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Smarten up

I AM very concerned about the lack of security at Birmingham International Airport for someone to so easily enter the compound, fire bomb the police helicopter and escape unhindered.

I AM very concerned about the lack of security at Birmingham International Airport for someone to so easily enter the compound, fire bomb the police helicopter and escape unhindered.

If they are able to do this to the police helicopter what damage or sabotage can they do to a commercial jet?

BIA has been pulled up in the past about its security, or lack of it, yet it seems to do a fine job of harassing young girls wishing to take their eyebrow tweezers on holiday with them.

Why does Birmingham Airport not plough some or all of its short stay car park tax (terrorism tax) into securing the airport from possible terrorism attacks at the perimeter fence. I am only too pleased no one was injured in this horrendous attack on an asset owned by the West Midlands tax payers.

As a regular user of BIA I am more than happy for the organisation to make a healthy profit from its customers, but not at the expense of safety.

That’s what I call commercial irresponsibility and I may start taking my custom elsewhere.

Name and address supplied


Plan A please

WHEN I first moved to Shirley there was a good diversity of shops and traffic density was average. Then the M42 opened and traffic increased.

There was talk of a bypass but nothing came of it. Slowly as rates rose many of the independent stores closed.

Then Asda was going to take over the redundant Powergen site, and after much discussion the idea was shelved. Now we have the treat of losing a good part of Shirley Park, still heavier traffic and the eyesore of the Powergen site to contend with.

Why don’t we go back to plan A, let Asda build on the original site, with the old Reynolds Cross building as additional car parking.

I can’t believe that the regeneration of Shirley would be any different regardless of what side of the road Asda is built on. We will still have traffic chaos.

Reduce the ratable value of the shops in Shirley and then independent shops would be able to open.

If the council really does want to duplicate the centre of Solihull in Shirley, could we please have a cinema instead!

Rosemarie Rickard, Stanway Road, Shirley


Goodly knight

I WOULD like to say a big thank you to the kind gentleman who, when I blacked out in the middle of the road at the end of Brook Lane on June 5, picked me up and carried me to the nearby chemist shop, out of harm’s way. The age of chivalry lives on.

P Pidgeon, Langley Hall Road, Olton


Figures call

RE- your article about the European election results (‘UKIP second at ballot box’). Could we please have the election results for Solihull candidates. I just wish to know how many votes each of the candidates got out of the total votes cast.

Mr Martin, Redlands Close, Solihull


Both ways

INSTEAD of contemptuously dismissing UKIP as a party of protest, Malcolm Harbour should explain which party voters who wish to withdraw from the EU should support.

UKIP’s position on the EU is clear. That of the Tories is vague and muddled. David Cameron claims to want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but will not commit himself unconditionally, suggesting that he is not that concerned about the massive surrender of power involved.

Again, he says he wants to be “in Europe but not run by Europe”. This is pure sophistry. To be in Europe is to be run by Europe, as he well knows.

If Gordon Brown is Judas, for betraying us over the promised referendum on Lisbon, then David Cameron is Janus, after the Roman god who faced both ways at once.

JR Nurcombe, Marcliff Crescent, Shirley


On the nod

TORY Councillor Gary Allport has dropped a clanger over the Heart of Shirley (Letters). He makes the silly and inaccurate allegation that the Liberal Democrats were behind the Heart of Shirley when this was considered by a working party at a time he was not even a councillor.

The reality is that concerns were expressed by Lib Dem councillors and I am advised by a senior member who served on the working party that all the Tory Cabinet Member responsible said in the way of reassurance was “I hear what you say”. However that ‘reassurance’ has been exposed as completely shallow given that the Conservative-run council pressed ahead with their plans to wreck Shirley Park and risk Shirley’s independent traders with their scheme that includes a giant Asda superstore in place of parkland.

Coun Allport also makes the allegation that the Liberal Democrats backed the transfer of the lease of the Powergen site to Asda. He ought to have known that all nine Shirley councillors presented a petition to Solihull Council dated November 7 1995 of almost 500 signatures urging the council not to do so because of the harm it posed to residential amenities and the business community. The petition was supported by the Chamber of Trade and local resident and community groups.

Coun Allport’s assertions amount to nothing more than Tory spin.

Coun Tim Hodgson, Shirley South Ward


No champion

IN her latest pamphlet, Tory wannabe Maggie Throup paints herself as an environmental champion fighting to protect Solihull’s green spaces. I’d be interested to see her square this claim with her own party’s continued incursions into the borough’s parkland, but that’s one topic upon which Ms Throup remains curiously silent.

Steve Green, Solihull


No tears

PLEASE don’t shed any tears over the plight of the Ivy Leaf Club, in their need for new members (Solihull News).

Had they not disaffiliated from the Royal British Legion three years ago, they would still be member rich. As it is they alienated most of the members when they turned their backs on the RBL.

Name and address supplied


All chipped

IN September a change in the way refuse is collected in Solihull is planned. This involves a wheelie bin collection for every household.

The bins are all going to be chipped and will only contain 100 litres, this is approximately the contents of one normal refuse bag.

Each property at the moment averages two, even with recycling of paper and glass. The chip put under the rim of the said bin is set to each address and the bin will not be collected if it is overweight or the lid will not close. Residents will be fined or left with their bins overflowing, as no bagged rubbish will be taken.

Name and address supplied


Keep it free

I, LIKE last week’s correspondent Zoe Seinman, dislike the views published by the BNP. However, I feel she is missing the main point. This party won two seats in the European Parliament just like every other party. They were won in accordance with the democratic system we operate.

In the final analysis I would prefer the principle of ‘free speech’ in this country rather than suppression.

Name and address supplied


Post local

PERHAPS the self-proclaimed Knowle Poet (a legend in his own lunchtime) should support his local post office in Knowle rather than travel twice a week to Solihull Post Office to find something to complain about. Support your local post office - use it or lose it.

Paul Gilbert, via e-mail


di Silva lining

REGARDING your item about the enquiry from Grace, the daughter of Salvatore di Silva, who was billeted in Solihull in 1944, perhaps I can help (Solihull News).

The supposition that he stayed with a chemist called Cyril Hall in Station Road, Knowle is correct. Cyril Hall sadly died quite young many years ago but I have been in touch with his son, Peter Hill, who now lives in Station Lane, Lapworth. Peter was born in 1944 so can not remember that time, but he confirms that an American serviceman stayed with his parents for a while and I would think that was almost certainly Salvatore di Silva.

Peter says that he would have no objection to being contacted by the di Silva family.

Hill’s Chemists was situated roughly where an office equipment shop now stands in Station Road, but this is a new building.

The row of shops, which also included a newsagents and Wrensons’ Grocers, was demolished long ago. Further up Station Road, on the opposite side, used to be the cinema, which Mr di Silva would perhaps remember.

Sadly this too disappeared long ago and the site is now occupied by an Alfa Romeo car agency. A bit further along, next to the United Reformed Church was a Nissen Hut which was used by the Americans when they were in Knowle - there are now houses on the site. Knowle has changed but Mr di Silva may like to know that whereas there were only three pubs in Knowle when he was here, the arrival of The Vaults means there are now four. So it has not all been bad.

As a small boy I remember the Americans in Knowle. Once, when one of them was trying to ‘chat up’ my mother he patted me on the head and said something to the effect: “I hope you never have to fight a war.” Happily his hopes were borne out.

Rob Brooke, Wilsons Road, Knowle


Chocolate treats

FURTHER to your Archives article, I can recall US soldiers in Solihull.

As a near teenager I can recall US soldiers being billeted in Ashleigh Road and also in a wooden building erected just past the railway bridge in Blossomfield Road (opposite Dorchester Road).

My friends and I would walk from the High Street where we would be given sweets and chocolates by the soldiers. Unfortunately for us they soon disappeared.

Sybil Atkins (née Green), Henley Crescent, Solihull


Our duty to vote

ALTHOUGH Solihull had a reasonable turnout in the European Elections compared to other places, it still was not good enough.

I think of voting as a duty and I do believe that Solihull Pensioners’ Convention’s Husting did help to give Nikki Sinclaire a fighting chance of election for UKIP and good luck to her now that she has obtained her goal.

I hope she will expose the expenses row of MEPs who are equally as greedy as our own MPs have been proven to be!

I hope the MEPs’ rise in their pensions, voted for recently by most of them, will reach our national press compared to the miserable pension our pensioners of today are reluctantly given by our own government or come to that, any other party who gets in at the next election!

Josie Herbert, chairman, Solihull Pensioners’ Convention


Safe already

MUCH has been said about the proposed Arden Safer Routes to school in Knowle and it is easy to connect children, safety and schools by rubber stamping any new schemes which include this in its title.

However, a closer examination raises concern that it is unnecessary, unduly complex and expensive at £210,000 which, while not funded directly by Solihull Council, is very poor value to taxpayers.

Our observations indicated that Arden pupils are well disciplined with good road sense and use the existing Station Road crossing very safely. The lights operate frequently and waiting time is only a few seconds with almost all pupils arriving between 8.30am and 8.45am.

Traffic speed was very slow and frequently interrupted by the lights which also aid vehicle manoeuvres around the nearby school entrance. Traffic speed is so slow that it is unlikely to be reduced by the additional traffic calming measures.

However, the traffic flow along this bus route would have to negotiate the humps and bumps throughout the other 96 per cent of the day.

There are railings along the school frontage which channel pupils onto the crossing, while the small number of cyclists were able to negotiate the short section of footpath without the aid of a dedicated cycle track.

We all know we are living in difficult times and public expenditure above all needs carefully husbanding and to be wisely spent. This project in Knowle simply does not meet that criteria and also has a downside for ordinary road users and adjacent residents.

Trevor Eames, secretary, Solihull Ratepayers’



Save the green belt

REGARDING the new medical centre at Balsall Common, residents of Berkswell and Balsall Common know that a larger doctor’s surgery is long overdue.

However, to consider using a green field site within the Meriden Gap Green Belt is not an acceptable option and should never have been considered.

We believe that the supporters of this project have been persuaded with misinformation, even listening to the suggestion that if we do not say yes to this, then we will not get anything. This is neither a fair or appropriate way to treat the local residents on such an important issue.

We must not let Balsall Common sprawl out into the countryside, by losing a bit of land here and a bit there, because it will never stop. We pay our taxes, let’s get some back and regenerate the village centre ‘because we’re worth it!’

Kay Howles, vice chairman, Berkswell Parish Council


He was there

Regarding the new medical centre, I am writing to take issue with the letter that you published, last week, from Councillor Richard Lloyd, chairman of Berkswell Parish Council.

Coun Lloyd quite rightly states that at the Berkswell Parish Council meeting, on June 1, the vote taken was in favour of opposition. He then fails to mention that the following evening he attended a meeting of the Balsall Common Village Residents’ Association (BCVRA), where the vote was 25 to 1 in support, Coun Lloyd being ‘the one’.

On the following Monday he attended a meeting of the Balsall Parish Council Planning Committee, where the decision was taken to support the application.

Coun Lloyd makes mention of “the limited time to make representations”. What he fails to tell us is that for the past two years he has been a member of a Medical Topic Group. The purpose of the group was to represent residents’ views in the development of the plans for the new medical centre.

Coun Lloyd is well aware that this group took a decision to support the application.

I leave it to your readers to form their own opinion of the quality of the man and his arguments.

David Felthouse, via e-mail


Boost for care

IT is a pity that R Lloyd has such a narrow view of what will be a significant improvement in medical dental and social support for all the area supported by the new centre.

This centre will sit on the edge of Berkswell Parish. The surgery and all support NHS staff are currently scattered to the four winds in Meriden, Solihull and Balsall and have to serve three villages Meriden, Balsall and Berkswell, the vast majority of patients coming from Meriden and Balsall.

This new centre will bring all the staff needed to support patients and residents for the whole of this area, a single point of contact for all the residents’ needs.

Clearly if you have all the staff together and have additional health services to give this comprehensive integrated support you will need bigger premises to accommodate them.

The village centre location has been shown by independent reports not to be viable on cost, size, traffic congestion, parking and any future growth that may be required.

It is also highly unlikely that traders will suffer as the pharmacy will remain in the village.

For those that do not have access to a car and can not easily get to the centre there is provision for them to get door to door transport.

Derek Wood, Medical Services Topic Group


Silly ramblings

I DO wonder what I did wrong slagging off Mr Young. I did go over the top, as I do. Sincere apologies for my silly ramblings.

Ray Dyke, Leafield Road, Solihull


French leave

IT was with great sadness that I read your article about the Languages Department at Solihull College being severely hit by the reduction in government funding for adult learners.

I have been teaching French at college for 13 years and am currently teaching the majority of the French classes both daytime and evening.

To further help my students, over the years I have established links with a college in Cholet. Wonderful friendships have been forged.

We have had several visits both here and there which have been mentioned in your paper and indeed I have some students visiting Cholet as I write this letter. It is such a shame to lose such a thriving department with dedicated staff.

In September I hope there will be limited classes available at college and in the community and it would be so lovely if people felt they could continue to support us and have great fun too! Learning a language is stimulating, useful and fun and you meet some great people!

Lindsey Gilbert, via e-mail



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