unpopular than a certain high-speed train.
As the month ended we spoke to Councillor Chris Williams about the ongoing battle to limit the disruption which will be caused by HS2.

August: So much for silly season! This month was probably the busiest of the year on our blog, with more than 30 articles posted.
It was confirmed that Meriden MP Caroline Spelman would be made a Dame, after being nominated for the Honour by the recently departed Prime Minister David Cameron.
However it was bongs not gongs that were getting residents excited in Castle Bromwich.
A team of fundraisers at St Mary and St Margaret’s confirmed they had raised the £100,000 needed to restore the church bells.
There was more good news in the suburb when signs were installed to confirm the creation of a new nature reserve near Kingsleigh Drive.
Unfortunately another wildlife habitat, Babbs Mills, continued to be the centre of controversy - with campaigners staging a demonstration against the decision to develop the site.
Twin sisters from Marston Green, Danielle and Laura Maisey, announced plans to run a half marathon in memory of their friend.
Residents were left mystified - and more than a little worried - after a large pile of asbestos was dumped by the roadside in Lanchester Way. Although even that puzzle was overshadowed by a raft of reports of a mysterious humming sound keeping people awake in and around North Solihull.

September: We broke the news that the plans to bring back the much-missed Bogey on the Stick sculpture were rapidly gathering pace.
In what proved to be one of the most popular stories of the year, we reported that Gro-Organic was drawing up plans to recreate the landmark.
Rather less welcome was the announcement that an application was being submitted to further expand Birmingham Business Park, a longstanding bone of contention for local people.
In Park Hall Crescent, a group of residents discovered that they had won the People’s Postcode Lottery and would be sharing a £150,000 jackpot.
In Marston Green, a doctor’s surgery launched a petition in the hope of winning support for plans to move to a new centre - amid concern that current facilities were struggling to cope.
Details also emerged this month about the proposed creation of a brand-new parliamentary constituency by the name of Chelmsley Wood and Solihull North.

October: As the dark nights arrived, there was the first sighting of a “killer clown” locally - the masked man was filmed by teenagers near a Castle Bromwich pub.
From big shoes to fat pay packets...There was a flurry of criticism after it emerged that the amount being picked up by some of Solihull Council’s top earners was to increase.
Green-fingered residents did the north of the borough proud after winning a clutch of awards at Solihull’s Neighbourhoods in Bloom contest.
And there was also awards success for a couple of Indian restaurants. Both Lime Pickle and Chutney Express were among those shortlisted for the British Takeaway Awards.
Tributes were paid to a 28-year-old man, Giovanni Lewis, who suffered fatal stab wounds following an incident in Hadfield Way, Kingshurst.
Concerns were raised by a former Smith’s Wood councillor that the estate and surrounding area could be hit by a chronic shortage of school places in future.

November: More than 15,000 people read our story about a pensioner who was carjacked outside the Morrisons supermarket in Castle Bromwich. While the incident alerted residents to the fact that crime can occur in the most familiar of surroundings, sadly the robber remains at large.
The same cannot be said for the burglar who was linked to a breakin in Manor Park Road after leaving a tooth behind at the scene.
Training sessions began to create a new American Football team at North Solihull Sports Centre and a number of community groups were awarded a share of a £15,000 fund created by Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre.
This month also saw plans published to build a new medical centre in Smith’s Wood and the news that Grace Academy student Chloe Sutton had won a Solihull Education Award.

December: Solihull Council started to flesh out proposals to redevelop the ageing Kingshurst Parade, while admitting that financing the scheme was still a potential problem.
The local authority had been under pressure to give an update after residents voiced their frustration about the lack of progress.
In more positive news, North Solihull’s Christmas hamper appeal once again attracted considerable support from local residents. And there was a rapturous reception after it was announced that a Christmas Market would be staged on parkland in Chelmsley Wood.