Blog

Earlier this week, local councillors and volunteers were out again with Waterside Care working to clean up the Ridgacre Canal.

Despite awful weather, 18 bags full of rubbish were collected. Councillor Paul Moore said "Our next project is to obtain use of a boat to help remove some of the litter from the canal with nets. We are also asking Centro if they are able to help clean the canal bank by their Black Lake Metro car park, which is too difficult for our volunteers to access."

waterside_care.jpg

Cleaning up the Canal

Earlier this week, local councillors and volunteers were out again with Waterside Care working to clean up the Ridgacre Canal. Despite awful weather, 18 bags full of rubbish were collected....

Council officials say they are keen to redevelop the rundown sites in Tividale and West Bromwich and boost the area for families.

Four sites will be demolished with new homes built in their place available to rent, reveals a report going before councillors next week.

The costs of the plans have yet to be revealed as a tendering process for the work is still to take place. But it is thought the scheme could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Three of the sites involved are based in the Tividale office, in Hilton Road, alongside the West Bromwich office, in Gladstone Street, and Hateley Heath office, in Monmouth Drive. These are currently sites where former housing offices stood.

A fourth site, in Ladbury Road, on the Yew Tree Estate, also has office buildings on it which were previously leased to children's charity Barnardo's until March 2014. 

Sandwell Council says it wants 27 new council homes on the land to re-invigorate the neighbourhoods.

Sandwell councillor Paul Moore, who is in charge of regeneration projects, said creating new homes is one of the 'top priorities' for the council.

"We have a continuing demand for affordable rented properties, particularly houses in Sandwell," he said. "Demolishing the existing and unwanted offices frees up the land so we can redevelop it by building much-needed council homes for local families.While under construction, these developments will also provide job and training opportunities, and when completed, improve the local area."

If plans are approved, the existing buildings will be demolished with the land redeveloped to provide new council homes for rent. The Hilton Road development in Tividale, Oldbury will have eight two-bedroom and two four-bedroom properties built on it. Gladstone Street in West Bromwich is set to have five two-bedroom bungalows with the Monmouth Drive site having four two-bedroom and two four-bedroom properties. The Ladbury Road site on the Yew Tree Estate will feature six two-bedroom properties. 

Work is scheduled to get underway in the summer of this year following a competitive tendering process to select a developer. Officials hope that the homes would be completed by April 2017 once the schemes get the go ahead. The proposals will be discussed by the council’s cabinet on Wednesday 9th March.

(Source: Express and Star, March 6th 2016)

New Homes for Sandwell

Council officials say they are keen to redevelop the rundown sites in Tividale and West Bromwich and boost the area for families. Four sites will be demolished with new homes...

A one-off sponsored reading of Bishop Francis Asbury’s journals is being staged to mark the 200 anniversary of his death – and Sandwell people are invited to join in the fun event.

The affectionate tribute – which will last several hours – will give a wonderful insight into Asbury’s character.

The non-stop reading, inspired by Asbury’s extensive writing, will help raise awareness of his amazing rise from humble origins in Hamstead to becoming one of America’s founding fathers.

Asbury is a hugely important figure in American history, but his fame and his origins are little known in the UK.

Money raised through the sponsored reading will go to the Mayor of Sandwell’s chosen charity, Acorns Children’s Hospice.

Bishop Asbury Cottage – Asbury’s boyhood home and now a small museum – is being opened especially for the occasion between 11am and 4pm on Thursday 31 March, the actual anniversary of his death.

Mayor Councillor Barbara Price will lead the reading, and Sandwell Museums Service staff are inviting local people to take part too.
The cottage, in Newton Lane, will also be opened up to the public on Sunday 3 April, 2pm to 5pm, and on Sunday 5 June, 2pm to 5pm, and again for heritage open days in September.

Jane Hanney, museums services manager, said: “This is an affectionate tribute to one of the area’s most famous sons – it’s incredible how well known Bishop Asbury is in America, while in the country of his birth, few people have heard of him.

“He wrote extensively – so we thought it only fitting to hold this fun, non-stop reading from his journals to give everyone a chance to find out more about the character of the man who helped spread the Christian gospel in the fledgling American nation.

“We hope people will drop in during the day to find out more about Bishop Asbury’s life, and invite anyone who’s interested in doing a reading to get in touch.”

Asbury, who also supported independence and spoke against slavery, has his own statue on the Capitol Hill in Washington DC, as well as in other places around the US.
Source: Sandwell Council Press Release

Sponsored Reading at Bishop Asbury Cottage

A one-off sponsored reading of Bishop Francis Asbury’s journals is being staged to mark the 200 anniversary of his death – and Sandwell people are invited to join in the...

Great Barr Observer - Tom Watson MP

5th February 2016

Ministers are expected to make an announcement any week now about whether to close Sandwell Magistrates’ Court following the outcome of a public consultation. 

I’ve opposed this rotten proposal since the government first published a plan to shut Sandwell and 13 other courts in the Midlands back in July 2015. If the closure goes ahead, we’ll be the only Black Country borough without a magistrates’ court, despite the fact we have nearly 320,000 residents in Sandwell. And 21 jobs could be lost.

We were promised a new court in West Bromwich a few years ago – a project which the coalition government cancelled in 2010 – but now it looks likely the only court we have in Sandwell will be shut. It just doesn’t add up.

I’ve also recently uncovered information that shows the government’s decision to cancel the new court in West Bromwich cost the taxpayer a staggering £3.8 million - £1.7 million for site clearance and associated fees and a further £2.1 million loss on disposal of the land. There’s been no apology from ministers about this colossal waste of public money.

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court is a modern purpose built court and was only opened in 1989. It has an excellent reputation for witness care and costly improvements have already been made to the courtrooms to allow for the installation of digital equipment.

The government’s central argument is that Sandwell Magistrates’ Court is underutilised. This is misleading. The number of courts permitted to sit has been steadily reduced by this government, work is being transferred to other courts and it’s taking far longer to get a court date due to their cuts.

The closure plans also fails to take into account the opening of West Midlands Police’s new 60-cell custody suite, just half a mile from the existing court. When the new custody suite opens the police will have to transport detainees further to other courts, leading to increased costs for a police force that is already over-stretched. The Ministry of Justice should have consulted the Home Office and West Midlands Police about this before proposing to close the court – and, as far as I'm aware, that hasn’t happened. 

Previous court closure programmes under the Coalition government were not very successful. Many unused buildings sat empty for months, costing millions of pounds to maintain. There’s no proposal for what will happen to the Sandwell site if it is closed, but the site is in a central location in the borough by the motorway.

Closing Sandwell Magistrates’ Court would be a mistake and it will make it harder for many people in our area to access the justice system. It’s not too late for ministers to make a U-turn and keep it open. 

Save Sandwell Magistrates' Court

Great Barr Observer - Tom Watson MP 5th February 2016 Ministers are expected to make an announcement any week now about whether to close Sandwell Magistrates’ Court following the outcome...

Cielo.jpg

As part of the Western Gateway redevelopment at Carters Green, supported by Tom Watson MP, a new social enterprise coffee shop has opened today.

Cielo aims to build better community cohesion and reduce loneliness by providing a space for the community to come together over coffee and all of the profits are going to support the amazing work the YMCA do with young people in the West Bromwich area.

Developed in partnership with Sandwell Council, the new development which houses the YMCA will provide homes for vulnerable people, the single homeless and young parents, cut rough sleeping, promote fitness and well-being in partnership with local health services and deliver training and employment programmes, including social enterprise opportunities.

Coffee for the Community in Central

As part of the Western Gateway redevelopment at Carters Green, supported by Tom Watson MP, a new social enterprise coffee shop has opened today. Cielo aims to build better community cohesion...

Black Country MP Tom Watson has called on the government to scrap its plan to close Sandwell Magistrates’ Court as ministers prepare to make a final announcement on its future within weeks.

Labour's deputy leader and MP for West Bromwich East has been highly critical of the plan and has previously called the proposal to close the court 'completely illogical'.

Mr Watson has also revealed that the government's previous decision to cancel a new court on Spon Lane in West Bromwich cost HM Courts & Tribunals Service £3.8 million. This consisted of £1.7 million for site clearance and professional fees and a further £2.1 million loss on disposal of the land.

Mr Watson said: "It is simply incredible that the government wasted £3.8 million on a new court for West Bromwich, which was never built. Now, they want to close the only court we have in the borough - denying victims and their families access to justice. It's an absolute disgrace."

After the 2010 General Election, the new Coalition Government announced that the new court in West Bromwich would not proceed. 

A public consultation on whether to close Sandwell Magistrates’ Court and 13 other courts in the Midlands was launched in July 2015. A final decision on its future is expected imminently. 

If the court does close it would make Sandwell the only Black Country borough without one and 21 jobs could also be lost.

MP calls on government to save Sandwell Magistrates' Court

Black Country MP Tom Watson has called on the government to scrap its plan to close Sandwell Magistrates’ Court as ministers prepare to make a final announcement on its future...

With less than 100 days to go until the local elections on May 5th we have a busy few days ahead in West Bromwich East. If you'd like to get involved with any of the sessions please get in touch or just turn up. If you've never campaigned before, don't worry, we'll team you up with someone more experienced to start with.

Our upcoming campaign sessions are:

Saturday 30th January

10am-12pm Great Barr with Yew Tree, Yew Tree Community Centre, Redwood Road, WS5 4LB

1pm - 2pm Charlemont with Grove Vale, 1 Pear Tree Drive, B43 6HR

2:30pm - 3:30pm Newton, 1 Highfield Avenue, B43 5AW

Sunday 31st January

11am-12pm West Bromwich Central, 1 Hallam Street, B71 4HE

Monday 1st February

1pm-2pm Friar Park, 1 Coronation Road, WS10 0TQ

Wednesday 3rd February

10am-12pm Great Barr with Yew Tree, Yew Tree Community Centre, Redwood Road, WS5 4LB

We look forward to seeing some of you there!

Busy Campaigning

With less than 100 days to go until the local elections on May 5th we have a busy few days ahead in West Bromwich East. If you'd like to get...

Businesses in Sandwell looking to reduce the cost of their gas and electricity bills are being urged to check out a new energy comparison service on offer to them.

Sandwell Council has teamed up with iChoosr and Make It Cheaper to help Sandwell businesses get better energy deals.

Make It Cheaper is the UK's no.1 energy comparison and switching service for businesses.

Research shows that across the UK, four out of five businesses are not doing anything about their energy bills and small and medium sized-businesses are paying on average 35 per cent more than they need to.

Switching energy suppliers for businesses is often complex as there are many kinds of meters and tariffs.

Business tariffs are not published like domestic tariffs and businesses can't switch without giving suppliers considerable notice periods to end their energy contracts.

The service compares prices and lets businesses know what their energy supplier options are and will set up the new energy contract as well, saving businesses time and money.

Councillor Paul Moore, cabinet member with responsibility for jobs and economy, said: "We are constantly reviewing the ways we reach out to Sandwell's business community.

"In this difficult economic climate, it's important that we do all we can to support our businesses to develop and grow in a competitive business environment. I would urge businesses to visit the website and see if they can save any money on their energy bills."

Any businesses interested in switching their supplier can visit the Sandwell Council energy switch webpage or call 0800 188 4919 for more information.

Energy Deals for Businesses in Sandwell

Businesses in Sandwell looking to reduce the cost of their gas and electricity bills are being urged to check out a new energy comparison service on offer to them. Sandwell...

HMD1.jpg

Local councillors were amongst those who gathered to commemorate National Holocaust Memorial Day this morning. The service at Highfields Memorial Garden was led by Mayor Councillor Barbara Price.

Members of The Royal British Legion, The Royal Air Force Association and The Federation of Birmingham Ex Service Associations were in attendance for the event to remember the millions of victims of Nazi persecution and all genocide.

The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is "Don't Stand By" and attendees pledged that the Holocaust would have a permanent place in our nation's collective memory, that we will honour survivors still with us and strengthen our efforts to promote education to make sure that the lessons of the past are fully learnt.

Holocaust Memorial Day in Sandwell

Local councillors were amongst those who gathered to commemorate National Holocaust Memorial Day this morning. The service at Highfields Memorial Garden was led by Mayor Councillor Barbara Price. Members of...

Here in West Bromwich East we believe that campaigning is not just for election time. It's vitally important that we engage with residents all year round to pick up issues for our councillors to deal with, raise awareness of local and national issues and generally get to know residents and what is important to them.

We have the Sandwell Phonebank every Thursday evening at Terry Duffy House in West Bromwich where we telephone residents from across the borough from 4pm until 8pm.

We also have constituency door knocking sessions every Sunday morning at 11am. The upcoming sessions are:

Sun 17th Jan - Greets Green and Lyng
Sun 31st Jan - West Bromwich Central
Sun 7th Feb - Friar Park
Sun 14th Feb - Charlemont with Grove Vale
Sun 21st Feb - Great Barr with Yew Tree
Sun 28th Feb - Hateley Heath

Details will be available on the events page and on @WBE_Labour on Twitter. If you would like to get involved please get in touch or simply turn up. If you're new to campaigning, don't worry, we can team you up with a more experienced volunteer to start with.

Working Hard All Year Round

Here in West Bromwich East we believe that campaigning is not just for election time. It's vitally important that we engage with residents all year round to pick up issues...

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug cookies