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In decline

Regrettably the problems of the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration at Solihull Council are not just about defections and the Deputy Leader’s resignation (Solihull News).

Regrettably the problems of the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration at Solihull Council are not just about defections and the Deputy Leader’s resignation (Solihull News).

This is an administration in terminal decline, with the Liberal Democrat group reduced to just 16 councillors out of 51 and increasingly losing any sense of direction. Their shaky performance at last week’s meeting of council was marked by temper tantrums, language more suited to the football terrace and cabinet members floundering over straightforward questions.

Surprisingly council was told that previous opposition to Academies had suddenly become ‘neutrality’ but on development policy nobody could explain why specific recommendations from the Scrutiny and Planning Committees had been ignored.

Indeed one committee chairman admitted to not even voting on the important issue of sacrificing Green Belt for commercial development, whilst the cabinet member explained this is no longer about stopping urban sprawl but protecting invertebrates – perhaps Solihull’s historic ‘Urbs in Rure’ motto is being modified to ‘Urbs invertebrae’.

The real tragedy is that while in Westminster the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are working together in the national interest, a similar offer of cooperation in Solihull was rejected out of hand. Effectively the council is now controlled by just eight Labour councillors who the Liberal Democrats must satisfy to keep their cabinet seats –surely not what people expected when they cast their vote.

Ken Meeson – Leader of Conservative Group

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A good thing

Frankly, we are fed up with the ‘Parkgate’ scheme being used by some people in a clear attempt to promote their own personal and/or political gain.

Solihull Council identified the need for ‘The New Heart for Shirley’ many years ago; to arrest the ongoing decline in Shirley, to strengthen its position as a retail centre, to breathe new life into the area and to protect Shirley from further potentially damaging ‘edge/out of town’ retail development.

The regeneration of Shirley Town Centre remains a key objective for the council and ‘Parkgate’ accords entirely with its policies. The contract between the council, as major landowner, and Shirley Advance reflects these well established policies and both parties are expected to operate within the terms of that contract.

Indeed, Councillor Tim Hodgson recently confirmed ‘there have not been any decisions made that change the position of the council in this matter’.

However, Couns Tim Hodgson, Simon Slater and Howard Allen continue to object to ‘Parkgate’ using exactly the same arguments they did at the Public Inquiry in 2008.

The newly appointed deputy leader of Solihull Council, Coun Andy Hodgson, also objected to the scheme at the Inquiry. In direct response, the Inquiry inspector stated she had ‘addressed the concerns raised by the councillors’ and ‘concluded that there is a compelling case in the public interest for the scheme’.

‘Parkgate’ is the right scheme for Shirley and we remain committed to the delivery of this important regeneration scheme. It will bring £80m+ investment to the area and will create hundreds of new jobs which, given the current economic climate, is surely a good thing for Shirley.

Robert Birch & Jonathan Cox, Shirley Advance

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Step forward

I have just read the advert from the Knowle Society, for volunteers, to work for free at Knowle library, so the library can extend the opening hours.

Not so long ago there was a letter suggesting that public spirited citizens should take up their mowers and replace the council gardeners and cut the grass and tend flower beds. I know a lady down the road who lives in a big house. She doesn’t seem to have much to do all day, maybe she could volunteer to open up her home and run a public spirited day care centre, as the council run one is closing....

When your son and daughter graduate from university with their degree and a debt of £30,000, they are full of hope and expecting a well paid job. There is no job…. “Go and volunteer” They are told “It will look good on your CV”

Solihull council workers do a terrific job! When you go to work tomorrow morning or take the children to school, stop and take a good look around. Our streets are clean, the grass verges are mowed. The bins are emptied and we are all doing our bit to recycle under the direction of our responsible council. The local library is a valuable part of our community. But when the volunteers don’t turn up because they don’t feel like it, what will our streets look like then? The library stays closed, who will care?

For every volunteer someone loses their job. Someone loses the ability to pay their bills. There is no paid job that someone else can’t do as a volunteer! Does anybody want to volunteer to be Prime minister? It would look great on your CV.

Mrs June Cooper, Rushwick Grove, Monkspath

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Poor marks

I, like a lot of grandparents do the ‘school run’ on a daily basis. I have two grandchildren at Burman Road Nursery and Haslucks Green Primary respectively.

This school year, for some reason, these two schools have changed their hours. My oldest grandchild has to be at Haslucks Green Road for 8.40 am and the other at Burman Road Nursery for 8.45 am. I consider myself a fast walker, however, this has made it impossible to be at both for these times.

Therefore, I have to leave the eldest (who is only eight) at Haslucks Green Road no later than 8.30am where they are left in the playground without supervision, until school starts, to get the other to nursery.

This problem will arise next year when Burman Road Infants finish at 3.30pm but Haslucks Green Road at 3.15pm. With the best will, most children do not get out of school until at least 3.20pm therefore rendering it again impossible to arrive at Burman Infants for 3.30pm.

Is there anyone who can explain why these two schools, who have always worked together re school times, have now decided to make life extremely difficult for the parents/grandparents.

A fed-up Grandma

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The chop

IT is outrageous that when our peers are caught stealing our money that they are only suspended. It’s time that this affront to our constitution was changed and any peer found stealing, committing perjury, or any custodial offence was not only prosecuted but also had their peerages removed.

Or should we bring back the old system and send them to the block; if we can’t sack them then lets chop off their heads.

ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Rd, Yardley Wood

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Parking chaos

Marston Green has seen a steady increase in traffic in Holly Lane leading up to the railway station. This has been exacerbated by the lack of parking. The car park behind the Marston Green Tavern has been turned into a pay and display and by yesterday afternoon there were only two cars there.

Where have all the cars gone? The answer is easy, they are parked in Chelmsley Lane and Moseley Drive - half on and half off the pavement, on both sides of the road.

I had to weave in and out the cars to get into Moseley Drive and indeed the car that was coming the other way had to reverse to let me through.

Surely this is dangerous for pedestrians and cars alike. Also I am sure that in an emergency a fire engine would have difficulty getting through.

Gloria Eaton

Moseley Drive Marston Green

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Dateless

I have just read the letter from Jim Bumstead (Solihull News) regarding information from the council about recycling.

We have not received any information from the council whether dates or more detailed information since early 2009.(I used a marker pen to update last year’s calendar).

Has anyone else also not been provided with the dates and/or new information?

Michael Job, Charterhouse Drive, Solihull

 

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