Archives for category: Solihull

A Bournville reader has drawn attention to the research findings revealed in a BBC programme.

The BBC’s Shared Data Unit, used freedom of information requests and Land Registry data to obtain information on 92,000 Right to Buy sales across England, Scotland and Wales recording an average of £69,000 each from the scheme since 2000, according to the Times. The biggest profits were in London, with buyers in Islington making almost £100,000 each on average.

From the data gathered, it was calculated that 140 tenants bought and resold their council homes within a month, generating a collective profit of £3 million or £21,000 each.

In one case, a former council tenant in Solihull purchased his/her council home for £8,000 and sold it for £285,000 nine days later. Did s/he and others pay back some or all of the discount they received – as those who sell within five years of purchasing are required to?

State of play until 2013: source, Ampp3d, a data-journalism website for Trinity Mirror 

In January 2017, Right to Buy was halted in Wales, as it was in Scotland in 2016 after 37 years.

The devolved administrations argued that its cost to the social housing supply has been too great. Despite central government pledges to replace homes sold through Right to Buy, most receipts have been returned to the Treasury rather than reinvested in affordable housing.

The Financial Times noted that some 40% of right-to-buy homes pass into the private rented sector, where they may continue to absorb government funds through housing benefit.

The Chartered Institute of Housing once again repeated its call for Right to Buy to be suspended in England.


Our reader commented that George Cadbury encountered similar profiteering in the early days of Bournville and set up the Bournville Village Trust to administer the project. See Bournville, Model Village to Garden Suburb, Harrison pp 44 Publisher Phillimore, ISBN 1 86077 117 3.

Extract from Management and Organisational Behaviour by Laurie J. Mullins 






A couple could face being separated after 67 years of marriage over a struggle to pay fees at their residential care home.

It is reported that Frank Springett, 91, and his wife Mary, 86, both have serious health problems. They lived independently in their own home until March when their family took the decision to move them into a care home due to their failing health. Mrs Springett has severe Alzheimer’s while her husband has arthritis and the muscle stiffness condition polymyalgia rheumatica and is almost totally deaf.

Their family says that Solihull council has offered to pay £500 a week towards Mrs Springett’s care but said her husband, a retired factory worker, was able to look after himself.

Their house in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, was sold for £156,000 to help meet care costs running at £8,000 a month.

Their funds are running low.

The couple’s daughter Joanne Downes, 57, said social services have told her and her brother Roderick that their parents would be moved to different homes. “We fear if they are torn apart the strain will kill them,” she told the Sunday People. “It would devastate my mother if my father was not with her, and vice versa.”

The family is taking the case to an ombudsman after three appeals to social services all said their parents should be separated.

Readers write:

  • I cannot believe that a responsible social services department would seriously contemplate separating a couple who have been married for 67 years without giving due weight to the likely consequences.
  • What happened to the right to family life?
  • That’s only allowed if you are an Islamic terrorist threatened with deportation.

The council will doubtless end-up spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds on legal fees, ‘defending’ their decision to tear this couple apart.


Peter Walker, genial chairman of the thriving Stirchley Neighbourhood Forum, alerts people in flood-affected areas to a forthcoming event for business owners or residents affected by the floods in May.

They are invited to attend the world’s largest flood expo on the 12th and 13th of September at the NEC. Tickets are free; more information here

The flood coordinator for Selly Park South (John Clayton) is alerting people in neighbouring flood-affected areas and we extend this invitation to people in Solihull, from Nethercote Gardens, Dickens Heath and other flood-prone areas near the rivers Cole and Blythe.

The Flood Expo is the world’s largest exhibition and conference designed to help flood professionals and property owners to discover the latest innovative products, services and strategies that transform the way flooding is predicted, prevented, and managed.

A copy of the digital show-guide will be emailed to you before the show with full details of the seminar timetable and show features.

Please note that the show is not open to the general public; no under 18s or students will be allowed into the event. Any visitors found selling to exhibitors or to other visitors will be required to leave.

This is just one example of the wealth of information circulated by Mr Walker, whose work is ably supported by his Vice Chair & planning officer – Sandra Cooper, Secretary – Rowena Evans, IT officer, Mick Jones and treasurer – Paula Aubrey.

Such volunteers set a standard that members of our local and national government should emulate.




In December last year it was reported that several of the brown recycling bins supplied to Solihull Council by Yorkshire manufacturer MGB Plastics were faulty. Many were prone to splitting, while several could not be lifted on to recycling lorries.

But this saga began as long ago as 2015 – reported by the Independent Councillor for Blythe Ward at the time, Linda Brown, whose bin had split.

In her Spotlight Council slot in the monthly Dickens Heath Directory (August 2015) she wrote that faulty brown wheelie bins were splitting at the side (right) due to a manufacturing fault of which the supplier was aware.  She also gave details of council contacts to report broken bins for replacement.

On 9th May Priscilla Taylor contacted the council to ask for a replacement brown bin.

  • She was told to expect to wait up to 20 working days but it still was not delivered.
  • She started calling regularly, asking when her bin would be replaced but was ‘fobbed off with a variety of excuses’.
  • On June 11 she was told that she would be on the “Priority” list.
  • She was then informed that her bin was replaced on June 13.
  • But her old bin still sits outside on the pavement.

Around 17,000 requests have been lodged for replacement recycling wheelie bins following splits and mounting rubbish. Residents have spoken out about severe backlogs of recyclable waste and bin men refusing to take collections.

Online reference ‘buried’ overnight

6th July

An online Google search using ‘mgb split bins’ (page 1) reveals no acknowledgement of this problem by the firm, which is seeking business with many local authorities, but newspaper reports of Solihull’s problem.

7th July

An online Google search using ‘mgb split bins’ (page 1) reveals no newspaper reports of Solihull’s problem. It is now necessary to know of its existence and search on ‘mgb split bins solihull’.’

Will local taxpayers be picking up the cost for distribution and disposal of faulty recycling bins or will Solihull Council require the suppliers of this unfit equipment to do so?





Solihull has been shaken by remarks made by Conservative councillors on Twitter. Details may be read in the Solihull Observer and the Birmingham Post

One councillor has been suspended by the Conservatives and a police investigation is underway.

The council’s Green party leader, Coun James Burn, has called on the council to take meaningful action to reassure residents, visitors and investors that the borough is welcoming of every member of the community. “The Conservatives and the council as a whole urgently need to take meaningful action to reassure residents, visitors and investors that Solihull welcomes every member of our community regardless of their background”.

A protest will take place on Tuesday 10th October from 4.30pm before the council meeting at 5.30pm at which the council will be asked to put on record that Solihull is a borough welcoming all and accepting all.




Time-pressed residents of Birmingham, Solihull, Cannock, Dudley, Coventry, Lichfield, Sandwell, South Staffs, Tamworth, Walsall and Wolverhampton who regularly scan their section of the Brummie site, appreciate the free service it gives, whatever their interests. Main news items covered, include a range of locally run websites, music and the arts, sport and business.

Links to them give those sites a wider readership than would otherwise have been possible. Until the final few months Mark was a helpful and courteous correspondent and this later lack of response was ascribed to pressure of other work, which involved travelling abroad. We now can see that there may have been health concerns claiming priority.

Three of many interests served: Our Birmingham, West Midlands Producers and Localise West Midlands thank him and hope that a way will be found to maintain the Brummie.





A volunteer with the project has drawn our attention to the visit of a group of teenagers from Chernobyl who will be welcomed to Solihull this summer for a four week recuperative holiday, organised by Chernobyl Children’s Project Solihull Group (CCP). This year’s hosting marks the 31st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

Youngsters aged between 13 and 15 from the CCP are in remission after treatment for brain tumours, leukemia, Hodgkins lymphoma, Wilm’s tumour, melanoma & neuroblastoma. They will travel from Belarus accompanied by a doctor and interpreters. While in the borough, fresh air and uncontaminated food will boost their damaged immune systems helping them to recover.

Each year a different group of children and accompanying adults are met at Manchester airport to stay for two weeks with host families and a further two weeks staying together in residential accommodation where local people volunteer to provide meals. Many trips and enjoyable activities have been planned for them. The children come from different areas and met for the first time recently at the Belarussian Embassy in Minsk, where they were granted visas to travel to the UK on the 29th July. They’ll be accompanied by interpreters Ira and Student Alina who will be returning to Solihull for a third time and this year they will be joined by first timer Doctor Tanya.

Last year they visited Barry Island

And Warwick Castle


This year CCP Solihull have received donations from many individuals, groups and companies; enabling us to bring the children to the UK. They have also held some successful fundraising events, including the recent Ladies Lunch which raised £2708. These gifts will not only bring the group to Solihull, but also improve the lives of disabled children and support cancer and hospice care in Belarus.

Anyone wishing to help with this year’s holiday, or wishing to make a donation, please contact Kath Ruane at 

Kath Ruane

Solihull Group Co-ordinator CCP (UK)








Learn more about renowned botanist world traveller Ernest Wilson, trained at Edgbaston Botanical Gardens, next Monday evening, at at Earlswood Village Hall, Valley Rd, Earlswood, Solihull B94 6BZ

Ann Turner will give a lively account of her extensive research into the life of plant collector Ernest Wilson, who lived in Shirley and was educated at Birmingham Municipal Technical School (now Aston University).

Her search began when she wondered Dove Tree Court retirement apartments in Shirley got its name.  Ernest Wilson who was sent to China to track down the rare Dove Tree, sometimes known as the Handkerchief Tree (below).

It took two years for Wilson to find one, and that was hanging over a cliff edge. When he was returning to England, with his specimens his boat was wrecked, but he managed to save this precious plant.

Finding that no-one she knew locally had heard of this remarkable man, she and her husband Malcolm embarked on a ‘wonderful journey’, completed only a couple of weeks ago after travelling to London and finding the house where Ernest Wilson lived with his family, while he was working at Kew Gardens.

A wide range of contacts made included contacts with the Arnold Arboretum in Boston USA (where all his records are kept), and Mount Royal cemetery, Montreal Canada (where he and his wife are buried).





The Powergen building, in Shirley Solihull, was vacated in 1995, when the council refused planning permission for the CEGB to extend this striking Madin building. It employed 1000 people and many shops closed due to this loss of trade.

Explore the remarkable interior of this building, immortalised unofficially by a group of young explorers who made a fascinating video, recorded on site. Here are three of the most striking photographs taken from that film: 




And last Thursday accomplished amateur photographers, Shirley’s Ann & Malcolm Turner, sent this photograph of the demolition process.

After years of neglect, demolition started, due to a decision taken by Solihull council, commercial partners of Asda.





On 12th May, the Chairman of the Dickens Heath Residents Association reports that the Planning Inspectorate has refused the landowner’s appeal against for permission to build a detached house in Rumbush Lane Coppice (B90).

Their decision follows the refusal, on 18th April, of an application to fell 31 trees in Rumbush Lane Coppice several protected by Tree Preservation Orders to make way for this building. The inspectorate noted that the local area has been subject to an extensive amount of built development including a large new residential area, some of which is still under construction, immediately to the west of the site. The site and the wooded area immediately to the north east therefore provides a pleasant verdant feature within an increasingly built-up area and a notable area of mature woodland in local views including along Rumbush Lane and the other nearby residential streets.

The local community campaigned hard for this outcome, backed by local residents’ groups, the Solihull Tree Wardens, Solihull MBC Tree Officer and Dickens Heath Parish Council. 

The Residents’ Association welcomes these decisions, which they expect will finally close down options for future development and fully reinforce the protected status of this important local coppice.