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Trolley rip off

WE returned from holiday via Birmingham Airport yesterday.. As if the £1 drop off fee wasn’t enough they are now charging a non-refundable £1 for a luggage trolley.

WE returned from holiday via Birmingham Airport yesterday.. As if the £1 drop off fee wasn’t enough they are now charging a non-refundable £1 for a luggage trolley.

The taxi driver also informed us that the airport had now instructed all taxis to add a £2 levy to the fare on behalf of the airport for all journeys, which was indicated on his meter. So now they are using taxis as tax collectors.

So an extra £5 was added for using the airport. Manchester and Heathrow do not charge for drop offs (which are right outside the terminal entrance) or for trolleys. Are they trying to price themselves out of the market?

Janet Kilminster, via e-mail


Selfish lot

READING in the Solihull News of the mother with the disabled child I have every sympathy with her. Yes I think we are a selfish lazy nation.

Being a newly acquired badge holder but only an ageing OAP it is really difficult to find a disabled bay empty. May I suggest Emma try Morrisons in Shirley which has plenty of bays.

Name and address supplied


Death wish

WHEN I die I would like my ashes scattered on the mother and baby car parking spaces in Tesco’s, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. I’ve never managed to bag a space in life but it would be satisfying to know that in death I would have permanently staked my claim.

Rebecca Halil, Union Road


Worker writes

I HAVE just come across a few complaints regarding the children and disabled parking. Although I sense the majority of complaints have come from the larger store, we have similar issues at the store I work at.

There are a number of people out there who are selfish and impatient, and will happily park in these spaces regardless as to who might need them.

As a Tesco employee I personally try my hardest to stop this from happening. We have security that monitors the bays and warnings are posted on the car windows.

I and my colleagues will always announce their car registration, bearing in mind these people are not bothered in the slightest who they might be affecting by parking in the bay in the first place.

So they more than happily ignore our request to remove the car. I will always try my hardest to help any customer out and stop this from happening and I feel I can also speak for my colleagues. I feel it’s a shame so many people are ignorant and selfish.

Name and address supplied


Clean Green

WITH the big three parties and UKIP mired in the expenses scandal and the racist BNP to choose between, I can understand why many West Midlands voters are considering staying at home on June 4 for the European election.

But not all politicians just look after themselves and ignore our children’s future. A vote for the same old parties will result in the same old politicians but there is a refreshing, positive alternative.

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas is ranked the highest in the Open Europe think tank league table of MEPs on expenses, reform and transparency in the European Parliament. With a YouGov poll suggesting 34 per cent considering voting Green at the European election on June 4, we could see some interesting results.

Felicity Norman, Green Party European Election candidate for the West Midlands


Poor show

IT was no surprise to read that our Hall Green MP, Steve McCabe, is another disgraced MP with his nose in the Westminster trough. He over-claimed £4,059 for capital repayments on his mortgage, which is expressely forbidden, instead of the interest repayments on the loan.

Our MP has a flat in Walworth, south London, which he shares with Fiona Gordon, who was Gordon Brown’s political secretary, as well as a Birmingham home which he purchased for £57,000 in 2000.

Between 2004 and 2008, Mr McCabe claimed £54,699 in expenses for his second home, on which he has a £60,000 mortage. A contrite Mr McCabe, on being found out, said, “I did make an error in my claim and, as the letter from the fees office shows, this money was repaid in a deduction from my next claim.” Apparently, in MP speak, that makes it all all right then Mr McCabe?

This is the same Steve McCabe that informed the Evening Mail and Birmingham Post he was “too busy” with Parliamentary business to return to Birmingham to attend the funeral of his murdered soldier constituent, Sapper Mark Quincey. This Westminster coterie really beggar all reasonal belief.

Mike Kelly, Kings Heath


Play fair

WHILE the recent disclosures concerning MPs’ expenses are shocking and have confirmed that nothing but a root and branch reform will suffice, at the same time it was significant that your correspondents Alex Erskine and Josie Herbert (letters, May 22) wasted no time in using the opportunity to besmirch virtually the whole contingent of MEPs who represent the 27 member states.

Your intrepid correspondents still insist the EU is ‘undemocratic’ but surely by now they must realise that since its inception the European Union has only allowed representative democracies to join as full members. Spain and Portugal gained entry only after the end of the reign of Franco and Salazer, while the countries of eastern Europe from the Balkans to the Baltic could only become members after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Josie Herbert concludes her letter with “we could do better by trading within Europe but not being ruled by the EU” - yet it seems to have escaped her that we are no more ruled over by Brussels than by any other member state in the union and perhaps Josie will recall that when the original ‘six’ was established the then British government set about forming the European Free Trade area which proved to be an inadequate alternative and which was why Britain applied to join the European Union twice before getting membership.

Graham Rea, Queens Road, Yardley


Please knock

WELL it’s happening again. Voting day is very close and not one of the local candidates or representatives are showing their faces but they will all expect us to go out and vote for them.

I for one won’t be putting my cross on any paper for someone I know nothing about. Why oh why don’t they make the effort to call on households like local MPs used to years ago? At least if you speak to someone you can judge them better than just reading a slip of paper with a name on it and the name of the party they represent. They all need to get a grip if they want a public vote.

Mrs W Palmer, Sandfield Close, Shirley


Wandering cat

ON Monday, May 18 a young female black and white cat was found outside the doctors’ surgery at 308 Blossomfield Road. For over three hours she kept trying to enter the building and persistently sought the attention of passersby.

A neighbour on Charles Road was concerned that she appeared to be disorientated and summoned my help. I took the cat into our home. We could not ascertain her owners as she was not wearing a collar and had not been micro-chipped. She is in very good condition, house trained, and enjoys affectionate contact with people.

As is recommended in such cases, I kept her indoors and put on her a collar with our address and phone number. On Sunday, May 24 she managed to get out but came back after a couple of hours. Encouraged by this sign of bonding, I let her out at 7.30am on Bank Holiday Monday, thinking she would continue to explore our own and neighbouring gardens and return again in due course.

However, at 11am my partner saw her in Longmore Road near the junction with Fielden Close but could not detain her.

She had travelled over half a mile in three hours – a long way for a cat to roam. Is she trying to return to her real home or wandering randomly? She is obviously not used to living rough and will – I believe – seek contact with people. If she remains in the quiet residential roads of east Shirley, she is unlike to come to harm, but I am concerned to know her fate. We are willing to adopt her, but perhaps she is not willing to adopt us as we have two other cats.

If she has found her way into another home, I should be grateful to be informed by a phone call to the number on her collar.

Martin Stafford, via e-mail


Bluebell magic

THE Haimes family at Yew Tree Farm, Wootton Wawen would like to thank everyone who came and supported our Spectacular Bluebell Walk last Bank Holiday Weekend. The total raised was a record-breaking year for us and we were able to hand over to Macmillan Cancer Support, a grand total of £14,600. The weekend was a great success, nobody got too wet, the Bluebells were just at their peak, and several lucky people got to hear the cuckoo!

Jo, via e-mail


First class result

AT a time when teenagers seem to be constantly criticised I would like to congratulate the members of 492 (Solihull) Air Training Corps for their success in the recent Wing Athletics tournament.

Between them they achieved first places in Intermediate Boys, Overall Boys and Senior Girls and shared first place in Junior Boys with another squadron together with second places in the Senior Boys and the Overall Girls. For more information about the opportunities from the Air Training Corps please visit

John Pook, committee chairman, 492 (Solihull) Air Training Corps


Just the ticket

I OFTEN see our bus services here in Solihull receiving negative headlines and comments in the media. However I would like to praise one of our local operators.

AM PM Travel has started running a regular, cheap bus service on the No 6 route from Solihull into Birmingham. Not only do I find buses to be immaculate, but the drivers are friendly, wait for us to sit down and, more importantly, they are polite. I am a regular bus user. They provide a lifeline for so many people so it is encouraging to see one company doing all the right things.

Mrs Debbie Stokes, Touchwood Hall Close, Solihull


A perfect God

RE- the letter from Steve Hall (May 22). Mr Tim Drakeford and I worship the same God and have the same faith, there is no question about this.

I read the same Bible as Tim, but when I read it I never deviate from what the Bible tells me. The reason I was at odds with Mr Drakeford was that he was mixing Bible teachings with his own ideas. This doesn’t work. One thing you should realise Steve and Tim is that God is timeless, God is perfect, God is love, God gave the law to Moses and that law has never become old fashioned and should still be applied today. You can’t contradict anything God created, from the beginning of time to the present.

Steve, in my letter of May 15 I was saying why dwell on years gone by - wars, strikes, low wages etc. As for Faith Matters as a column, it’s brilliant. Steve, we are discussing Christianity not religion. Bad people use religion as a vehicle to do wicked things. How can you interpret for Faith Matters that a man who decorates and paints is the same as a painter and decorator. They are the same. No you see there you go again. When we read the Bible there is only one interpretation. When Muslims read the Quran there is only one interpretation (but we won’t go there). If we do we will have two million complaints next week. In John 14 v 34, Christ gave us a new commandment, that you love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you.

P Thomas, Baxters Road, Shirley


Church missed

I HAVE been very interested in your series of articles on local areas in the Homeseeker supplement.

The article on Hockley Heath was very well presented but there was a significant omission. Reference was made to there being a Baptist church in Hockley Heath but no mention of the original Baptist church building - Christ Church - which is a listed building now under the care of the Historic Chapels Trust. That building too was financed by George Frederick Muntz and is a unique example of a Non-Conformist Estate Chapel.

Trevor Richmond, Shirley


Positive impact

I HAVE to disagree with RAC Gardiner about the success of the active traffic management on the M42.

I too was dubious about it at first but I have seen a positive impact on the flow of traffic along the section I drive on regularly.

It used to take me 30 minutes to do one junction sometimes and it now flows freely most of the time - slowly but it moves!

However, I think the variable speed limits should just be used at busy times - it seems to be enforced even when the motorway is quiet, which I admit is annoying! I wish this kind of system could be introduced on the M6 at busy periods too!

Joanne Jennings, Banbrook Close, Solihull


A sorry tale

THE more you read about MPs’ expenses the more you just despair at what our MPs have done to our democracy. This isn’t just about their greed and their pettiness, this is about the way they went about syphoning off the system, and trying to cover their tracks in secrecy. Every one of them has either conspired or participated in this disgraceful abuse of privilege, while passing laws for us and exemptions for them. And sorry just doesn’t cut it.

ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Road, Yardley Wood


Best of both worlds

IN answer to Stephen Holt, whose job it is to promote cycling, seemingly at any cost, (Letters) Arden schoolchildren do not want to “get to school three times faster”.

They choose to walk so that they can chat, catch up on last night’s gossip and cement friendships that, round here at least, last a lifetime. Something to be valued. After school is the time for cycling - off with school uniforms, on with the jeans and T shirts and away on your bike. These children have organised for themselves the very best of both worlds.

An ongoing petition has shown that 90 per cent of Knowle residents do not want cycle paths through the park. They are emphatic that there is no need and that it would be a waste of £100,000.

Despite this, the council seems determined to go ahead - another example of our elected representatives doing remarkably little to represent the people who elected them.

Currently, between six and ten children per day cycle through Knowle Park to Arden School.

Mr Holt’s 100 per cent target might look good but in reality it would be 20 bicycles at best.

Susan Whitehouse, long-time resident of Knowle


Costly parish tax

AFTER reading letters last week about the concerns of how our money is spent by MPs and MEPs I am trying to find the justification for the parish council’s increased charges for Cheswick Green of 30 per cent last year and a massive 45.3 per cent increase this year.

The parish council precept charge is in addition to Solihull MBC tax and those living within the SMBC are not affected.

Alterations to the parish areas this year has resulted in the formation of four new parishes each with a minimum of five councillors which must result in an increase in total costs for using at least 20 councillors instead of the original six. We are requested to vote on June 4.

Cheswick Green resident


Totally different

I HAVE just received a leaflet from the Lib Dems. In six places it wrongly states that UKIP and the Conservatives are working to the same end. UKIP wants us to leave the EU because membership does us no good and it costs us too much.

By contrast, David Cameron is an EU-enthusiast, William Hague states that “he would not contemplate leaving the EU”, and spokesman Christopher Beazley MEP told the EU Parliament that an incoming Tory government would ditch sterling and “apply to join the Eurozone, really quite soon”.

Obviously, UKIP has nothing to do with the Tories.

Josh O’Nyons, Monkspath


Calling all duffers

NOW as the Speaker of the Commons has decided to go, I wondered if there are any greedy, incompetent old duffers on our own council willing to do the decent thing?

You know who you are. We all do.

Mr Sawle, Whitefields Crescent, Solihull


Views matter

RESIDENTS in Balsall Common, Berkswell and the surrounding areas have known for a while that Solihull Care Trust intends to provide new facilities for GPs, other medical services, and social care staff.

Consultation is now in progress on a planning application for a site at Riddings Hill, near Berkswell Station.

The parish council wants to base its response on the views of as many people as possible, so a meeting has been arranged for Monday, June 1 in the Reading Rooms, Meriden Road, Berkswell. Discussions will start at 7.30pm, but we hope the plans will be available for study from 6.30pm.

This is a subject of high importance - everyone needs medical and social care at some stage, and this development will determine how it’s provided for at least the next 25 years.

But there are some contentious issues: the size of the proposed building and car park will result in the loss of green belt land on the edge of Balsall Common, and there are going to be winners and losers when it comes to accessibility and the environment.

Everyone’s opinion matters, so please come along to discuss the application.

If you can’t make it on Monday night, please give your views to your parish or borough councillor, or direct to the Planning Authority.

Richard Lloyd, chairman, Berkswell Parish Council


Worthy cause

IN response to the letter from Wendy Maggs (May 15) I would like to endorse the tribute paid to the Warwickshire and Northants Air Ambulance Service. It is now the busiest air ambulance service in the UK and only one of three such services to routinely carry a doctor on board.

They have absolutely no government funding and, given that corporate sponsorship has been hard hit in the current economic climate, we decided that the Dorridge Fun Run (June 7) would support them. If you would like to join in and or raise sponsorship etc log on to

Peter Marshall, chairman, Dorridge Fun Run


Keep it local

THERE have been letters from ‘Parkgate’ supporters recently (Solihull News), suggesting that because of the recession the development is more urgently needed to regenerate Shirley.

After careful reflection, I think the opposite is the case, as did members of Shirley Residents’ Association at their meeting on May 14. Putting aside the loss of parkland and the extra traffic, it is because of the recession that another one-stop superstore has the potential for an even greater negative impact on hard pressed independent shops.

Small independent shops are the lifeblood of our community. According to the Federation of Small Businesses (who are campaigning at present) they return over 50 per cent of their turnover back into the local economy.

The figure for supermarkets is only about five per cent.

If this development goes ahead, residents still think the winners will be Asda, the developers, and the council – not the people of Shirley or the local economy.

Richard Wise, vice-chairman, Shirley Residents’ Association


Woolies plea

REGARDING your article on the old Woolworths store site on the Stratford Road, Shirley and its potential as an indoor market. We are very interested in the site and was wondering if anyone knows who owns it and if it is going to be put up for sale. I have contacted all of the local estate agents but haven’t had any success.

Jayne Cox, Sandpiper Estates Ltd


No to machines

I WOULD like to say I think the new self-service kiosks in the libraries are a backward step and people I’ve spoken to, including library staff, agree with me. Machines can not replace friendly faces and what happens in a power cut? No books in or out presumably.

A disgruntled life-long library member


Happy traveller

HOW nice it is to travel on the single decker No 6 blue bus.

The drivers are all pleasant and friendly, the bus is clean, no cans rolling around and no food wrappers on the floor and how refreshing to travel without the sound of loud so-called music and the smell of drugs and rowdy youths.

Yes a much better experience. May the little No 6 continue to flourish.

A very satisfied passenger

I Payne, Blackford Road, Shirley


Just the job

I DON’T think Solihull MBC and their housing contractors get the praise they deserve.

As a council tenant, I for one would like to show my gratitude. In the last four years I have had a new kitchen fitted, double glazing, a new boiler, radiator update, insulation, rewiring, new fuse board, replacement facias and guttering.

A big thank you to Ray the fitter who worked so hard and well done Radway, you are doing a wonderful job. It is most appreciated.

J Page, Norgrave Road,




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