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Missing gritters

On Saturday, December 18 I travelled from Rugby to Balsall Common to help my mother-in-law to bake mince pies.

On Saturday, December 18 I travelled from Rugby to Balsall Common to help my mother-in-law to bake mince pies.

The journey was no worse than usual - until I crossed the boundary from Coventry to Solihull/Warwickshire. The road was then not very good at all.

Leaving Balsall Common about 4pm I found just the opposite finding that, as I crossed back into Coventry, the roads were quite safe and I completed my journey at almost normal speed.

Who should be responsible for gritting in Balsall Common? I get the impression that Coventry, Kenilworth, and Solihull are all under the impression that the others should do it. As the council tax is paid to Solihull I would say it is their responsibility.

So where is Solihull Council putting all this grit they say they are using? It doesn’t appear to be having any effect on the main Kenilworth Road with cars slipping and sliding everywhere.

Roz Briggs via


Snow response

I read with interest the article on your website ( relating to the weather that we have just experienced and the response or comment from SMBC and Councillor David Jamieson.

Mr Jamieson states that it was ‘all hands to the deck’ I would like to see evidence of this as there was a distinct lack of any council activity after the snow had stopped falling on Saturday, December 18.

I was out and about for an hour and there were not gritting trucks on any of the major roads and the buses stopped running due to dangerous road conditions.

On Sunday morning I was out again and there was no sign of any activity either overnight or early morning. By Sunday morning council trucks should have been out with snow ploughs clearing the main routes. Nothing happened all day Sunday or Sunday evening.

There was no excuse for not getting snow clearance vehicles out particularly as there was little or no traffic on Sunday.

It was not until late evening on Monday that I saw one gritter on Monkspath Hall Road, however it did not appear to be spreading much grit.

I have written to Jim Harte, transport highways and environment director whose department is I believe to be responsible for this fiasco. I have asked for his comments and suggested that he might consider resigning as the borough’s roads were left in an unsafe condition. I await his response with interest.

Paul Meers via e-mail


Hiking prices

I used a taxi on Saturday evening after it had snowed to get from a friend’s house on Monkspath to Hillfield and was charged time and a half.

Yesterday I got one from home to the Sharmans Cross pub and was told normal fare plus £2 - both journeys took the same time as usual. No other service puts its fees up eg, buses, trains, planes, so why should taxi firms?

You don’t go to shops to be told everything has gone up because it was difficult to get products do you?

Kevin Smith via


Doing our best

I am writing this open letter to assure you that we are doing everything we can to ensure we keep our borough running during this bout of extremely inclement weather.

We are working to keep our roads clear and while we are not able to grit every road, our gritters have been out and about, keeping our main roads moving – albeit at a slower pace.

We are doing our best to keep our grit bins topped up, and would encourage residents to work with us to use the grit to keep their side roads safe. Please don’t use it for driveways – we want to ensure there’s enough to go around.

We had to suspend our refuse service last week. This is always a last resort for us, but given the conditions, we felt it was the most sensible option. We will do our utmost to get the services back to normal as soon as we can.

We are endeavouring to keep you updated on what is happening, and are posting regular updates on our website, and sending messages out via the local and regional media. We are also sending out messages on Twitter.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this unusual cold snap. By working together, we will ensure the borough is back to normal as soon as possible.

Please also spare a thought for the vulnerable in our community – if you have elderly neighbours, why not pop in or give them a call.

Sometimes these events bring out our community spirit and bring us together, in the most unusual of circumstances.

I wish you all a good 2011.

Councillor Ian Hedley, leader, SMBC


All shipshape

Shirley & District Sea Cadets would like to thank the visitors and shoppers who braved the snow and ice to visit the Morrison’s store in Stratford Road, Shirley on December 18-19 for their generosity in donating funds during a ‘bag-packing’ event on these days.

In total we raised over £572 and 100 per cent will be used to maintain boats, transport and other equipment used by the Cadets. In addition we would like to thank Morrison’s and their staff for allowing our Cadets to participate in this most successful event.

Ken McNally, Vice Chairman (UMC), Shirley & District Sea Cadets


Be positive

AFTER reading your letters in last week’s edition, I felt I just had to comment on those that objected to the new Parkgate development in Shirley.

It appears that a great many of these objectors really don’t want Parkgate so as they can drive down their traffic free A34 to the supermarkets either in Hall Green or Monkspath.

Maybe it’s because they don’t like the thought of going to a sparkly new shopping centre with free underground parking right in the centre of the existing local shops. Maybe they object to creating 700 new jobs for local people. Maybe they have a job. Maybe they like Shirley the way it is with lots of charity shops, fast food outlets and building societies.

Perhaps they feel a new shopping centre will kill off the local independent stores - those that are left. Maybe they want to see what’s left of the independent traders disappear. Maybe they don’t want a nice new landscaped park right next to the shops. Perhaps they like our local taxes being spent on inquiry after inquiry instead of on the people of the borough. Maybe they don’t want to support the local shops, many of which are trying to support the local community in various ways.

Maybe they don’t want any new shops in Shirley. They like it just the way it is. They don’t want change at all. They can find change at the Park or Solihull or Redditch. Maybe they would rather just have the A34 lined with oak trees and nothing else. I am a resident of Shirley and ex-independent trader in Shirley and love living here.

Those that know me, know I am passionate about the survival of the centre of our town and hopefully it will be transformed into a centre for all to enjoy very quickly.

To the objectors all I can say is Hello …..Wake up and smell the coffee. It’s 2011 and the world is changing. The future customers of Shirley are your children or your grandchildren. Ask them what kind of shopping centre they want for the future.

Phil Kingzett, Hargrave Rd, Shirley



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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