Monthly Archives: January 2008

Brum may escape worst of severe weather

uk_d2.gif Friday’s severe weather warning (strong gales) for areas marked in red

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning covering the whole of the UK for Friday and Saturday, forecasting that gale force winds will cause disruption. Snow showers are likely to arrive in Birmingham on Friday afternoon. More snow showers throughout Saturday morning will give way to brighter weather later in the weekend.


Help for Single Parents

Some parents are not aware that up to 80% of child care costs can be reclaimed in tax credits, according to a spokesperson from the Childcare Chat and Taster Team (CCTT) .

The CCTT is organising a Lone Parent Information Day on Wednesday 6th February between 10.00am and 3.00pm  at the Burlington Hotel, on New Street in Birmingham city centre.
Experts will be available to give advice on benefit calculations, applying for training or employment, career advice, education and health advice, and careers in the NHS.
There will be free entertainment for under-5’s including face-painting and storytelling and for parents pampering stalls including hand massage, and Indian head massage. Organisations attending the event include the Childcare Information Bureau, the debt advice team, tenancy support and local neighbourhood offices, adult education, the Child Support Agency, JobCentre Plus and staff from city children’s centres.

More  information on the Lone Parents Information Day is available from the ‘Childcare Chat and Taster’ team on 0121 464 8253.

165 Squadron Presentation Evening

pd1b.jpg   165 Squadron, Castle Vale’s Air Force Cadets, will be holding their Annual Presentation Evening at St Cuthbert’s Church, Castle Vale on Saturday 2nd February starting at 7pm.

Castle Vale has a proud tradition of RAF involvement. The estate is built on the site of an aircraft factory established in the first half of the 20th century, famous in particular for constructing and test flying spitfire aeroplanes used in World War II. Many of the names of roads on the estate have an aeronautical connection.

‘Single status’ dispute – City Responds to 5th Feb strike threat

Birmingham Council – along with all other councils, is trying to introduce work contracts that will give women the same pay as men for doing the same job. It’s referred to as ‘single status’. Very few disagree with the principle of equal pay. But  tensions are rising about how it will be implemented. Councils say they cannot afford to put everyone’s pay up to equalise levels; so some people are faced with a pay cut.

The dispute between Councils and Unions is likely to result in strike action by  council workers on Tuesday 5th February.

Birmingham Council has today issued its response to the strike threat. Councillor Rudge, Council Member for Equalities and Human Resources, said: “We really are saddened that the one million citizens of Birmingham may now be faced with industrial action by council workers, after unions received a vote in favour of striking. We must remember that more than three times as many of the council’s employees – 45% – are gaining in their salaries, compared to the 14% who are losing. Plus, staff will benefit from a shorter working week and up to ten days more holiday.”

Supporters of strike action maintain that some workers will be taking a pay cut of £3000 per year, and that many who are said to be gaining, are infact only getting a small increase in pay.

Parish Council did not have enough local support – Sion Simon MP

Below is an article written for Vale Mail by local MP Sion Simon, who was consulted by Parmjit Dhanda, Minister in the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government, about the setting up of a parish council in Castle Vale.

Sion Simon MP

sion-simon.jpg  This government has a genuine desire that neighbourhoods should, if they wish, have the power to create their own community or parish councils. There is not an inclination to impose parish councils on neighbourhoods, as some in Castle Vale had suspected might happen.

What is required is some degree of support for the idea. Not ridiculously overwhelming support, but enough support to indicate a level of desire and probable engagement. That is why the petition required to create a parish council is merely a stepping stone in the process. It won’t guarantee a parish council – it just guarantees the attention of the Secretary of State.

It would hardly be democratic if only ten percent of local people could impose on the rest of the community a body that would have its own tax raising powers. When Birmingham City Council conducted its own extensive consultation, the results did not indicate overwhelming support for the formation of a parish council; in fact the opposite was the case with only 75 in support of the proposal and over 600 against.

Castle Vale is the resounding success it is, not because of what the government has done to it, but because of what its own people have done for it. It’s what you do with a community that counts. That is why, ultimately, the decision about the parish council wasn’t really made by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The decision was actually made by the people of Castle Vale, whose voice has so often in the past proved to be the voice of reason. It is their voice that the government has chosen to listen to.


High Street apartment block -Planning Application turned down

The City Council has turned down a planning application for a three-storey building comprising 11 residential apartments in Reed Square. The application was turned down under delegated powers, meaning that it was handed over for decision to one of the council officers, the Director of Planning.

Castle Vale should hear in the next few days whether the same decision is taken, also under delegated powers, for the Farnborough Road soccer stadium development. Last Thursday Councillors delegated the decision to the Planning Officer following a hiccup with the Environment Agency’s request for a flood risk assessment.

Best bar none – Birmingham tops award for pretentiousness.

Pubs and clubs throughout the country are invited to compete for an award – entitled Best Bar None -, nicknamed the pub ‘Oscars’. But the Birmingham organisers are setting their entrants an extra task …….. landlords have to explain, in no more than 250 words, how their establishment contributes to Birmingham’s vision of being ‘ a global city with a local heart’.

Aside from that nonsensical piece of pretentious rubbish, the award is looking for pubs and clubs that provide a safe and enjoyable environment for customers, discourage binge-drinking and help to prevent alcohol related crime. Applicants will be assessed on door and security policies, first aid, how they deal with abusive customers and how they deal with alcohol related crime.

There are six categories: best city centre pub; best suburban pub; best city centre bar; best suburban bar; best nightclub; best hotel bar.