ON Monday afternoon of the half-term holiday my daughter took her son to Tudor Grange Swimming Pool by public transport.
On arrival at the pool at 2.45pm they were told the pool would be closed from 3pm until 4pm - others were also arriving and being turned away.
There were no explanatory notices. Should this facility not be open to all, especially during the school holiday?
When they did finally return after 4pm the small pool was not available and although my grandson is not a strong swimmer he could only use the main pool. The water in this pool was too cold for comfort.
They then went to have a warm shower, only to find that these were out of order.
This is all very dispiriting when you want to encourage young people to enjoy a visit to the pool.The facilities leave much to be desired.
Mrs VM Owen, Richmond Road, Olton
I WOULD like to respond to the recent letters concerning grit bins.
The council provides grit bins during the winter at certain locations which are outside of our treated routes. This is normally at hilly, exposed locations and potentially dangerous road junctions.
When people ask us for a grit bin we carry out an assessment to decide whether the location is a priority for road safety. If it meets our criteria the bins are normally placed on site in October and removed in April.
We carried out an annual review across the borough and locations that were considered to be high priority had a grit bin provided.
However, due to extreme weather, we took extra precautions and provided more at key locations around the borough. A review of our grit bin policy will take place after this season and any improvements identified will be added for next season.
Coun Ted Richards, Cabinet Member, Transport Highways and Infrastructure
SMART move - telling people you would take feedback about the changes in bus routes seriously and telling everyone to send comments via the internet, especially knowing that most people affected are elderly and unlikely to either have access to the internet or not competent enough to use it.
On behalf of an elderly friend I would like to complain about the re-routing of buses. This friend is still capable of catching a bus as long as it does not detract from the normal route.
The first time he caught it after the changes, he very nearly got completely lost. Fortunately he had enough wits to get off at the next stop and rushed (in a very agitated state) to meet his wife. If he had not been able to, I shudder to think of the outcome.
I assume those responsible for changing the routes are those who do not actually ride on the buses but are more concerned with ‘saving’ money or making a name for themselves.
When making decisions, perhaps those responsible should look at any changes from the point of view of the elderly and, often, infirm.
Hilary Naughton, via e-mail
WHAT a patronising response from the Centro ‘spokeswoman’ to the people who were saying they had to walk much further now to catch the bus, and they have to wait until 10.15am to use their bus passes.
No doubt the ‘spokeswoman’ uses the buses every day herself, but to respond to the complaints with a ‘there there, it will be alright once you have got used to the worse service’ is an insult to the intelligence of the public.
Now a taxi user, Knowle
Just the job
AS a pensioner and non-driver living by Widney Manor station, I would like to say how delighted I am with the new No 5 and S4 bus services.
What a difference it makes having five buses an hour to choose from, to and from Solihull, as opposed to the No 4 (which didn’t always turn up) twice an hour.
It is also much quicker and easier it is to get to Shirley from here, on the No 5, without having to undertake the long journey round Cheswick Green etc.
MY wife and I would like to thank West Midlands Transport for the S2 bus route. For those of us who are not as mobile as we used to be, this is a real boon.
I would say to detractors, don’t knock it until you have tried it. Once again many thanks to those responsible.
New traveller, Monastery Drive, Olton
LIKE many other grandparents, we try to help our family with our grandchildren. We collect our Jack from nursery. We use our buses. Well what a mess they have made of our route now.
We were waiting outside Beatties for our new S3E. We waited and waited - there must have been 30-40 people. It was cold and the bus should have arrived at 13 minutes after the hour but it arrived at 4.40pm. Well it was a fright to get on the bus with kids pushing in - what happened to help the aged?
Please, please give us a better service.
Mr and Mrs Palmer, Paterson Court, Knowle
Quick fix world
MY son has had a really bad experience with the new S2/S3 service in Bentley Heath today. He is 15 and he and his friend decided to go to the cinema in Solihull to see a film which started at 5.30pm.
They checked the timetable and got to the bus stop in Slater Road seven minutes before the due time. After a wait of 45 minutes they came home as they were so cold and very disappointed. Just as he got to the corner of the road the bus came and pulled away before they could get back to the stop.
I have read of many people having similar experiences with this new service and as a parent I see this as just another example of a flimsy, unnecessary change in an increasingly changing, uncertain, quick-fix world. And I feel really annoyed that law-abiding, hard-working families are just subject to so much disregard in today’s society and Centro has just added to that.
Ms K Lisiecki, Mill Lane, Bentley Heath
Let them sort it out
HOCKLEY Heath has always been the poor relation as far as bus services are concerned and the new S3 service has certainly stirred up some controversy. However, your front page article highlighting the complaints of a few disgruntled passengers was hardly helpful. Centro has asked for written complaints and suggestions, so they can try to sort out the problems. We should at least give them a chance.
A Hockley Heath resident
Same old tosh
I RECENTLY received a flyer from Maggie Throup inviting me to support her campaign to defend Solihull’s green spaces. This presumably is the same Maggie Throup who was invited to oppose Solihull Council’s appropriation of a disputed number of acres of Shirley Park and the destruction of the oak tree circle. And her response? A deafening silence.
No matter. Mrs Throup assures us in her leaflet that she believes planning decisions should be made locally. Where have I heard that before? Of course, from Local Government Minister Hazel Blears. And has Mrs Blears implemented her proposal?
Last May a public inquiry was held into the diversion of a footpath through Shirley Park and compulsory purchase orders on businesses in Shirley, all in preparation for the New Heart for Shirley. And the outcome? Despite strong local opposition - although none from Mrs Throup as far as I’m aware - Mrs Blears approved the proposals in every particular. Aren’t our politicians wonderful?
JR Nurcombe, Marcliff Crescent, Shirley
Have some pride
AS residents of the Woodlands estate in Shirley, we pride ourselves on keeping our estate tidy. We are also an alcohol-free zone.
On Saturday I went to our local Michaels supermarket, to find the car park (not for the first time) covered in litter including beer bottles, cans, vodka bottles etc. Surely it is the job of people to keep their property tidy, and the police to maintain an alcohol-free zone.
A concerned resident, Stretton Road, Shirley
I QUOTE: “Solihull Council is committed to putting the needs of its customer first, delivering high quality services where the customer is at the heart of everything we do.”
What utter rubbish!
No one asked the council tax payers of Knowle what we thought about self-service, RFID machines replacing library staff - they were just installed, replacing 50 feet of valuable book shelf space in the process .
Just what sort of service will these machines give?
Will they greet us with a big smile?
Will they say: “Ah, there is a book just come in that you will love?”
Will they be able to issue a book on the odd occasion that you have forgotten your ticket? No!
One member of staff has already been dispensed with, others will not be replaced when they leave and they will be a huge loss to our community. Who made the decision to replace staff with machinery? Do they realise what they have destroyed?
Name and address supplied
SIMON Slater may be studying politics at university but seems all at sea when it comes to council tax.
Readers are well aware that Solihull receives the lowest level of government grant but may not realise this means we have to raise 62 per cent of our budget from domestic council tax whilst Birmingham only has to raise 33 per cent.
It is frustratingly unfair that Solihull residents end up paying two thirds towards the cost of public services whilst others pay only half as much. Despite all party representations to government our grant this year increased by just 1.7 per cent whilst costs have risen at nearly twice this rate.
It is very much to the credit of our staff that they continue to do more with less and still take a real pride in delivering quality services.
The current economic crisis will put more pressure on services but also cause hardship for those affected by redundancy or reduction in their income.
That is why additional resources are being put into advice services to help people claim their entitlement to benefits and also why we have ensured we can deliver on our promise to peg any tax increase at no more than £1 per week at Band D.
It was disappointing but unsurprising that at last week’s Cabinet the Liberal Democrats declined to work with other political parties in the interest of local residents, despite having every opportunity through the budget process to help identify the spending reductions needed to keep council tax in check and protect essential services.
Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council
I WOULD like to complain most strongly. I went to my local, the Harvester in Tanhouse Farm Road on the evening of the England v Spain game and as I don’t like football I asked the gentleman in charge to turn it off, and he said some nasty words to me.
Ray Dyke, Leafield Road, Solihull
ADAPTING P Thomas’ words, he and A Taylor are ‘not very good adverts for’ rational humanity in trying to assert that the earth was created in six days (Letters).
Perhaps they have forgotten that most of the early scientists were monks who felt that making scientific discoveries and building on the teachings of the Bible was part of their job. Many great scientists like Galileo, Copernicus and Faraday were God-fearing men who ‘followed science religiously’ as the way to unravel the ‘mysteries of God’s creation’. Charles Darwin started off following in their tradition, although he later lost his faith after the death of his daughter.
Perhaps they do not realise that, since last September, the Church of England’s website has been carrying an apology to Darwin for ‘misrepresenting him’ and accepting that evolution is the process by which, as they see it, God created the diversity of life on earth.
Isn’t it about time they appreciated that not every word in the Bible is to be taken literally? If you do, then so many inconsistencies can be found in the different books of the Old and New Testaments. Even Deuteronomy 5:17 is contradicted in many parts of the Bible (eg Exodus 35:2), as it is by padres in the armed forces to this day, so even the best known of the Ten Commandments cannot be accepted literally without some rational thinking!
John Edwards, Welford Road, Shirley
I REALLY despair when reading articles on Faith Matters, penned by individuals such as Rev Patrick Taylor.
It is quite clear to me and other Christians that this man knows nothing of the true meaning of faith.
Rev Taylor should ask himself if he’s ever seen the wind. The answer of course would be no, however we’ve all seen the effects of the wind. We’ve all seen records of historical facts and although we’ve not actually witnessed them we believe because we have faith.
Rev Taylor, I suggest that you read 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, Verses 39-45. The book of Genesis tells us that everything was created by God, nothing evolved. Every creature was given the ability to reproduce after its own kind.
God made man and apes apes. Each creature brings forth after its own kind. That’s fact, not theory. Rev Taylor is compromising his faith. If the Bible says it’s true then that’s good enough for me.
Joan Dennis, via e-mail
I HAVE to say I’m getting mightily sick of P Thomas continually quoting the Bible as ‘fact’ (Solihull News, Feb 20), which just shows his or her ignorance of what the word ‘faith’ means.
Religion, any religion, is basically a philosophy on how to live life, and followers of any religion are free to follow their particular faith without being ridiculed and dismissed as ‘unbelievers’ by followers of a different faith or belief system.
I respect P Thomas’ right to follow his/her particular brand of religion, but he/she should then also respect other people’s right to do the same.
Steve Hall, via e-mail
I WOULD disagree with David Simpson’s statement that our world leaders are human. There is not one person on this earth that is perfect, but getting back to politicians let’s just mention a few that are far from perfect - Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe, Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler and so on. I have never seen a poor politician. The one that has just stepped down doesn’t worry, why should he? He’s got three houses - one in Mayfair - he’s got a good job in the EU, the credit crunch is never going to affect him.
Isaiah 9 v 6 tells us of a son that will be given and the government will be upon his shoulders, and his name will be called wonderful counsellor, mighty God. Instead of quoting 1 Peter 1 v 24-25, Mr Simpson should have quoted 1 Peter 1 v 19-23 and he would have given us the truth in this scripture. It says that those who are born again through the word of God which lives and abides forever, if we are born again we need not worry about our lives.
P Thomas, via e-mail
Not in my name
I AM absolutely fuming after reading a letter in your paper from ‘Dorridge Say On Sainsbury’s’ (Feb 20). Not because of the content, for I believe everybody has a right to their own. No, I am furious that somebody has the nerve to write in under the pseudonym ‘Dorridge Say On Sainsbury’s’.
I have concerns about the plans for Forest Court, but I believe the area desperately needs regeneration and this could be the way forward.
But how dare one person write in claiming to be representative of an entire village, it makes me want to get right behind Sainsbury’s, who certainly appear to be taking a much more considerate approach to their consultation than this writer has.
I live in Dorridge, Sainsbury’s have asked for my opinion which I have given them, ‘Dorridge Say On Sainsbury’s’ have not, but have taken it upon themselves to decide it for me. How very rude.
‘One Man’s Say On Sainsbury’s’
Out of keeping
YES, Forest Court is a mess and half empty, yes something needs to be done, but a 30,000sq ft supermarket with its attendant traffic, litter and noise is surely not the answer.
The road infrastructure surrounding this small village centre is in no way adequate to deal with the anticipated 1,000 plus cars visiting each day.
We are fooling ourselves if we think that having a village centre supermarket will prompt us to leave our cars at home – how many people go into a supermarket and come out with one bag and what happens in bad weather?
Above all Dorridge is a village and a semi-rural one at that. Sainsbury’s are proposing a town centre development in a village centre location.
Dorridge resident for 18 years
We have the opportunity to bring Dorridge into the 21st century. We should work with Sainsbury’s to ensure that it happens.
Alan Pratt, via e-mail
THE plot thickens of multi-agency partnerships, several bodies agreeing a formula that involves building on green belt land in north Solihull.
Having contacted Inpartnership and spoken to their representative he assured me all residents are notified of developments in their area.
This unfortunately is not correct. He stated that they had employed canvassers to post information to local residents. I’m still waiting for conformation after a phone conversation two weeks ago.
Development means a better quality of life now and for generations to come, without compromising today’s own needs, and involving communities who are affected by decisions not openly reported.
Who is accountable for expenditure and where are the proposed 6,500 houses going to be built? We have no extra free land left.
Concerned resident and ratepayer, Chelmsley Wood
I AM sorry to read of Brian Roberts’ defeatist attitudes on being ‘old’ and my letter writing (Feb 20). Members of SPC may be ‘old in years’ but I can assure all who read my letters, that we are quite an intelligent bunch of ‘oldies’.
I can not agree with Brian that we are not ‘listened to’ and I am wasting my time. In the first six months of 2009 our speakers are Coun Sleigh (SMBC pensioner champion), Caroline Boyle (EU Press Attache of UK), Mark Goldman (chief executive Heart of England Foundation Hospital), Fiona McEvoy (Taxpayers’ Alliance).
In May we will hold a EU Parliamentary Husting of all MEP candidates and Lorely Burt MP will hopefully visit us in July.
You can see speakers are happy to hear our comments and questions.
Norman Fowler MP in 1980s - who did he think he was? Forget him and help us challenge the many Parliamentarians of today, some of whom are still pompous and self-seeking!
I will go on writing as I believe in the power of the press
Josie Herbert, chairman, Solihull Pensioners’ Convention
I AM grateful that Coun Sheridan has acknowledged the fact of the matter that the council planning committee took the decision to save the green space in Smith’s Wood.
However, he is misleading in one respect, when he claims to be an independent councillor, ie one that represents no political party.
This of course is blatantly untrue since he stood as the Green Party candidate at the 2008 local elections for Smith’s Wood ward.
Yet after I have consulted the council web site, I find that he is proudly listed as representing the Green Party!
The plain fact is he does belong to a political group since his Green Party does all things that a recognised political party does.
If he has resigned from that political party perhaps he would have the good grace to inform the electorate.
J K Wilson, Solihull