I WAS horrified to read recently that Warwickshire County Council plans to remove or not provide ‘speed’ camera warning signs.
This just confirms what the majority of motorists have always suspected – that is, ‘speed’ cameras are just a cynical attempt to extort money from drivers. We are told repeatedly that speed cameras are there to make our roads safer.
If that is the case then logic says that drivers need constant reminders of the prevailing speed limit and that there may be entrapment devices if they then exceed it.
By removing these reminders a local authority is, in my opinion, complicit in that entrapment process.
David Badger, Solihull
REGARDING Solihull MBC’s council tax increases (Solihull News). It was with total shock horror when opening my council tax demand I noted a 4.5% increase.
Especially at a time when the country is on the slippery slope to financial disaster and we are surrounded by political incompetence with the collapse of house prices, mass redundancies and workers having to take pay cuts and work reduced hours.
All this on top of a collapse of interest rates and increasing costs of gas, electric and water. Our councillors must be living on another planet.
Now is not the time for increases of this magnitude, the residents of Solihull expect the council to cut its cloth to reflect the current situation, not make it worse. A 1% maximum increase should have been possible.
The increase requested is totally unaffordable by the majority of Solihull residence who expect a much greater level of concern, stewardship and leadership from its elected members of council
W A Wood, Framefield Drive
TO be personally attacked in letters from two Hodgsons in one week really is a bonus (Solihull News) but I suggest that father and son should at least check facts before putting pen to paper.
The reality is that savings for the current year have already been fully delivered and by achieving this service pressures were met, the council tax increase was slightly less than forecast and Solihull Council was named a national model of good practice for reducing costs.
In trying to find something to criticise they focus not on the current delivery of savings but on what is proposed as a target for 2009/10 where of £4.469 million to be found in year, £3.63 million has already been identified through the all-party Challenge Boards.
If they really accept a need to secure further savings then Tim’s announcement to Cabinet that the Liberal Democrats would be proposing a budget with a substantially lower tax increase seems more bizarre than ever.
For Hodgson, Hodgson and Co to now try to dig themselves out of a hole and spin attention away from their shortcomings really is too little too late.
Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council
NO one in Solihull wants to see council tax rises. But the Lib Dems, as the ‘official’ opposition on Solihull Council, seem to be scoring political points without having offered any realistic alternative. It is easy to attack but hollow when no realistic alternatives are offered. Those of us who live in Solihull and enjoy its high quality services need to be treated honestly by our elected councillors, even if it involves tough choices. The Lib Dems are wallowing in lazy opposition and ‘Punch and Judy’ politics.
Paul Orton, via e-mail
Cut your cloth
JUST received my council tax demand together with a booklet telling me where all the money is wasted.
Fantastic - what other organisation can put their prices up by 4.5 per cent when inflation is near to zero. Solihull Council doesn’t live in the real world.
Instead of moaning that central government does not provide enough money, cut your cloth accordingly and do what other local authorities are doing - sack a few hundred people.
Stop employing an army of temps when staff are having their sickness holidays with ‘bad back’ or ‘stress’. Close the health and safety department, we used to get by OK without it until about 20 odd years ago. Stop digging up the parks and putting in stupid cycle tracks with all the graffiti that involves.
Has anyone seen the new white line in Tudor Grange Park? It would not look out of place on the M1, it must be about two inches high. I’m surprised they have not had to dig it up in case someone trips over it! Stop painting red lines all over the place and sticking in hundreds of daft signs or constructing useless roundabouts.
The cost of public services has got out of hand. Let people take more responsibility for their own well being instead of this monster of a nanny state.
Fed Up, via e-mail
Doing our best
In spite of the poor government grant our council tax is still one of the lowest in the West Midlands. Our current Band D tax is £1050. Next year our Band D tax will be £1099. In setting the budget neither the ruling Conservative group, nor opposition parties, were able to suggest any further reductions to our expenditure.
Councillors are very aware of the difficulties many residents are facing in these challenging times. I can assure readers that this Conservative controlled council will continue the difficult balancing act of providing good services while trying to keep council tax down to the lowest possible amount.
Coun Gary Allport (Cons), Shirley South
IN reply to Coun Tim Hodgson’s letter in last week’s paper.
The simple facts surrounding council tax rates in Solihull are that this shameful socialist Government allocates this borough such a tiny amount of money that the tax has to rise to maintain a decent level of public services.
Coun Hodgson can not be very bright if he can not see that. Or maybe he prefers the Liberal Democrat policy of a local income tax instead of council tax, which would see the majority of householders in Solihull worse off.
I’m not wild about having 4.5 per cent slapped onto my council tax bill but at least I understand the logic and necessity for it.
Rosemary P Worsley, Bronte Farm Road, Shirley
It’s simple, Mr Perry
ONCE again a representative of Centro is failing to answer the legitimate concerns of bus users (Solihull News).
In his letter of March 13 Mr Perry states that there were four different buses serving the Knowle, Dorridge and Hockley Heath area.
So far as Hockley Heath is concerned this is untrue. We have only ever had the 151, a service which was notoriously unreliable in the afternoons and weekends.
As for what he claims is the aim to give rural areas a more reliable service, may we ask how this ties in with the fact that the company responsible for the Sunday service is still getting away with frequently failing to run the first bus of the day?
With regard to the late running of the S2 and S3, Mr Perry states they are aware of traffic congestion along the routes which have affected reliability. Why did they not do feasibility studies before issuing the timetables? Anyone travelling between Solihull and Acocks Green would be aware of traffic problems so why weren’t Centro?
He refers to the fact that the operators were losing patronage thus threatening the future of several local bus routes. Can he not understand that after people have been left standing waiting for buses that don’t arrive, then of course they are going to use alternative means of transport?
Mrs E Jones, via e-mail
Our late bus
REGARDING the recent bus route changes, there is only one way to describe this operation - an utter shambles!
We had a fabulous little bus - the 671, Solihull to Olton. A lot of elderly passengers used it and we had a very special team of drivers. Since the reorganisation we have a reduced service - one S7 an hour. Now if you want to go to Olton or Acocks Green you have to catch the S3. The timetable for this is so bad you virtually have to guess when it’s going to arrive!
Why wasn’t the 671 left alone and just extended to Acocks Green? May I suggest the S3 is rerouted to cover the old 671 route. There are enough services already running along Blossomfield Road.
Carole Howell, Clinton Road, Shirley
Stop and search
WHILST out with five of his friends on March 13 my son was walking down the road having a laugh, as young boys do (17-year-olds).
A police car drove past and then turned round. Two police officers got out - a man and a slip of a girl. They totally ignored the lads my son was with and went straight to him, asking for his name and address. They then gave him a stop and search slip and searched him for drugs and an offensive weapon. They also made him take his socks and shoes off in the middle of the street.
My son holds down a job and college course. My point is that not all teenagers who are black/mixed race (I point this out because all his other friends were white) are gun-toting, knife-wielding, drug-smoking criminals. I myself do not label black teenagers with this stereotype. So please Mr Plods get a grip and go and arrest the real criminals and do the job I pay my taxes for.
Amanda Robinson, Chelmsley Wood
Rubbish all over
I’VE noticed quite a bit of random fly tipping whilst cycling around the borough. In Marston Green there is a pile of tyres. If you head out of Marston Green on Bickenhill Lane, just before you come to the left hand turn to go to the cricket club, on the right hand side in the wooded area there is a growing pile of tyres.
The middle of Bickenhill Lane has also got various piles of rubbish, bizarrely when the local tip is just down the road.
Generally though, I’m amazed at the amount of general rubbish in hedgerows.
Tony, via e-mail
Wear your hat
ON Monday, March 16 I had a riding accident - I was thrown over the horse’s head and landed on my head and was knocked unconscious. Even now 24 hours later I still can not remember immediately before the accident or for a period after.
My mother took me to A&E at Solihull Hospital where they fitted a neck brace. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me in the 40+ years I have been riding and the nurses were very caring, considerate and reassuring.
I cannot thank the two nurses enough for their patience and kindness. After I had my X-ray I saw a doctor who was wonderful.
I can not speak highly enough of the staff - doctors and nurses - at Solihull Hospital.
I would also like to end with a warning to all horse riders - never be tempted to ride without a proper kite marked riding hat - mine saved my life.
Heidi Cosford, via e-mail
BACK door job cuts that put passenger safety at risk is a very short-sighted profit-orientated strategy by London Midland, and in this economic climate where job losses in industry and the retail trade are already causing knock-on social problems, it is justly unfair.
We need industries that can carry jobs to be employing people, not sacking them. London Midland is a subsidised train operator and the taxpayer is footing the bill. So not only are job cuts unnecessary, they are totally unacceptable.
ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Road, Yardley Wood
REGULAR readers of the letters page will always smile when reading those from Don Bargery. I am not sure who he is trying to fool, but last week’s letter deserves a reply.
Northern Rock has given its staff good bonuses to collect as much cash as possible to repay the Government.
It became renowned for quick foreclosure on those who fell behind with their mortgage repayments, and repossessed houses fast so that it could sell them, grab the cash and chase the borrower for any shortfall.
And when fixed rate terms came to an end, it offered its borrowers continuation mortgages at the highest rates, so they went elsewhere and Northern Rock could have the cash back. And it would not give new mortgages other than at sky high rates.
All of this was the exact opposite of what Don’s hero and world-saving leader wanted. When Brown finally understood what his bank was doing he just had to put it all in reverse and start lending again.
So what has this to do with green shoots? More like a c***up and a U turn to me.
J Rudge, via e-mail
Come with me
I AM sorry that the scare Mr Carrington experienced when entering the woods at Bickenhill has led him to take such a negative view of the people (both paid and volunteers) who help to maintain them (Letters).
May I invite him to visit them once more between 10am and 12noon on Wednesday, March 25 when Rod, Dave and I will be there doing some much needed reparation work. The work is in the orchard which he has obviously enjoyed so much in the past. We can have a chat and perhaps share a drink together.
Edward Legg, via e-mail
All for Lloyd
LLOYD Short’s family would like to send their heartfelt thanks for the wonderful turnout at his funeral on March 2.
We were overwhelmed with the thoughts and wishes that everyone sent. Special thanks to the Woodmans Rest pub for accommodating us so well after the funeral. We will be donating the money to Lloyds School - Reynalds Cross special school, his youth club - Smart Club Green Lane, the Glades football club and SUDEP - sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
Julie Wilson, via e-mail
IT seems that I have lost my position as a top film critic as the letter from my friend Phil has taken away my credibility, although I did not have a lot before.
Regarding films, I thought that Bronson was so bad, so violent, so unpleasant. Please be kind enough to tell your colleague Graham Young that he has lost his credibility by giving it three stars.
Ray Dyke, Leafield Road, Solihull
I WOULD like to thank the people of the Solihull area who contributed so generously to the Amnesty International street collection on Saturday, February 28. The amount raised was £912.18 and our expenses were £20. Anyone wishing to get in touch with one of our local groups is welcome to phone Pauline Mackey on 0121 603 2891 or David Hess on 01564 777099.
Maurice Simpson, Amnesty International, Solihull Group
AS the founder of a voluntary organisation, the CAVI Society, I feel that I must respond to Peter of Castle Lane and his letter ‘Mobile puzzle’ (Feb 20), in which he declares his curiosity as to why people use mobile phones but don’t want mobile phone masts in their locality.
I do not own a mobile phone, nor will I ever buy one or encourage anyone to use one, but then I have been researching the effects of phone masts on local communities for some 10 years now.
I advise Peter, and anyone else who may be interested, to look at the HESE website. Just scroll down the pale blue column to the right and you will begin to get an insight into the seriousness of the problem.
In a nutshell, the damage to the human body is caused by the ‘packing up’ of the pineal gland caused by the night-time radiation from a nearby mast or other sources of electromagnetic radiation, such as cordless phones. Not everybody is affected in the same way or to the same extent, but when things go wrong, and the immune system is impaired, then it may affect any of the body’s systems.
The UK has amongst the highest permitted mast emission levels in Europe. Belgium has recently decided to limit emission levels to 3 V/m in the Brussels region, a decision which came into force on March 15. This report is a landmark inquiry and is certainly a challenge to Mr Average in the street.
Diana Hanson, founder, the CAVI Society
Well done Harry
WITH reference to the letter about Harry Moore, the care worker who secured a job at Rayner House residential care home with support from the Pertemps People Development Group (Solihull News).
I’m sure his parents are very proud of him and may I say it’s a pity there aren’t a lot more people of his age trying to help people instead of causing trouble on the streets and robbing people. Also we see graffiti everywhere and what a mess!
When I read the story I tell you I had a lump in my throat.
CT Leach, Mullensgrove Road, Kingshurst
Don’t botch it
ACCORDING to research carried out for the Gas Safe Register, almost 11 per cent of consumers in the West Midlands would risk doing their own gas repairs.
Saving money on a botched gas repair can end up costing much more, particularly if someone dies from carbon monoxide poisoning, yet more than twice as many West Midlanders are prepared to risk lives than people in living in Wales or Scotland.
Gas consumers have previously been advised to use only a CORGI registered gas engineer to avoid this risk.
However, in response to public and industry calls for change, from April 1, consumers need to look for the logo of the Gas Safe Register which will appear on the engineer’s identification card along with their photo.
This is the only scheme of which gas engineers need to be a member.
Anyone who wishes to find out more, can visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk.
Nick Ratty, HSE Midlands Divisional Director
IN answering John Bramham’s letter (March 13), firstly John, God wants us all to be a part of his family.
Normally we get married, then we save to buy the nice things in life - a house, car, maybe a nice holiday, and so on. Then we think about children, perhaps two or three. Anyway from this point on our lives consist of looking after our family.
We are never the same, we worry, we take care of the problems, we advise them, and this is the same with God. God is love and that says it all.
In the last month two of my friends have died. I know one of them is in paradise and the other one, not being a Christian, will go to hell come the day of judgment. The thought of this makes me feel sick. I wish I had told him how he could be saved (now it’s too late).
The way we are has nothing to do with being childish, it’s all about taking responsibility for our own eternal life, it’s not folklore or fairy tales, it’s about asking God for forgiveness (repent)
P Thomas, Baxters Road, Shirley
HOW can anyone believe in the line that quotes: “He the Ever Living, the One who sustains and protects all that exists.”
Every day there is news of shootings and stabbings somewhere and soldiers killed in the line of duty.
My husband suffered rheumatoid arthritis and was in some degree of pain for 30 years until he died. My mother went blind and had Alzheimer’s in her later years.
Where was the ‘One’ when all this was happening?
JM Greaves, Stonor Road, Hall Green
Thanks you all
IT was my misfortune to collapse on Thursday, March 5 in the Solihull M&S store. The care and attention I received from M&S staff, the paramedics who attended the scene and subsequently the care and expertise of the doctors and nurses of Ward 17 was outstanding. For those people who find nothing better to do than run down our NHS service I offer my own experience as to how good the NHS can be. Long may it continue.
Mr JR Tunley, Pettyfields Close, Knowle
I AM knitting items to sell at Solihull Hospital. The things I make sell very readily but unfortunately my supply of wool is running low. If anyone has any odd balls of wool I would be delighted to receive them. Even small lengths of wool can be used in patchwork quilts. I feel it is such a good cause as all of the money raised goes directly to our own hospital.
Thank you very much for the donations of wool I am now using - please keep the supply coming. Incidentally, if you have any items other than wool to donate, George Cother would be glad to hear from you on 0121 711 1566.
Mrs J Edwards, 1 Bishopton Close, Shirley
AFTER watching the excellent ‘fast’ advert on TV for a fast response to strokes may I say this. I think people should not think stroke as this sounds gentle like stroking a cat or dog.
A stroke is a brain attack and time is so important to make sure death is not the result, or severe disability. If you come across somebody
who may have had a brain attack (stroke), do the ‘fast’ test (face.arms.speech) and if any of these are affected please phone 999. This may be your chance to save a life or stop somebody from becoming disabled.
Lawrence Morrison, chairman, Solihull Stroke Club
WE would like to thank all those who helped collect and all those who contributed to the collection at Wilkinsons on Saturday, February 14. We would also like to thank Wilkinsons who nominated the RSPCA as our charity of the year in 2008/09. We raised £132.39
Helen Tuite, community fund raising manager, RSPCA Birmingham