As a resident of Solihull Lodge I have household rubbish which is either not collected by Solihull Council or cannot be composted. I have a choice; I can take it to Lifford Lane recycling centre, a return journey of 6.8 miles with carbon emissions of 2.9kg or to Bickenhill which is 24.8 miles and 7.3kg.
The answer is obvious, so for years I have taken my sorted rubbish to Lifford Lane. Recently I was asked for my postcode and this is a problem because Lifford Lane is operated by Veolia Environmental Services on behalf of Birmingham City Council for Birmingham residents.
I said I lived in B90. He was very polite and told me that from next week, I can no longer use their facility but must go to Bickenhill instead.
It appears Solihull Council have been asked by Birmingham City Council to pay for Solihull residents using their recycling centres.
This seems a reasonable request but Solihull have refused so we are now suffering a decision made years ago, to site Solihull’s only dump at Bickenhill, miles from anywhere.
Solihull as an authority has a poor environmental record. It always seems to be the last to adopt schemes that other councils have used for years.
Someone from Solihull Council should go to Birmingham, quickly agree a price and write out a cheque. This must be cheaper than collecting rubbish fly-tipped around the borough from Monday.
(ps. the distance and carbon figures were taken from the RAC route planner website)
Stephen Burt, Pear Tree Close, Shirley
THE latest Conservative newssheet mentions yet another council wheelie bin for recycling purposes. Personally I have had enough council plastic boxes imposed.
Councillor Potts says: “I am sure that residents will welcome. . .” rather assumptive, isn’t it? How does he know? Which residents’ opinions has he solicited? Not mine, that’s for sure. I would like to see a council tax reduction for the loss of residents’ house space for all these boxes.
I REFER to your article on page 5 of the Solihull News regarding the drivers who escaped parking fines due to a council blunder over the wording on some of the signs which did not match up to the traffic regulation order.
The article went on to state that Solihull Council stressed that the signs had now been changed and restrictions were fully in force.
Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case, we have not seen a traffic warden for weeks. Consequently the workers from a nearby office block are busy moving from bay to bay throughout the day. Some drivers are even parking all day with no penalties being issued. What sort of restrictions are these?
TM Stretton, via e-mail
I WRITE to support the viable Alternative Safer Routes to School Scheme for Arden published in last week’s letters page (Solihull News).
Many of the 1,000 plus Knowle residents who signed the petition to scrap the council’s current proposed Safer Routes to School Scheme for Arden would support this sensible alternative. This is the scheme proposed by Arden’s School Travel committee and approved by the council’s School Travel Plan Officer and it would cost about £30,000.
The council transport officers’ scheme costs about £216,000. They admit their scheme is not about child safety, but simply increasing cycling percentages.
Most students prefer their current transport arrangements. Only 15 per cent say they might cycle if the mood takes them. But this proposal would provide a genuinely safer route.
I believe the proposed part-time 20mph arrangements should be put in place. This could be done without digging up Station Road and with only perhaps one road hump, if any.
I am sure this new viable alternative would enjoy wide support from many Knowle residents.
Coun Jeff Potts, Knowle Ward
Tin shake joy
THE Solihull and District Branch of the MS Society would like to thank everyone who contributed to the recent street collection in Mell Square. A total of £1,348.22, a wonderful sum, was raised and this will enable the MS Society to continue to provide support for all who are affected by MS, including families, friends and carers.
Sandra Hoskin, secretary, Solihull and District Branch, MS Society
Sea of mess
I AM writing to complain about the park in Chelmsley Wood. I have complained to the council but nothing is being done. When the weather is nice it’s lovely taking my kids their and feeding the ducks but the lake hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time and my kids can’t feed the ducks any more as the ducks can’t swim through all the mess and weeds.
My son says it looks like it’s full of mushy peas as the entire surface of the water is covered in gunk. I just feel it’s such a shame as a lot of people enjoy taking their children there.
They spend a lot of time making the play area nice and tidy but I think it’s about time they started tidying up the lake.
Lucy Nunn, via e-mail
I WOULD like to thank everyone who took part in the clean up day at Babbs Mill on Sunday. The litter picking, cutting the shrubs back and painting over the graffiti really improved the place. It is such a pity that people use this area as a place to dump rubbish, graffiti over and as a drinking place.
Coun Debbie Evans, Kingshurst and Fordbridge Ward
WHAT on earth has happened at Sainsbury’s? Where have all those lovely checkout girls gone? Is Sainsbury’s going to add to our already bulging dole queues?
Some checkouts are deserted, half of them have been changed to automatic, where you check items through yourself.
Shopping is stressful and when you get to the checkout the last thing you want is to be confronted by a cold machine.
What about the pensioners? We get mixed up now. Oh I have just realised what’s happening, Sainsbury’s will change all the checkouts to automatic and then all the checkout girls will be employed to wait for all the pensioners and help them through.
P Thomas, Baxters Road, Shirley
Your Viewpoint regarding the rugby ground at Sharmans Cross Rd set out the benefits that could have accrued to Solihull Borough (Solihull News). The subsequent letter from Mr Montague of the Sharmans Cross Action group was in my view; confused, misleading and highly subjective.
With regard to subsidies and land value neither the rugby club nor the developer, would receive any subsidies from the rate payer or the council.
The freehold of the club’s playing pitches was sold to the council by the club in 1965 for just £1,250 and leased back for 125 years at a fixed rent of £250 per year. The ground is a ‘private sports ground’, it is not a public facility. The council’s total income for the remaining period of the lease will be exactly £20,250.
The entrance from Sharmans Cross Road, the car parking areas and the club house are owned freehold and not subject to the council’s lease.
Mr Montague’s letter states the Action Group’s Independent advisors assessed the land value of the whole site i.e. the hard standing areas and the pitches at less than £3m.
The donation to the Foundation has been fixed at a level of £3.35m i.e. higher than the Action Groups assessment of the total land value!
With regard to finances, the club is struggling. The principal reason for this is that our ground is in a confined residential area with inadequate access, parking, floodlighting sporting and spectator facilities. The planned facilities at Damson Park meet RFU standards for Championship Rugby and would give the club the opportunity to increase spectator numbers and income. The refusal of the planning application is a crippling blow to the club.
Mr. Montague criticised our community work, although the 1,370 hrs of coaching and support for charity, fund raising and educational initiatives has been greatly appreciated by the charitable organisations and 23 schools we worked with last year.
Had our Planning Application been approved, it would have enabled the funding and creation of a Charitable Community Foundation, specifically set up to deliver the council’s community sports strategy.
Solihull is underachieving in terms of participation levels in sport and active recreation. The council’s head of leisure has said that our community programme could make a significant contribution to the delivery of its sports strategy.
The Rugby Club is shortlisted for ‘Team of the year’ at the CSW Sports Awards and is one of the top 24 clubs in the country. It needs a ground fit for purpose to enable it to survive and represent the borough at national level in the new championship.
The highest ranking football club in the borough needs to sustain its future and find a way to implement its football development plan.
Our neighbours, Solihull Arden Tennis club need to have a permanent legal right of access and improved parking facilities.
If we all work together, all of these objectives are achievable.
By refusing our planning application I believe our elected representatives have missed a great opportunity. It was refused solely on the basis that there was no provision for affordable housing in the development. The planning committee did not recognise the sporting benefits as being significant enough to offset the need for affordable housing.
We are now left to either appeal this decision or re-submit the application with the inclusion of affordable housing.
Tony Moir, Honorary Secretary, Birmingham & Solihull RFC.
I READ in the latest edition of Solihull Focus from the Liberal Democrats that Councillor Leela Widger is getting bothered about so-called nuisance parking by taxis in the Silhill area.
Leaving aside the fact that Solihull is an urban area with very few non-residential areas, I would like to understand exactly how this parking constitutes a nuisance? I have observed that, yes, taxis wait on residential back roads, but they don’t appear to block either roads or drives.
As a user of taxis it is good that they arrive so promptly when called. If they had to park miles away then waiting times would get longer, costs would go up and the environmental impact would increase.
It’s not as if we have hundreds of taxis queuing round the block. I think they should be invited to join local neighbourhood watch schemes and be allowed to do their job.
Tony Whitby, The Crescent, Solihull
WITH reference to Dennis Sanders’ sonnet (letters, August 14), whilst Ken Meeson may be a serial abuser of other people’s money, he was not primarily responsible for The Great Icelandic Rip-off. That was down to the gormless Councillor Hawkins.
I think it is important that we match the right goon with the right goof, in order that the electorate may punish the guilty when the time comes.
Mr Sawle, Whitefields Crescent, Solihull
IT surely is a poor state of affairs when the £1 fee for the short stay car park at Birmingham Airport causes so much anger. To all the people who are up in arms about the fee may I suggest that you ‘hit them where it hurts’, and refuse to travel from there in the future.
Air travel is not a right, it is a luxury. I suggest that taxi drivers charge the customer the extra £1, and those giving a family member or friend a lift should either ask for it, or consider it a gift. Simple.
G Skye, Solihull
MEMBERS of the Moving On Club were delighted to see David Irwin’s report ‘Queen’s Award joy for vital club’ in last week’s Solihull News. We were most grateful to the Mayor for allowing the presentation of the crystal award to take place in the Council Chamber.
We also thankfully acknowledge the support we have received from Grassroots (administered by the Solihull Community Foundation) and the Birmingham Airport Community Trust.
The club meets on the second Monday of each month at the Oliver Bird Hall and people who previously cared for someone with dementia and live in Solihull are welcome to come to a meeting to hear what we do.
Jane Moss, Moving On Club
Crime cop out
OVER the past few months a marked police car has been left parked on a petrol station forecourt on the Stratford Road, sometimes for days, and even weeks.
Wondering why this was the case I contacted the police and was told this car is not able to be used for patrol purposes so it is parked on garage forecourts to prevent cases of ‘bilking’ (non-payment drive-offs). Clearly the person who thought up this idea had not heard of displacement of crime, ie the ‘bilker’ merely drives to another garage and commits the crime there.
I suggested, as the sight of a police officer in uniform in nearby Hockley Heath is almost as rare as seeing a swallow in January, if the parking of a visible marked car is such a good idea to prevent crime why not park it in a prominent position in the village. After all if this is one of the duties of the police surely it is better to do so where recently there have been three armed robberies, a serious intimidation of a witness, unruly behaviour by youths, not to mention vehicles travelling through the village at over 70mph in the evening.
Lewis Jones, via e-mail
I WOULD like to comment on general driving standards on our roads.
I myself am a professional lorry driver and have been so for many years yet I get very annoyed with inconsiderate drivers who:
Don’t indicate and pull in front of you at the last possible moment.
I have also seen many accidents involving caravans. Surely these drivers should have to take a test of some sort , never mind using the fast lane because they’re too impatient to wait for a lorry overtaking another lorry.
I continue to see drivers hogging the middle lane, driving too slowly, not checking mirrors, using phones whilst eating etc. The list is endless. I’m all for change as change is good, but something has to be done to change the way our roads operate.
R Dalton, via e-mail
Worth a bonus
CONGRATULATIONS to Tesco in Shirley for reprimanding someone for leaving a dog in a car on a hot day. It’s nice to know someone cares about animals. Give the staff a bonus.
Sheila Kington, Solihull
AT our flag day on Saturday, August 1 the sum of £264.79 was raised through the efforts of all our volunteer collectors and the kindness of all the people who donated to the Solihull Visiting Service, which enables us to try to help the lonely and housebound residents of Solihull.
Norma Todd, The Solihull Visiting Service
Shame on you
I WAS disgusted by the objections of Marsh Lane residents to the proposals to build a Marie Curie Hospice. Who knows, they or their family may need the wonderful care given there in the future.
If they think such a two-storey building would not fit into their street scene and the traffic would not be acceptable, they should try living in School Lane. We have a three-storey building containing 22 flats where there used to be four detached houses. It is art deco - known as a third rate Rialto cinema. Art deco stands out like a sore thumb in School Lane and I think it would anywhere in the borough.
The traffic too is a nightmare.
No doubt there will be objections to the two Abbeyfield houses on Hampton Lane being demolished and replaced for the Abbeyfield Society with 32 flatlets, whilst housing for the elderly is desperately needed.
Long-time resident of Solihull
I WAS so pleased to read the letter ‘Time to jive’ from Lionel King.
I remember jiving all night at the university hop on a Saturday during the mid 1950s when I was 17. What energy we all had, especially our favourite dancer, Ben Oni.
A few months ago I visited a friend, Audrey Hadley in Australia where she has lived for nearly 50 years.
We were chatting about Ben Oni - he had quite a fan club of girls all waiting to be asked to jive. I used to feel the bee’s knees for the rest of the night.
I still love to jive, although three dances are enough before the need to sit down. Happy days and great memories.
Mary Roscorla, High Street, Shirley