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Stop it now

DORRIDGE residents wake up! Do we really want the entire heart of Dorridge to be taken up by a Sainsbury’s store one and a half times as large as their store in Solihull, together with an underground car park for 220 cars?

DORRIDGE residents wake up! Do we really want the entire heart of Dorridge to be taken up by a Sainsbury’s store one and a half times as large as their store in Solihull, together with an underground car park for 220 cars?

This is not designed to serve the needs of Dorridge but rather to draw people in from a much wider area and away from Sainsbury’s main local competitors.

The traffic that this will generate will completely change the village atmosphere and will be continuous for seven days a week and six evenings. There will also be delivery lorries arriving and departing both day and night.

In their brochure Sainsbury’s states that it “hopes to attract additional retailers to Dorridge, regenerating and revitalising the village centre”.

Will somebody explain how this can be possible when at present in Forest Court precinct in addition to the original small supermarket site, there are 26 retail units (currently 17 of which are occupied by 13 traders)? The proposed plan shows only six retail units. There is also no proposal to reinstate the village post office, which is the one thing which would revitalise the community.

There is absolutely no precedent for a supermarket of this size to be built in the centre of a village. So, if you feel that the plans should be radically modified, please write to Sainsbury’s or contact them on, freephone 0800 975 5299. Also, get in touch with your local press, councillors and residents’ association before it is too late!

Dorridge resident of over 20 years


Out of place

YOUR reporter Cathrina Hulse has her finger on the pulse in her article on the proposed Sainsbury’s superstore in Dorrige (Feb 6) but the headline was misleading.

Locals may back store plans but not in their present form. The proposed design is for a building of nearly 30,000sqft, over a third larger than the 22,000sqft Solihull Sainsbury’s. Concerns have ranged over traffic, parking, inadequate road system, noise, lack of public amenity space, location of the doctor’s surgery and relocation of existing shops. All these are related to the sheer scale of the building which leaves no space for the creation of a real village centre.

Jane Moss, via e-mail


He’s a marvel

REGARDING your article on Captain Leyland Harding. Being a neighbour of his I would call him a walking miracle.

I don’t know if your correspondent was aware that he was seriously ill a couple of years ago. But through his dogged determination or maybe his sheer cussedness, I don’t know about being Captain Leyland he is more like Captain Marvel.

R Startin, Coventry Road, Sheldon


Caught short

As I walked down to Hobs Moat shops, I noticed a man clearly visible even to motorists on Hobs Moat road urinating onto a tree. He had no concern for anyone.

I know the Solihull Council have saved money closing public toilets, though did not know we had tree toilets available. Well least he didn’t do a number two.

Peter via e-mail


Chatty drivers

I USE the bus service from Knowle to Solihull most weeks and I have had reason to complain about the inability of bus drivers to comply with the rule about not speaking to passengers standing at the front of the bus whilst it is in motion.

My concern is one of road safety as driving a bus should involve 100 per cent of the driver’s concentration. Indeed any standing passenger near the driver is the person most likely to be injured in the event of an accident.

I have completed complaint forms and yet bus drivers ignore this basic safety requirement. I am highlighting this problem and would like to ask whether my experience is one that applies to all bus routes within Solihull.

R King, Solihull Green Party


No better

I WAS a regular user of the old No 4 bus. I can sympathise with Cornelia Stephens of Witherbrook Road, Baxters Green (Letters). I can also sympathise with the two elderly ladies struggling to get their shopping trollies on the Grosvenor buses the other day.

Goodness knows how they managed when they had done their shopping. And also the ladies with pushchairs who can no longer use these buses.

I have been told that lowered platforms are not a legal requirement until 2015 so elderly and disabled people will not be able to use these buses. During the first week of the change two of these buses broke down, not a very good start for this so-called improved service.

I think that there were so many complaints about the unreliable No 4 that National Express decided to cut and run and let them have something to moan about. If I want to use this new service I have to change in Shirley. Although I am over 80 I have decided to carry on using the No 5 and then walk. I can only suggest to Ms Stephens that if she is able to walk to the Stratford Road she could catch the No 5 there.

Grosvenor buses are very clean and the drivers are polite but this is not the service we hoped for and is no way an improvement.

A disillusioned bus user, Hall Green


Too soft

WE are quite disappointed at your reporting of the new S3 bus service for Hockley Heath. It is clearly a total fiasco yet you seem to meekly take whatever the councillors and Centro tell you. Their own statement to you says in one part they will listen and then infers that people will get used to it in time - hardly a listening or caring situation.

There was and is no discussion with users.

The on-line timetable is still a disaster as are the times that buses run with no co-ordination with the local train services from Birmingham. We will soon give up on the bus and train and revert to car in order to get into Birmingham with some degree of certainty.

The elderly continue to be penalised as the nearest bus to 9.30am does not allow them to to use their passes. I note here that holders of such passes in Scotland are not so hindered in their travel.

Bernard Riches, via e-mail


Cost cutters

WE regularly use the four times per hour 40A and 40C bus services from Solihull to visit friends in Knowle.

When the bus fails to turn up - quite often - you only have to wait 15 minutes for the next one. The ‘improved service’ reduces this from four to two per hour.

At the recent council transport committee meeting the representative from National Express said if we have to wait half an hour in the rain and cold we can complain. Small comfort!

The reason for the reduced service is Solihull MBC’s cost-cutting exercise to get folk off the buses and into cars.

Otherwise why reduce the service?

The cost of the reorganisation would pay for extra buses.

R Sayer, Solihull


Down our road

WE have lived in Monastery Drive for nearly 40 years and have been quite astonished to see that we now have buses running along our very narrow and quiet residential road.

I have written to the two councillors who I have been told were responsible but as yet I have not received a reply. I have e-mailed Centro to say how very upset we are.

How many other residents in Monastery Drive are unhappy about this. We live on a dangerous bend at the bottom of the hill and there have been several incidents of near misses, where squealing of brakes has alerted us to this problem.

From a retired and very upset Solihull resident


Pea soupers

REGARDING the letter about the buses by Ann Turner of Neville Road, Shirley (Solihull News).

I spent a few years as a driver for Midland Red at Digbeth Garage in the 1950s. Most of the double and single decker buses had doors that were operated by the driver. To my knowledge, only six were back open-platform and they were old Daimlers. In 1953-1955 Midland Red purchased 100 double decker Leyland buses (all with doors) - 30 of which came to Digbeth Garage.

In what we called split shifts, double decker buses were used in the rush hours. Some of these were front-end double deckers converted from petrol to diesel, where the passengers boarded and alighted at the front of the bus.

In respect of no buses running because of bad weather, Midland Red never took off buses for that reason. If a driver rang in because of bad weather, eg pea-souper fog, deep snow, ice etc, the garage would not say bring the bus back in. The decision was up to the driver.

To give you some idea, I was due to make the 6pm 182 bus to Dorridge on a very bad night. I eventually left the Bull Ring at 8.30pm and drove as far as St Margaret’s Church in Olton. The time was around 10.30pm by then. Both the conductress and myself had had enough as she had walked in front of the bus from Tyseley to Olton Hollow. The passengers were very grateful that we had got them that far and to show their appreciation they had a collection for us.

The only reason buses did not sometimes run was a shortage of drivers or conductors. If Ann would like to check the Birmingham Mail records during the 1950s, she would see that a driver due in from Shrewsbury at 9.30pm actually arrived at Digbeth at around 4am due to a pea-souper fog!

Incidentally, the 154 was a 20-minute service. I hope this letter helps to clarify a few facts.

An ex-Midland Red bus driver


A proud mum

I THOUGHT you might like to hear some good news for a change concerning young adults. Whilst my son Neil was on holiday in Barbados this January he was sitting on the beach quietly watching a windsurfer, when suddenly a wave caught the windsurfer, threw him off and the board came down and landed on his head, knocking him out.

My son witnessed this and rushed into the sea, swam out, retrieved the unconscious man and swam back with him.

After the swim back my son was exhausted but noticed the man was motionless so he started CPR on him, to which he responded and was taken to hospital where he made a full recovery.

Had it not been for my brave son and the first aid course he had done, the gentleman may not have survived. I believe the man concerned came from the Lichfield area. Oh did I mention my son is only 19. Am I proud of him? Yes!

G Cameron, a very proud mother, Shirley


UN ignored

I WOULD like to refer to the rather intemperate letter from your correspondent G Stone on the subject of Palestine/Israel.

Mr Stone appears to take no account of the historical context in his discussion of the conflict in the Middle East.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 imposed an obligation on the Western Powers to take account of the interests of the indigenous population of Palestine when establishing a homeland for the Jewish people. Down the years, various United Nations’ resolutions have reinforced the original intentions. All have been ignored by the Israeli government.

In fact, settlements have continued to encroach on Palestine land. All these grievances, plus a devastating bombardment, injuring and killing many hundreds of civilians, gives credence to a fundamentalist organisation like Hamas. The Western Powers are handicapped in this criticism of Israel by the terrible legacy of the Holocaust which brings about the inevitable cry of ‘antisemitism’.

My last point is to respond to Mr Stone’s claim of bombs and rockets used by the Palestinians. Is there not an equal obligation on the West to put an embargo on the arms exported to Israel?

Brian, Oxford Road, Acocks Green


Cancer cure

HOW right Leonard Rosten is, Israel has been and continues to be the source of many technological advances, and yet all we hear about is the plight of the poor Palestinians. Of course the Israelis are defensive and are attempting to protect themselves.

I travel to Israel a minimum of twice per year and I have seen first hand the damage the rockets from Lebanon did in Haifa, and are doing currently.

It is no fun to be searched at every restaurant and shopping mall, but this is the price Israelis pay for their security.

You may wonder why I travel to Israel. Well, apart from having some very significant customers in the electronics and telecommunications industry I am working with an Israeli company that has developed a non-invasive, chemical and radiation-free based cancer cure system that is in use today in 50 hospitals around the world. It is in the trial stage, but will be in production in the foreseeable future. It is currently in use curing breast, bone, liver and kidney cancer.

So you see, Israel doesn’t only spend time on warfare, they have brought us many advances in science, medicine and electronics.

Nic Houslip, Swinbrook Way, Shirley


Point taken

I AM indebted to Leonard Rosten of Solihull for putting me straight on the medical and technological wonders of Israel.

Never again shall I raise my voice in criticism of such a progrssive nation as they bomb into oblivion hundreds of men women and children whose only desire is to return to their homeland.

R Wilson, Olton


Iron in the soul

I’M a strong New Labour opponent to right wing ex-Elmdon Tory councillor John Bramham. Even so, we are good ex-Royal Navy friends and he did a fine job for his ward, as do most other hard-working, often unappreciated representatives. We were all sorry when his wife died last year.

Sadly John deserved the reprimands by several readers who deplore his unpleasant public attack on Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt. That was just because her December leaflet included an innocent non-political wish for Happy Christmas, whilst also recognising 2009 as a tough year for everyone, but not to lose courage and hope for light at the end of a dark tunnel.

The caring Labour Government is saying the same, whilst (in contrast to the Tories) actively trying to mitigate the worst effects, mainly caused by blind Tory style flawed capitalism, which in future needs firm global regulation, without stifling sensible initiative.

Lorely and I always exchange Christmas cards and her choice this year was ‘Old Parliament’ - very apt. She deals promptly, courteously and efficiently with my requests, so I have no complaints.

I fear a little ‘iron’ has crept into John’s bitter soul and needs curing. He should ponder why his was the only Tory council seat lost last May, before he seeks re-election.

Don Bargery, Solihull


Thank you

WE would like to thank relatives and friends who donated £140 to Solihull Carers’ Centre at our son Paul’s funeral on January 30. This will supplement their help to carers and disabled people.

Joyce and Don Bargery, Solihull


Joint venture

ARE readers aware of the Marks and Spencer/Oxfam clothes exchange scheme?

Thanks to the generosity of M&S, anyone who brings a donation of M&S clothing to our shop receives a £5 voucher for this store.

The scheme has now been operating for a year and it is estimated that it has brought in an extra 1.4 million items of clothing and raised £1.7 million in extra sales, which is enough to provide six months worth of emergency food to over 80,000 people in Kenya or buy 68,000 goats.

Celia Cox, member of the volunteer team at Acocks Green Oxfam shop


Stand up Brown

As the biggest shareholder in several major banks, it is about time the Government stood up to those banks who are rewarding their top bosses with large bonuses. How can those bankers be rewarded for absolute failure and the Government, who largely runs them, do nothing? Even the USA has now put a limit on bank bosses salaries of failing banks, and at 500,000 dollars per year, that’s still not a bad income.

At this time, sensible banks would be safeguarding the jobs of their front line employees and financing the rebuilding of their company to give it a future. If any bank were to award bonuses at this time, it should be the Co-op Bank and Building Societies such as the Nationwide who have lent responsibly and not been the cause of this credit crunch.

Felicity Norman

Green Party European Election Candidate


Come on Lorely

IF I had a better command of the English language I could probably find a better word for our local MP Lorely Burt other than hypocrite.

I wrote to her last year asking which side of the fence she stood regarding the green space at Sharmans Cross Road, where she is seen at most home games watching the Bees.

I still haven’t had a reply from her! Oak Moor developers are hoping to build houses and apartments on this excellent playing facility.

Is it not time for Lorely Burt to get off the fence and do what she is preaching - save our green spaces.

Wendy Talbot, Whitefields Road, Solihull


Hung out to dry

NOBODY cares if you are made redundant or you have the worse experience of a company taking over another company.

My husband and I have experienced this and it affects you emotionally.

For example, the routine you had for years is lost, you no longer see people you have worked with and of course there are the financial problems.

We both worked for big companies that no longer exist - both very famous names.

We had bills to pay like everyone else, so we just got on with it. Obviously you have your memories, good and bad. A colleague may have got on your nerves in your old job but a lot of people now would love to hear that irritating person over and over again if they could have their old job back.

Mrs H Bitt, Hall Green


On the ball

I FIND it very interesting that you have published the letters condemning me for making a lawful protest and not one supporting me. But fortunately I have become quite good at noticing apathy so I understand fully.

Ray Dyke, Leafield Road, Solihull


Pet cheer

ANIMAL Allsorts would like to thank their supporters for all the help given to them in 2008.

We were pleasantly surprised recently when the owner of ‘Quids In’ in Arrans Way knocked at the door of the charity.

He promised he would support the charity, and then gave me a cheque for £165, and also a discount on the food we purchased. We hope that as a way to show our thanks people will support him through 2009.

Also thank you to Roger who works at Pets’ World, 32 St John’s Way in Knowle who held a collection for us, and to the rest of the staff. If anyone can donate dog leads, collars and of course dog blankets please call Theresa on 0121 628 9825 or Christine on 0121 681 5938.

Theresa and Christine, Animal Allsorts


Join up

I AM appealing to any ex-Wrens in the Solihull area to join the Women’s Royal Naval Association, which holds a monthly meeting at the Nautical Club, Bishopgate Street, Birmingham. If you have served in the WRNS - wartime or peacetime - the association needs you to come along once a month.

So if you miss the companionship of service life and want to help by increasing our numbers, contact our secretary Mrs Valerie McMinn, 8 Laurence Grove, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton or call 01902 741616 or give me a call on 0121 603 5290 for a chat.

Ruth Dunstan, ex-leading Wren, WRNS


Sleigh joy

THE Colonel Edward Wilson Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes would like to thank all the readers who kindly made donations to their Santa Sledge.

We are pleased to say that, thanks to your generosity, the Lodge was able to donate £3,500 to local charities.

Arthur Brill, Lodge Secretary


Give us our bin

I READ with interest the letters regarding the lack of grit bins.

When my husband and I moved into our road, a cul-de-sac, 35 years ago we had a grit bin at the end of it.

With all this snow recently it brought to the minds of us both the time about 20 years ago when we had a heavy fall of snow and all of the neighbours came out and cleared all the snow away and gritted it using the grit from the bin.

Twice in the last couple of weeks our road has been like a skating rink and entering and leaving it would have been made so much easier if we still had the grit bin.

I don’t remember when or how the decision was made to remove it but I believe it was due to it being tipped over frequently or perhaps it was one of the council cut backs.

We would like to have our grit bin back if it’s at all possible. We’re not asking the council to grit the road for us as we would do it ourselves!

Gill Manning, Smith’s Wood


Running riot

I TOO would like to comment on the misery caused by gangs of children/youths during the snowy weather (Letters).

We too have had to endure our windows being pelted by snowballs, our cars being targeted and yobs running all over our property.

When we have challenged them all we hear is that they have a right to do what they like. What about our right to enjoy a peaceful life?

Whilst walking along the Monkspath Hall Road I saw traffic having to run the gauntlet of a gang of at least a dozen youths throwing snowballs at them. I pointed out the danger they were causing and for my trouble I then got pelted by them.

Surely the time has come to redress the balance of ‘children’s’ freedom against the misery caused by their actions.

S Roberts, Solihull


Lay off schools

I AM writing in response to Rosemary Worsley’s letter (Feb 6). Ms Worsley heavily criticised the local schools for their decision to shut over the past week due to the snow and blamed this for the unruly behaviour displayed by some children.

Over the past week schools and teachers have been once again the subject of criticism.

I would like to point out that it is not just the decision of head teachers to shut schools due to bad weather but often the decision of the LEA as a whole.

The decision is not based on whether teachers can ‘get to their places of work’ but whether the journey to school and the campus itself are safe for the students.

Schools are now under further pressure to close due to the fear of being sued by parents if their child was to have an accident on the way to or at school due to ice or snow.

As for the snowballs thrown at Ms Worsley’s house, this is a situation which not only needs to be addressed by local schools but also, more importantly, by local parents.

Name and address supplied



ISN’T it amazing how this week’s severe weather conditions brought out the best and worst in everyone. Well done to all those who managed to carry on working through it all, travelling in dangerous conditions but still managing to arrive at work keeping the economy going, whatever difficulties were thrown at them.

However, the same can not be said for teachers who seemed to have the whole week off! Why?

The good thing to come out of this was that the school children had a whale of a time in the snow. Did anyone else see the very clever ice sculpture on the Monkspath Hall Road on Tuesday? It was a very well proportioned sculpture, which must have provided hours of fun whilst it was being built.

What a pity then that the council saw fit to employ two men in a lorry to knock the whole thing down the very next day, on the same day that our rubbish bags were left uncollected for the whole week.

Talk about getting priorities right!

A Cox, Solihull



TAX need not be taxing, unless of course it’s motor tax. Having just received our renewal reminder we note that if we pay by credit or debit card we also pay a fee of £2.50 for the privilege.

Once again this is another blatant example of this government fleecing the over-taxed motorist. As pensioners we rely on our car to get us to the shops etc, and as our savings no longer pay virtually any interest we feel this is another stealth tax. How about something coming the other way, ie half price road tax for the over 70s. One wonders what this government will come up with next. Sir Alan Sugar’s comment comes to mind - “You lot haven’t got a bl***y clue.”

Two of many disheartened pensioners, Castle Bromwich


So unfair

PENSIONERS are sick and tired of seeing their efforts frittered away by greed, self-indulgence, reward for outrageous behaviour, tax havens for the pampered ultra-rich, whilst the pensioner is being paid a pittance in return for life-long contributions. We demand a fair share of this country’s wealth because we have earned it!

We have seen executives and business companies gloat over ever-increasing profits and evading their due taxation by using tax havens and bankers still wanting their exorbitant bonuses - even today!

The differential in MP salary compared to a single state pension was £21,840 in 1989/90. Now the differential is £57,104 plus gold-plated pension, plus expenses, plus the infamous London Living Allowance in 2008/09. These figures say it all.

Josie Herbert, chairman, Solihull Pensioners’ Convention



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