Where has the money gone?

Written by David Parker

Tesco Car park by David Parker

Take a good look at the photograph above. Can you guess where this is, or more accurately was? If you use the Tesco car park at the Fox and Goose you are driving over what was once part of Brockhurst Road playing fields.

Conveniently overlooked in celebrations of the store’s first anniversary was the planning agreement that secured Tesco’s use of the land. Under a so-called Section 106 agreement with the City Council £600,000 was pledged by Tesco to meet their legal obligation to compensate for the loss of the playing field by funding new sporting pitches in the Hodge Hill area.

Three and a half years after Tesco secured planning permission, and a year and a half after the store’s opening, little progress has been made. As BBC news reports this is not an isolated case .

Birmingham has £1.5m unspent Section 106 money from agreements of this kind.

To avoid Hodge Hill being denied due recompense for the loss of precious playing field land the area’s elected representatives should ensure:

–       There is a clear commitment that the £600,000 will be spent in full in the Hodge Hill area.

–       That local people and organisations should have a say in how it is allocated.

–       That Tesco will not be allowed to renege on their legal obligations.

Hodge Hill cannot afford to allow funding of this scale to remain unspent.

Majid Mahmood wins it for Labour in Hodge Hill

The Labour Party Candidate Majid Mahmood was announced the winner of the Hodge Hill elections in the early hours of the morning.

Winning with a majority of  2386, Labour have swung the vote back for Hodge Hill this year with a huge 58.15%.

Liberal Democrats Candidate Gwyn Neilly took 23.09% of the poll and The Conservative Party Candidate Ash Zaman only 8.89%.

A total of 6807 residents turned out to vote this year in Hodge Hill at the Beaufort Social Club and votes were counted at Hodge Hill School. A full table of results are available here.

Poachers Pocket to re-open

Image by Carl Baker.

The Poachers Pocket, located in Shard End, is to re open on Friday 6th May at 6pm, offering North Indian food every Friday and Saturday evening, according to their flyer.

The newly refurbished restaurant will also be available to hire for weddings, parties and family and corporate events. According to the Poachers Pocket the dining hall will now seat over 90 people.

Their Food Bar, which will operate on a members only basis, has facilities such as a sports TV, board games for children, a football table, darts board and new food menu. The food hall will hold up to 50 people for events.

Residents in the local area that received a flyer about the opening can take advantage of one free glass of wine with their paid meal.

For more information contact 07956 957125

Labour Party Candidate Majid Mahmood

Labour Party Campaign leaflets have been pushed through the doors of Hodge Hill

Hodge Hill Labour Party Candidate Majid Mahmood has been campaigning around Hodge Hill for the fourth coming May 5th local elections.

Mahmood will be standing against The Conservative Party Candidate Ash Zaman, Liberal Democrats Candidate Gwyn Neilly, Green Party Candidate Helen Sauntson, Social Democratic Party Candidate Peter Frank Johnson and UKIP Candidate Adrian Duffen.

Residents may have noticed a surge in Labour campaign leaflets through their doors over the past couple of weeks, as one of Majid’s priorities was to reach all Hodge Hill residents with information.

Majid has been campaigning to stop travellers using the old Comet pub site, supporting local residents living around the Fox & Goose with their parking issues and tackling further parking and speeding issues around the new medical centre on The Firs.

“The campaign is going very strong, and do not have much time to relax,” says the Labour Party Candidate.

“I am already dealing with a number of cases ranging from anti social behaviour, rubbish, rights of way, and bus routes. Additionally I am attending a number of meetings to get to grips with problems affecting Hodge Hill.”

The 36 year old solicitor from Bromford Lane will be able to give B36Blogger a full interview following the election results.

Bank Holiday at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

'Easter Bonet' winners with the Mayor & Mayoress of Solihull- CB Hall Gardens Trust

The beautiful Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens played host to their ‘Easter Event’ this bank holiday weekend which proved to be a great success.

The sun was blazing on Saturday 23rd April as locals met to wander around the gardens, picnic in the shade and take part in the children’s activities provided.

The event included a ‘Festive Hunt’  and a children’s ‘Easter Hat Parade’ with children’s entertainer Ronnie Crackers perfoming. Children ran around excitedly looking for hidden clues around the gardens.

The Gardens also raised well needed funds by holding a raffle. The grand prize, however, was taken indoors in fear of melting. Those seeking more shade gathered in the coffee shop where volunteers served cake, tea and some well needed cold drinks.

Press Officer Graham High was very pleased with the day itself:

“I would just like to thank all attendees for their valued support, and it was great to see so many happy and smiling faces enjoying the day.”

View B36Bloggers snapshots of the event here:

Hodge Hill drug crime

In November last year, Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne talked of a persistant drug crime problem in the local area and efforts in place to attempt to control the problem.

Speaking of new initiatives, the local MP described plans for a ‘taking the ground’ scheme which intended to clean up the area in order to deter drug dealers from hanging around Hodge Hill.

However, five months on and West Midlands Police find that they are still carrying out drug searches accross Hodge Hill.

On 21st April @bhameastpolice announced just how many search warrants they had carried out in the area. :

“Our teams in Hodge Hill constituency have carried out 21 warrants (drugs and search warrants) since the start of April#serveprotectwmp

If you have any complaints of drug dealing in the local area, get in touch via our ‘contact’ page or leave a comment below.

Spring time at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

For those of you who aren’t able to make it there yourself, Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens have begun to put together slide show images. The first is a selection of images from the gardens in early spring, listen carefully and you will hear the birds whistling in the background.

Don’t forget Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens ‘Easter Event’. Saturday 23rd April- 1-4pm. Free car parking. Click here for more information. 

West Midlands Police ‘Tweeting’ live today

Five members of West Midlands Police press office are in Birmingham Magistrates Court today, tweeting live from the court rooms.

Starting from around 10 am, the tweets are planned to run throughout the morning. All tweets are tagged with the hash tag #wmpcts.

So far they have broadcasted live results of crimes associated with drugs, drink driving and theft. Click here to start following the live feed.

Castle Bromwich library introduces ‘Book Doctor’

Image by Jason Brackins

When was the last time you visited the library? Did you know that even if your local library doesn’t have the book you want you can still order it in?

Castle Bromwich library is the latest of  Solihull Council’s Libraries to take part in the Book Doctor scheme in a bid to get more people reading. The scheme aims to target people who haven’t read for a while or may be stuck on which book they should read next.

Book Doctor works by filling out an online form that analyses you reading interests, whether it is a short read or a large print book, the Book Doctor scheme aims to help a variety of book requests and needs.

But will it work with in the community? Local resident Jessica Hood says:

“When I’ve finished a book I’m often stuck as to which I should read next, so the scheme will really help with suggestions that suit my taste. Knowing that I can then borrow these books from my local library will save a lot of money.”

For more information about the scheme, please click here.

Royal Wedding fever hits Acorns

Acorns’ Castle Bromwich manager Gemma Key (centre) with volunteers Darren Hall and Bernadette Costello.

Royal Wedding fever made its way to Acorns, Castle Bromwich last week as staff members dressed in donated wedding gowns in a bid to encourage couples to buy donated dresses.

The Timberley Lane branch will be celebrating the Royal Wedding in style with its new dedicated bridal wear department that will help raise vital funds for life limited children at Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Couples spend thousands of pounds on their wedding so Acorns are encouraging people to save hundreds by buying donated dresses.

Acorns’ Castle Bromwich manager Gemma Key said:  “It helped people to realise that we had a bridal floor, and we had an exciting day wearing the gowns.  It felt like a real wedding.”

The day was said to be a success and attracted lots of attention from shoppers:

“Chocolates were on offer to all the customers everyone was in high spirits. Everyone was talking about it:  Customers loved our wedding floor and bought dresses. We had fantastic feedback: everyone loved the fact that we went all out to promote it. I want to thank all of our volunteers who dressed up – including the boys wore designer suits for the groom – and made the day successful.”

Acorns works to provide children with constant care by offering stasy at the hospices for short breaks, emergency and end-of-life care.  The community team give support to the family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Donations can be taken in Acorns stores from 9-5pm.

Click here to visit Acorns.