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White van fury

I WOULD like to know just what it takes, when you have the misfortune of living in Chelmsley Wood, to get a large white Transit van removed.

I WOULD like to know just what it takes, when you have the misfortune of living in Chelmsley Wood, to get a large white Transit van removed.

The said vehicle has been dumped almost opposite my house since before Christmas. It has an out-of-date tax disc and three flat tyres. It’s also parked half on the pavement and half on the road, causing an obstruction for everyone.

I’ve telephoned the police and visited the police station but they don’t want to know. They told me to phone Solihull Council which I did twice and again they said there was nothing they could do.

Due to this I’ve got everyone parking outside my house for days on end. Anything goes in Chelmsley. It certainly wouldn’t be allowed in Knowle or Berkswell.

Miss A Ellis, Woodclose Road, Chelmsley Wood

No stopping racers

YOU can never find a policeman when you need one. That is a common complaint.

Regularly between 11pm and midnight the boy racers line up on the Stratford Road between the traffic lights in Shirley and the Robin Hood island (Sunday night is particularly popular). They have a total disregard for the law. I don’t even think they are drunk. They are just doing what they enjoy doing best and that is racing - and there’s no one to stop them! They have no respect for the law because there’s no one there to enforce it.

So, if you like watching motor racing, you now know where you can watch it for free.

Chris Fowler, Sandy Hill Road, Shirley

Fat chance of Tory poll

SURELY Maggie Throup (News, May 1) does not really think that many people would believe the Conservative Party was serious when it called for a referendum on the EU Constitution? I would remind her that the Conservative Party has never given the country a referendum on anything when in government. In fact a Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath actually refused to hold a referendum before signing the Treaty of Rome in 1972.

PT Gaskin, Elmcroft Road, South Yardley

No to Lisbon vote

I NOTE that Conservative aspiring MP Maggie Throup, whose letters are usually so carefully composed, is shedding crocodile tears over the Government’s decision not to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

She appears to have conveniently forgotten that the Conservatives took the UK into Europe without a referendum in 1973 and did not offer the British people a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty provisions when they were in office again in 1992.

She also ignores her fellow party member, the eminent Tory shadow minister, Ken Clarke, who said recently that holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty would be ‘crackpot,’ ‘dotty’ and ‘absurd.’

Following the Irish ‘no’ vote, our local MP Lorely Burt called on EU leaders to go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative. Further to this, Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, has thrown his weight behind the UK holding an ‘in or out’ referendum on our membership of the EU, but regrettably, when Labour and the Conservatives had the chance to back this, they voted together to deny people a vote.

Lionel King, Chadwick End

Meet the MEPs

NICK Stephens (letters, May 1) asks for the local media to give the EU elections on June 4 some prominence. I second that and add that a husting will be held at 11am on May 27 with MEPs in attendance at the Solihull Methodist Church Hall. I would remind Nick Stevens that the Labour Government reneged on their manifesto promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty so are they as trustworthy as he wants us to believe?

Josie Herbert, chairman, Solihull Pensioners’ Convention

A real alternative

NICK Stephens accused me of fighting battles lost over 30 years ago (letters, May 1). Not so. In 1975 the EEC or Common Market was a purely trade agreement that involved no surrender of sovereignty to Brussels. Since then the EEC has mutated into the EU monster which dictates three-quarters of our laws. UKIP offers an alternative. Meanwhile, UKIP MEPs expose the waste, deceit and corruption endemic in the EU.

JR Nurcombe, Marcliff Crescent, Shirley

Come clean

I SEE that your new ‘pin up boy’, former MP David Jameson, is to be given a regular spot to put forward his Labour views. He tells us on page 36 of your last issue ‘How Europe has helped us’.

While some of his benefits may be true he makes no mention of the cost to the British taxpayer. According to Josie Herbert on page 13 the net cost is over £50 billion!

Just think how much pensions could increase if we did not have to subsidise the rest of Europe. I know that very many would prefer not to be in the European Club. But this Labour Government is too scared to give British citizens the chance to vote on membership. Come clean Mr Jameson, what do you say is the net cost?

Peter Handley, Riverside Drive, Solihull

Park dog

LAST Sunday afternoon I was playing with my two children in the park off Ulleries Road at around 2pm. A woman and her young daughter came into the gated play area with a dog on a lead.

After a few minutes I approached her and politely requested that she take the dog away from my children explaining that the play area was off limits to dogs.

She replied with a five-minute rant of foul language and personal abuse. She only left the park after I told her I would call the police. She walked away screaming abuse at me (I am apparently a “stuck-up Solihull bitch”) and threatening to “take me out”.

I think I speak for many when I say I am not anti-dog but I think that a children’s play area should be exactly that - for children not dogs.

I should add that at the park at Monkspath there is no gate on the play area and dogs are free to roam in and out of the children’s park.

Name supplied, Union Road, Shirley

Plannng fear

A Bill, called the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill, is currently passing through Parliament.

It will make changes to regional planning that could make it even harder for local people to engage in the planning process.

This is really serious as the Government currently has a target to build 3 million new homes by 2020.

With the current recession, the numbers of houses the Government wants to see won’t get built, and developers will only pick the cheapest and easiest sites to build on. With such high targets councils will be forced to let them build wherever they want, regardless of any negative social, economic or environmental impacts.

Changes need to be made to the Bill so people are guaranteed a chance to influence what development happens where they live. Go to to find out more.

M Martin , Old Warwick Road, Lapworth

Safety cycle

CYCLING or safety – don’t confuse the issues!

Residents, please be careful how you answer the questions on the proposed ‘Safer Routes’ scheme questionnaire that circulating around Knowle in May.

I live close to an entrance to Arden School, but our road was omitted in the consultation process for the initial ‘Safer Routes to Arden’ scheme back in December. Concerned by this I did my research. It emerged that the ‘Safer Routes’ was more about creating cycle paths than about actual recorded safety.

Presently at Arden school, around 80 per cent of children walk to and from school - which indicates a high per centage of children already taking exercise.

I was concerned that this scheme came under the guise of ‘Safer Routes’. In fact, there have been two petitions made by local people to the council to improve safety of children walking to schools in Knowle – for pedestrian crossings at Lodge Road and Hampton Lane. Both of these petitions were considered, but the roads were seen as ‘inappropriate’ for crossings.

What strikes me is that when funding is made available then planning gets rushed ahead, but when local people ask for measures, a lengthy process results.

But will this costly measure, estimated at around £208,000, actually encourage more children to cycle to school?

Interestingly, a transport assessment on Arden School carried out for the council in 2008 stated that “cycle access to the site is good so no further facilities are proposed for the area.”

J Royle, via e-mail

No secrets here

LORELY Burt’s comments about need for openness by the council (News, May 1) surely fall into the category of the ‘when did you stop beating your grandmother’ school of politics.

She knows full well that Solihull was voted by local people as one of the top councils for keeping its residents informed but the problem is that unlike her predecessor and Caroline Spelman MP, Ms Burt shows little interest in discussing issues with her local authority leadership.

It is a matter of regret that she declined my offer to arrange regular briefing meetings and prefers to conduct business through the media rather than face to face.

There is a world of difference between secrecy and the confidentiality relating to commercial contract negotiations required under the Act and recognised by Freedom of Information legislation.

In the case of proposed modifications to the Heart of Shirley regeneration contract there has been no secrecy and both the outgoing and incoming leaders of her political group were invited beforehand to a detailed briefing at which officers made clear the reason for their recommendation that the implications needed to be considered in private session.

Both were also invited to attend and raise questions at Cabinet and a press release was issued after the meeting giving information on some of the changes, and confirming that the final proposals will be publicly available and people able to comment or make representations ahead of consideration by the planning committee.

Finally I note that Ms Burt claims to have written to me regarding the revised scheme but to date I have heard nothing from her even though she has both my e-mail and home address.

Ken Meeson, Leader of Solihull Council

On yer bike, Knowle

I REALLY had to put pen to paper, whilst not being too critical. The reason being all the kerfuffle over the proposed cycle path for children in Knowle.

We all know that most people living in Knowle seem to think they live on another planet. Are they afraid that their little angels may find that they actually enjoy riding to school, a very healthy but to some a very outdated form of transport?

Or would they rather carry on into the next century with their big cars, ferrying their children to and fro, polluting the atmosphere even more?

Residents are often critical of Solihull Council but I do feel the residents of Knowle are rather doing our council an injustice when, after all, they are trying to give the children a safer, healthier, fun route to school. So come on all you fuddyduddies - buy your kids a bike and while you are at it, get one yourself. Who knows you may well enjoy it.

JD, Shirley

Sorely missed

I would like to pay a personal tribute to Rodney Pitham who died suddenly on April 26. First and foremost Rodney loved his wife and family.

A strong Christian and a leading Freemason, he was also a man of many talents and interests - a good man who stood up for the things he believed in. He will be missed by all who knew him, and my thoughts and sympathy go out to his family.

Richard Wise

Olton Rd, Shirley

Light us all up

AS far away as Christmas is, the doom of gloom of Christmas light funding comes up again. Maybe the following thought might stir up the subject and help to introduce new ways of funding. Would any companies agree to funding a display if 50 per cent of it was a Christmas type advert for their products?

Mr I Cooke, Hall Green

Rough science

OVER the past few years there have been lots of articles and TV shows about climate change but very little about the real climate changes that happened long ago, ie:

1. What caused the climate to change and brought the Ice Age?

2. What did then cause the climate to warm up and melt the ice?

3. What has fascinated me is how many humans inhabited the earth at that time?

4. Today I have read there are around six to seven billion people. We are using a vast amount of oxygen in every breath we take. How is all the oxygen made?

5. If these people want to save the planet and help with their carbon footprint they should stop breathing out as from now.

D Bonham, Thelsford Way, Damsonwood

Dig in for Mac

DOES anyone have any garden or house plants they could donate for me to sell at my Macmillan Cancer Care coffee morning on September 25? I would also be grateful for any unwanted presents for the raffle. I can be contacted on 0121 711 1162.

Mrs Pauline Brisker, Redlands Road, Solihull

School thanks

I WOULD like to thank the staff at Sheldon Hall, especially the manager, for showing our Year 3 children around the restaurant and explaining the history of the hall.

We are working hard at Yorkswood to explore our local area and see how it has changed over the years. I would also like to thank Mr and Mrs Green for replying to the children’s letters and telling them about life in this area and how it has changed.

I would also like to thank Councillor Brendon Mulready for allowing our Year 3 children to visit the Kingshurst allotments in Fordbridge Road.

Helen Abbott and Angie Sammons, Yorkswood School

Here to help

WE were sorry to hear that M Sutcliffe experienced problems at the start of this year’s kerbside garden refuse collections (Letters, April 17).

We agreed with our contractor Enterprise that for the first round of collections, all garden refuse bins would be emptied regardless of their position to the roadside and that a notice would be attached to any bins found in the wrong place advising residents of the correct place for future collections.

This means that M Sutcliffe’s bin should have been emptied and we are sorry that this didn’t happen.

If M Sutcliffe would like to contact us on 0121 704 8000 and provide us with an address, we can look into the matter further.

Coun Mrs Kate Wild, Cabinet Member for Community Services and the Environment



Cathrina Hulse
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