What a week for critics of the HS2 scheme! A petition of no less than 108,000 signatures went in to 10 Downing Street, plenty of them from Solihull and Meriden, all calling for the £34 billion project to be scrapped now.
Two days later, a vigorous debate in Parliament showed that MPs of all parties have seen through the salesmen’s gloss, and are asking for some plausible justification.
Then the proposal for a Heathrow to Gatwick High Speed Rail Link was met with scorn from the airline industry. The reaction seems to cast serious doubts on their fondness for the Heathrow to Birmingham HS2. Perhaps they hope it will create extra pressure for the third runway at Heathrow, rather than to redistribute traffic to the regions. Seems like we won’t need the expensive “people mover” over the M42 from the proposed HS2 station at Bickenhill to the Airport.
Finally, the main promoter of HS2, the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, was moved across to Defence.
He should feel very at home in a department that sets the benchmark for bogus requirements, gold plating, and vanity projects.
The new Transport Secretary is Justine Greening. She may have more of a culture shock, moving from the Treasury to a “spending” department. And spend they do! – every penny they can beg and borrow, and when that’s gone, PFI schemes to lock future taxpayers into paying hand over fist for decades to come.
Richard Lloyd, chairman, Heart of England High Speed Railway Action Group
Seniors hit hardest
So the elderly in the Solihull Borough Council area are to take the brunt of this recession by being charged an exorbinate amount to travel and eat at their day care centres.
These visits are probably the only chance some elderly have of meeting with friends and enjoying the last days of their lives.
It would seem that this service will discontinue due to cost cutting by councillors who should be supporting the elderly. They probably helped vote them in!
I wonder how many free meals, at public expense, are taken by councillors in the execution of their duties? Do have a heart -Solihull Council.
Josie Herbert - Lightwood Close Knowle
Ab Fab show
I would like to say what a fantastic show that Union Theatre of Solihull put on 13-15th october. Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! The whole cast, including band and stage crew worked so hard. It was so professional and such a lot of talent on one stage. Absolutely fabulous!
Debbie Bushell, Solihull, via e-mail
Instead of flailing around blaming everyone else for the shambles his administration have made of the Youth Service Review, Councillor Meeson should ensure this is sorted out before further damage is done by their dithering (Letters).
The Education, Children and Young People Scrutiny Board met twice in September to look at the consultation process as part of this review and were told at both meetings that the public consultation would start in early October - in fact the second board meeting had to be hastily arranged to fit into this timetable.
However, it was then dragged out of Councillor Meeson at the full council meeting on October 12 that this consultation was now being delayed because a member of his cabinet was not around to rubber stamp it, despite it being known well in advance that the cabinet member concerned would be on holiday.
The first Scrutiny Board meeting on September 8 (held in public) was told it was planned to reduce the number of council run youth centres, without naming the centres to be closed. Those details were set out at the second meeting which was held behind closed doors - not open and in public as should have been the case (except for certain confidential staffing matters) .
Councillor Meeson now says his group, who are supposed to be running the council, have no plans to close youth facilities!
This example of dysfunctional government would be funny were not so serious, but the youth of Solihull and those working with our young people deserve better from those in charge.
Councillor Nick Stephens, Labour Group Member Education, Children and Young People Scrutiny Board
Moving to Dorridge one year ago, my family and I have been delighted by the green fields, fresh air, (relatively) quiet roads, and access to excellent local shops in Knowle. We have, however, been much concerned by the sheer scale of the proposed Sainsbury’s development- over 86,000 sq ft- or 10,000 sq ft bigger than a premier football pitch.
Sainsbury’s suggest that this will draw people in to the village from an area of 27 square miles, with a huge increase in traffic flows.
Such a development will serve the shareholders of Sainsburys. It may also serve non-residents who want an ‘out of town superstore’. But it most certainly does not sit comfortably many local residents.
Hugh Montgomery, Grove Road, Dorridge
No relief here
Whenever I see the signs ‘Diverted Traffic’ I think oh no another bout of sleepless nights ahead. That’s what its like if you live off Damson Parkway, which is the relief road for the M42. Is this something we have to accept, or should we be receiving triple glazing to cope with the constant motorway noise.
One very fed up resident
As a motor trade professional I’ve clocked up over three million miles over 45 years, but I’ve been struck by just how poor standards of driving and indeed normal road manners have become lately.
Typical is the driver who, half asleep and/or on the telephone, pulls out in front of oncoming traffic, causing it to brake, then ambles away as if next week would suffice; for Pete’s sake, if they’re going to take a chance like that, then the least they could do is to get a move on.
Similarly, there seems to be a cadre of people who approach a junction from the left then turn right (or vice versa), normally indicating their intention at the last possible moment just to confuse the issue.
This has the effect of obstructing the junction altogether, preventing any further movement until that person has cleared the junction.
My final beef-of-the-week relates to those who pull into a dedicated right-turn filter lane, then insist on sitting there with their foot on the brake and their indicator flashing in my line of vision; don’t these people think the rest of us know which way they’re going, in a filter lane?
Do they also imagine we don’t know that their vehicle is stationary?
Not only is the practice wasteful, it’s also very distracting to other drivers, particularly in the dark.
Once into the filter lane, cancel the indicator, pull up and apply the handbrake - it couldn’t be simpler.
If any ‘News’ readers can identify with these points, then let common sense prevail - think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it!
John Bramham, Elmdon.
it sums up Britain that a British citizen seriously injured in Greece and his family have to beg for help to get him home, but isn’t it ironic that we can spend £150,000 out of the tax payers purse to fly Prince Andrew to Dubai for a game of golf
ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Rd, Yardley Wood