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‘It’s a paradise for robbers’

I WENT to Tudor Grange leisure centre on Friday, January 30.

I WENT to Tudor Grange leisure centre on Friday, January 30. When returning to my locker after my workout I was horrified to find it had been broken into and my phone, £50 cash, clothes and bus pass stolen.

When reporting it to the duty manager he informed me that any items left in the lockers were left at your own risk.

He also told me that new security measures would be in place by April, ‘only’ eight weeks away. In the meantime we play Russian roulette with the thieves.

It is not the first time this has occurred. Only last year the Solihull News highlighted on the front page the thefts at Tudor Grange. When you walk into the centre you can go to any changing rooms on the ground floor. The second floor has a swipe card system that sometimes works, otherwise just follow someone else in. It’s just like open house - paradise for robbers.

Peter J Wilson, Greenhill Way, Shirley

End of the world

ANYONE notice the end of the world arrived on Monday, February 2 2009? The reason being London and the South-east had a little bit of snow and ice. I rest my case!

Mr JE Jones, via e-mail

Little yobs

IT always amazes me that the local schools shut the minute there is any snow.

Whatever their reasons (bearing in mind other people manage to get to their places of work in the same conditions) I would like to inform the schools that the children they so casually sent out of school on Tuesday made my life a misery.

The first snowball hit the window at 10.30am, thrown by two young boys roaming the street. I sent them packing, only to have two different, older boys do the same at about 1pm, and then the original two returned at 2pm to throw the third. They even had the audacity to walk right into my garden to do it.

I give music lessons from home, so these incidents upset the lessons and the students. I also have an elderly dog who was recently diagnosed with kidney failure and is very sick.

I accept that bad behaviour is a product of their upbringing and their general disrespect for their community, but the schools have to take a large part of the responsibility for the incidents I experienced by so casually shutting the schools and allowing these thugs to roam the streets unchecked.

Rosemary Worsley, Bronte Farm Road, Shirley

Bus disaster

I WRITE to express my dissatisfaction with recent changes to the bus services in Knowle and Dorridge.

Prior to January 25 we had 40A and 40C buses going up and down nearby Longdon Road and the 151 bus passed the end of our road in Purnells Way.

These services enabled us to travel easily to Knowle Village, Warwick Road, Solihull, Solihull Railway Station, Widney Manor Railway Station, Bentley Heath, Dorridge and Hockley Heath. The latter connecting with buses to Henley and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Since the new timetable we have lost the much valued 151 and apart from one S2 bus per hour there is no direct route via Dorridge, Bentley Heath and the Sixth Form College to Solihull. Services to and from Solihull Railway Station are non-existent during the day and are only available in the evenings and at weekends.

A particular problem with the new service is the totally inadequate timetable. The original 40A/40C timetable had the 40A services on one side and the 40C services on the other. Each service was accompanied by a schedule showing the detailed route that the bus took. The new timetable does not have this facility and the included map is as good as useless. The timetable is confusing as S2 and S3 times are intermingled. There is a complete lack of clarity.

Both my wife and I are keen users of public transport but our bus experience last week was not good. All the buses we used were running late and the S3 service was especially so. Anything up to 15 minutes later coming from Acocks Green seemed to be normal.

I appreciate that all alterations to timetables take time to settle down but this particular set of changes seem to have been badly handled with no evidence of any prior consultation.

David Wise, Hillmorton Road, Knowle

Baffled by the S2

Here’s a copy of letter I have sent to Centro customer relations: We have studied the new S2 bus service timetable, we have rung the helpline several times, we have visited Coventry bus station and yesterday - in desperation - we got the car out to try to discover the mysteries of this route. We are totally confused, as it seems are many local bus users and even some drivers, one of whom said: “They’ve got it all wrong”!

Yesterday we had arranged to meet friends at Ye Olde Saracens Head, which is on the bus route from Balsall Common (we live about two miles away). Our friends live in Dorridge and were delighted to find that they could also get to the pub on the new S2 bus. But - it transpired - they could not get back! Further enquiries revealed they could get back but would have to go all the way in to Balsall Common and out again.

The only way we could get there would be to get the S2 at Holly Lane (meaning we would have to walk one mile), get the Solihull bound bus down Holly Lane, up Table Oak Lane and get off near Fen End Post Office. Then we would have to wait for the next bus from Solihull half an hour later to drop us off at the pub on Balsall Street.

All four of us abandoned our bus idea and went by car. We then found there are two bus stops near to Ye Olde Saracens Head, one right outside, clearly labelled with the new S2 route number and on the same side of the road, but not in the direction that the bus now takes. After our meal we set off by car to find out exactly where the bus goes and, more importantly, where it stops. We followed the route to Fen End but could not find a post office although it is given as a timed stop in your new timetable.

Returning in some despair via Station Road, Balsall Common, we looked in to the old shelter on the corner of Station Road and Balsall Street which still confidently informs passengers that they can catch the old 194, 192 and 197 buses there. Very odd.

The staff at Coventry Bus Station informed us that the bus does the loop down Balsall Street and Holly Lane on both the inward and outward journeys which would be excellent for us but seems not to be the case.

One of your telephone staff suggested that the Fen End Post Office stop might be where the post office used to be!

We are still awaiting a road route map with names of all roads served in the correct order rather than the ambiguous map supplied in the new timetable.

The other question we have is why do your buses serve Acocks Green railway station, along with Olton, Widney Manor, Solihull and Dorridge stations, but do not continue an extra half mile each way to include the roundabout at Berkswell station. Surely when the new health centre opens at Riddings Hill there will be a suitable bus service for all patients which could also service the railway station.

Mr and Mrs J Keown, Windmill Lane, Balsall Common

S4 outflanked

I AND many residents fought to keep a bus for Cheswick Green when the No 4 was replaced by another bus, the S4.

Who in their right minds put the S5 running through Monkspath, giving them two buses? The S5 runs minutes before the S4, not giving Grosvenor Coaches much chance when people from Monkspath are boarding the S5 to go to the same place as the S4. Please don’t let us lose our bus.

Dot Lambert, Cheswick Green

It’s time to go

AS an MEP I can see that ‘free movement of labour’ is a fundamental principle of the European Union. This ‘EU open door’ policy means millions of EU citizens can work here.

Despite this invasion, Gordon Brown’s right-hand man Peter Mandelson (still paid by the EU) says this is fair because British people have the EU right to work on the Continent. However while the EU learn and speak English as the common language we do not speak Italian, Lithuanian, Greek etc?

Gordon Brown promised ‘British jobs for British workers’. But no matter what our politicians tell us, the only way to safeguard British jobs for British workers is for the UK to leave the European Union.

Mike Nattrass, UKIP MEP, West Midlands

On the bright side

DESPITE the harsh world economic downturn adversely affecting us all, caused by greedy irresponsible bankers and the temptation of excess credit, it’s still appropriate to wish your readers a moderately contented 2009, with hopes for a better 2010.

Looking on the bright side, there are many bargains in the shops and increased sales, despite profit margins being low, will help them and their staff survive.

One black spot is Solihull Council’s Scrooge like stance in failing to promptly pass on the 2.5 per cent reduction in VAT. Car parks, libraries and sports centres etc should have benefited immediately - at no extra cost to the council.

Other local authorities like Redditch, plus virtually all retailers have implemented the cuts at once. Thus I urgently say to our usually fairly wise council, prove your co-operation pronto and stop dithering.

Don Bargery, Solihull


Tax rise fears

IN the present climate we welcome the council’s proposal to freeze car park charges this year, which will be a relief to shoppers and support trade in the town centre.

However, many other council increases in fees, charges and the council tax itself look like being nearer the five per cent level. Compare this to inflation, by April projected at only one per cent, and many prices actually falling elsewhere.

The Government has set all councils’ targets for efficiency savings that are intended to keep increases down and maintain services. Low interest rates aimed at boosting the economy are also reducing the income on savings for many elderly residents who rely on these to supplement fixed incomes.

We live in difficult times but let’s hope the council will also play fair with the community as it works its way through the budget process.

Trevor Eames, secretary, Solihull Ratepayers’ Association

Right move

IN response to Pat Montague’s letter concerning the proposed housing development on the Birmingham and Solihull ground in Sharmans Cross Road (Letters).

I would like to ask how many of the so-called objectors, bemoaning the loss of a sporting venue have shown any kind of support for the club in its eight-year existence and in the years prior to that as Solihull Rugby Club. I would suggest very few.

Conversely, those faithful individuals who have supported both clubs through the years, are, in the main, very much in favour of the proposals. If the club had received the support of these current objectors on the touchline, regularly on Saturday afternoons, then perhaps more could have been invested in the ground, the clubhouse and its amenities.

Surely the new road and entrance to the Solihull Arden Club and the additional parking spaces created by the new nursery can only improve their situation. How many additional parking places would be required if they were to lose the current goodwill arrangement, whereby Arden Club members can park on the rugby club’s parking area?

You state that there has been a noticeable lack of individuals writing in to support the scheme. This will ever be the case I am afraid, as people are always more likely to state in writing their disapproval, rather than their approval for housing projects.

The developers, Oakmoor Estates, have succeeded in designing an aesthetically pleasing and varied selection of homes for a market whose requirements are equally varied.

I am afraid that I fail to appreciate your right to comment on, or the relevance of your planning objections to the financial forecasts of B&S RFC at the new Damson Park venue. They are only what they claim to be, ie an optimistic prediction of future results upon which their budgetary control is based. However, the sum of £22.50 for admission, car park, a pie and a pint, sounds about average to me!

The Solihull Moors ground is certainly on green belt land, but as far as I am aware, any alterations or additions to the site, ie spectator stand, improved floodlighting and new changing rooms, will all fall within the existing club boundaries.

As to your suggestion that I rushed into print, yes, I suppose two letters to the Solihull News since its conception was a little hasty. Also, I am afraid I must decline your invitation to meet, as I prefer to spend my spare time with friends who are magnanimous in their opinions, who do not promote change for change’s sake, but are equally not stuck in a time warp. The RFU, whilst not expressing support for the application, certainly did not condemn it.

Joseph McGinn, Hanbury Road, Dorridge

Just the ticket

WE were very interested in your article about the Midland Red buses (Archives). When we were in our teens my boyfriend (now my husband) and I used to catch any Midland Red bus which we chose to on a Saturday morning from the bus garage in Digbeth.

We would both buy a ‘Day Anywhere Ticket’ for 12s 6d (approximately 62p). For this we could travel anywhere the Midland Red bus would take us, getting on and off buses all day.

We had some really good days out, travelling as far as the Craven Arms, Church Stretton, The Long Mynd, The Clent Hills, Nottingham, Tamworth and other popular spots in and around Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

We have very fond memories of our excursions and would often be out until 11pm travelling around. I would then catch the last bus from the Clock Garage to Castle Bromwich to get home. Would anyone else remember the ‘Day Anywhere Tickets’?

They provided very good value for money and sowed the seeds of our love for the countryside and walking.

Aileen and Ron Cox, Solihull

What an insult

THE letter from LJ Cartwright (Jan 30) beggars belief and is most insulting to the Jewish religion. What on earth does he mean by ‘claims’ to have been oppressed for so long? Is there not enough first hand evidence of this?

Secondly, what is he talking about when he says that the Palestinians are starving due to closed borders? There are two borders, one of which is on the Egyptian side. It is where arms, bombs, rockets come in, so why not more food and first aid? Thirdly, the border with Israel has seen hundreds of deliveries with humanitarian aid, much of which is then hijacked and auctioned off by Hamas. Did you forget these points Mr Cartwright?

Lastly, what would you do Mr Cartwright after having almost 8,000 rockets fall indiscriminately into Israel aimed at civilians, not specific military targets for over seven years? Nothing of course!

And therefore, as for ‘reflecting very badly on Jews in general’, are the actions of the Israeli government the responsibility of British Jews? We as Jews have mixed views but surely most people of any religion would support the right to defend one’s country or in the British case even Iraq and Afghanistan.

G Stone, via e-mail

Think again

HOW noble of R Wilson of Olton to deny himself the pleasure of savouring a few Israeli sweet potatoes! (letters).

He should now continue with his cause and throw out his computer, as it might contain an Intel chip designed and manufactured in Israel. He should also throw out his cell phone, which was invented and developed by Motorola in Israel.

I hope the women in his family, should they ever require such investigation, would show similar moral rectitude and refuse investigation by the first fully computerised, radiation-free, diagnostic instrumentation for the detection of breast cancer.

I trust that he, in accordance with his self-imposed piety, similarly would shun the use of the first pill-sized camera to check for problems he might have in his digestive tract.

And while thus satisfying his conscience, he might contemplate just what he might demand of our political leaders if rockets were falling on Olton.

Leonard Rosten, Poolfield Drive, Solihull


BRITISH jobs for British workers is just another bit of political rhetoric from Gordon Brown, that not only has no substance, it is also illegal. It’s little wonder Gordon Brown didn’t want us to see him signing the Lisbon Treaty and they don’t want us to have a vote on Europe.

The downturn has now highlighted the real reason our government allowed Britain to become Europe’s dumping ground for criminals, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants. Cheap wages and second class conditions.

ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Road, Yardley Wood


Lack of true grit

I AM writing about the severe lack of Solihull Council grit bins this year.

We have had a long spell of freezing temperatures since 2008 and we are yet to see a grit bin in our road. We have always had one there but this year it has not appeared. I telephoned the council a week ago, to be told someone would call me back and guess what - no telephone call!

My wife rang the council again on January 21, to have our telephone number taken again, but she was also told: “There have been cutbacks, but if enough residents call the council to complain you might get one next year. There are normally 250 grit bins but this year there are only 100.”

That is quite a cutback on matters of safety. It should be a priority to ensure that our roads are in as good a condition as possible. How many gritting lorries have residents of the borough seen this year?

I realise that not all roads can be gritted by lorries but that is why grit bins should be available.

I suggest that other areas of Solihull Council’s expenditure that do not compromise safety should be looked at more closely!

Solihull residents - start calling the council offices!

Pete Evans, Solihull

Slippy for seniors

I WAS very interested to read the article headed ‘Fears for friends as road turns to ice’ (Solihull News).

Those of us who live in Aston Close, including a number of senior citizens with walking difficulties, have not had a grit bin for a number of years. It used to be placed at the top end of the close, thereby allowing residents in Alston Road to share some.

I made enquiries to the council and I was told: “We don’t do side roads.” So how come the residents in Cophams Close get two bins and the council say they were out to grit the area.

I had phoned the council in mid-December about another issue and asked if we could have a grit bin. The response was that they would see what they could do. We are still waiting. So well done Mrs Reeves for drawing attention to this situation. I see from the press we are due for another month of icy conditions shortly. Hopefully the council will respond, otherwise we seniors will have to get together and hire Torvill and Dean to teach us how to skate to the shops.

Another Solihull OAP

No progress here

I WRITE with regard to the bus services in the Damson Wood area. Progress has meant that we no longer have three buses into and out of Solihull but two, and these are scheduled to arrive at the same times!

More worrying is the move of the bus stop to an already crowded one in Station Road. The congestion here on Thursday has to be seen to be believed. As many of the residents of Damson Wood are elderly I fear for their safety, especially at busy times of the day. All this and an increase in fares! I urge all concerned passengers to phone and register your opinions now!

Mrs Arculus, Hampton Coppice, Solihull

All we need is love

RE- the letter by Obadah Ghannam (Solihull News). Mr Ghannam, we have a saying, practise what you preach. Yes it’s true that innocent people are being murdered, but Hamas could fill in the tunnels, stop sending the car bombs, and firing rockets into Israel, and stop buying arms from Iran.

Israel seems to be very tolerant because from this side of the fence it is being bombarded on a weekly basis.

Four thousand years ago, God gave the law to Moses [Commandments] and one of them is thou shalt not kill. As we see, man is so far from God, there are very few of us who recognise God’s law. In fact it has only been a few months since there was a small altercation in Iraq between two Moslem sects. Could it be our own beliefs that keep us apart? Two thousand years ago, God sent his son Jesus and gave us a new covenant, that was to love each other as he loves us.

P Thomas, via e-mail

Thanks to all

GEORGE W Smith was taken in to Solihull Hospital on December 1 where he died on December 4. The kindness of staff in A&E was magnificent. Then Stefan and all the staff on Ward 20a were truly wonderful to George too. I have never known such kindness as at Solihull Hospital where the care is better than any private hospital. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Ricky, Martin and Elaine have been truly magnificent to me following the loss of their father and I can understand why George was so very proud of them. I know George will be with me for ever.

Finally I would like to thank George and Norma for all their incredible support and all they have done for George and me.

Anne Pollinger, Foredrove Lane, Solihull



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