Birmingham news and blogs Monday 20 August 2018
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Is this the first of many government ‘step-ins’ as problems with private contractors escalate? 

20 Aug 18

After being awarded a 15-year contract in 2011, as part of a wider move to bring more competition into the prison service, G4S has been stripped of control over ‘failed’ HMP Birmingham jail (details here ).

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The city should use its Blue Roads 

17 Aug 18

As the council’s consultation closes today (Friday, August 17 th ) reports indicate a total omission of any reference to the city’s ‘Blue Roads’.

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15 Aug 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP The meeting on Thursday August 23 rd will be held at the Community Hub in John Lewis, from 5 to 7pm.

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For the West Midlands economy, Brexit could be a perfect storm: David Viney (Localise West Midlands) 

8 Aug 18

With the government’s own economic impact assessments for the West Midlands making grim reading – the worst case scenarios reminiscent of the early 1980s recessions that devastated the social and economic fabric of the region – it is vital that…

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Solihull’s 3-year split bin problem: the suppliers’ responsibility? 

7 Aug 18

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 .

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Garden Cities in the Midlands – finally under way? 

5 Aug 18

A few months ago ( Housing 31 ), this site touched on the promotion of community housing and community land trusts by Pat Conaty , remembered in Birmingham for his co-founding of the Aston Reinvestment Trust and the Debt Advice Centre at the …

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Which is worse: hybrid or drone warfare? 

31 Jul 18

Redbrick’s Comment Writer Tom Moran argues that NATO must display more willingness to act against hybrid warfare.

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The annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima 

26 Jul 18

From 11-12 am on Saturday August 4 th in the churchyard of St Phillip’s Cathedral, Birmingham The Revd Richard Tetlow will give an address.

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As government bows to ‘fiscal hawks’, a former Conservative MP deplores the effects of austerity 

25 Jul 18

Matthew Parris has written, in the Times , “the cracks are showing in austerity Britain” We don’t think enough about local government one of whose jobs it is to mend potholes.

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The Priory Rooms, July 31st: Another Europe’s nationwide tour comes to Birmingham 

24 Jul 18

Read more about the Priory Rooms here .

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WMNEG: revisiting draft manifesto 2000 

18 Jul 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP The next meeting, on Thursday 26th July, will be held at the John Lewis Community Hub, from 5 to 7pm.

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Tudor Grange House conversion 

16 Jul 18

Tudor Grange House, described in The Victorian as ‘a significant Jacobean style house’, was built in 1887 for Alfred Lovekin, a Birmingham silversmith (background here ).

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Housing 33: a tale of two cities 

14 Jul 18

The Times reports that housing developments in Birmingham have benefited from billions of pounds of new investment attracted by the prospect of HS2, the high-speed rail line that is planned to connect London Euston to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds…

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Alan Clawley – a life well-lived: his less well-known contributions 

10 Jul 18

Alan was trained as an architect and lived in Birmingham for several decades, providing technical support to a wide variety of community projects.

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Award for the planting of urban orchards, nut groves and forest gardens in Stirchley 

6 Jul 18

The Heritage Lottery Fund Schedule of Decisions has recorded a grant given to a two year project which will work with local communities to establish heritage fruit and nut tree sites in Stirchley, Birmingham.

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Online course in Selly Oak: Islam and the Environment 

5 Jul 18

Woodbrooke Islam, like other Faiths, calls for stewardship of the Earth.

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LGA Conference: “Councils can no longer be expected to run our local services on a shoestring” 

3 Jul 18

After the leader of Birmingham City Council welcomed the 2018 Local Government Association Conference to Birmingham (ICC, 3-5 July) Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, spoke.

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Centre for Cities advises ‘reimagining’ boarded up shops 

27 Jun 18

In a report published this week , the   Centre for Cities , noting that many high streets are full of boarded-up shops, advises local authorities to ‘reimagine’ the space for offices, homes and leisure: “These places should focus on making …

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WMNEG political round up: local elections results. 

19 Jun 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Thursday 28 th June, 5pm-7pm Political round up: local elections results.

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Airport 2018 

15 Jun 18

UK aviation policy is primarily predicated on the requirements of airport operators, major airlines and the Treasury – the needs of passengers come last says Steve Beauchamp é.

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How many City MPs will campaign to stop Network Rail’s sale of railway arches? 

8 Jun 18

After publishing this post on June 2 nd and signing a letter to Chris Grayling the writer has heard that this campaign is moving to Westminster.

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A Future for All: Priory Rooms, Birmingham 

7 Jun 18


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City research: the world’s first liquid air energy storage plant, opening today 

5 Jun 18

In 2014, the world’s first research centre for Cryogenic Energy Storage at the University of Birmingham established a five-year research chair appointment under the leadership of Professor Yulong Ding.

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How will Project Condor affect Digbeth’s ‘arch’ businesses? 

2 Jun 18

CoStar reports that through Rothschild Co (Email: condor.

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The Priory Rooms’ sustainability promise 

29 May 18

Note one of their forthcoming events: A Future for All   Read more about the Priory Rooms here .

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The award-winning Warehouse Cafe in Digbeth has moved downstairs and is open again 

23 May 18

Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s building, The Warehouse, enters the final stage of its refurbishment project.

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Housing 31: reform taxation, build community housing, use surplus public land 

18 May 18

Will Cllr Ward, lauded for recent political manoeuvring , continue John Clancy’s good housing initiatives? A Bournville reader has drawn attention to a Guardian article which says falling house prices are not disastrous, ever-rising house prices …

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Medical research co-authored by Aston’s School of Life and Health Sciences lecturer 

30 Apr 18


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People Power Brum aims to put local power in the hands of citizens 

25 Apr 18

A Kings Norton reader draws attention to the events of 2015, when a coalition of self-styled independents, united by the belief that democracy needs to be revived, were elected to Frome’s town council and continue to serve the town.

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‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival 

25 Apr 18

‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival on Sunday brought together the diverse communities of Balsall Heath.

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SUNDAY 22nd: Street Festival – Balsall Heath Mela 

21 Apr 18

MELA social enterprise’s new ‘We Are’ neighbourhood campaign will start with ‘We Are Balsall Heath’ Street Festival on Sunday April 22 bringing together the diverse communities of Balsall Heath.

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West Midlands factory protest: supplying arms for Saudis morally reprehensible 

21 Apr 18

The People’s Weapons Inspectors blockaded the gates of Anglo-French arms manufacturer Roxel in the West Midlands on 7 April.

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WMNEG meeting: is council tax system no longer fit for purpose? 

20 Apr 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Date: Thursday 26 th April, 5pm-7pm Carol Martin who will be opening this session, will do a brief introduction.

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Housing 31 – Housing for the Many: Labour’s Green Paper. 

20 Apr 18

Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the launch of   Labour’s Housing Green Paper.

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Proportional representation: Nancy Platts 

16 Apr 18

The West Midlands New Economics blog draws attention to a message from  Nancy Platts, a Labour Party councillor, who has worked for London Fire Brigade, Daycare Trust and Consumer Focus.

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March visitors 

15 Apr 18

People from 31 countries visited this site last month TOP POSTS o…

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Vintage Trains (Tyseley) co-operative: share offer still open 

11 Apr 18

Vintage Trains   runs Tyseley Locomotive Works (below) in Birmingham, restores and cares for its collection of historic steam engines and carriages, preserving traditional skills and ensuring steam locomotives from a bygone era remain in service for…

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Britain, as yet neither mature nor a democracy, appears to need its monarch and its mayors 

6 Apr 18

The rational case against metro mayors ably set out by local commentators, Richard Hatcher, George Morran and Steve Beauchampé, has been shattered for the writer by the media-feeding chaotic, emotion-led, vicious, counterproductive squabbling in the…

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Self-repairing roads: Birmingham engineers join a research team 

3 Apr 18

“Is it possible, for example, to have a city where potholes get fixed autonomously, before they become dangerous and expensive?” In the Financial Times* Mark Miodownik, a professor of materials and society at University College London, asks this …

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Gala Saturday 7th: Moseley Road Baths reopening 

1 Apr 18

  M oseley Road Baths CIO ( Charitable Incorporated Organisation) will be re-opening the pool on Saturday 7th April 2018 from 8:45am with public swimming sessions starting at 9am and running until 2pm.

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‘Remote killing’: city academics offer cold comfort for Yemenis 

25 Mar 18

  John Ferguson, Professor of Classics in Nigeria, the United States and England, became the first Dean of Arts at the Open University and was also President of the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, pacifist, cricketer, singer and opponent of …

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WMNEG meeting: Language and politics 

23 Mar 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Date: Thursday 29 th March, 5pm-7pm Susan Miles, who will be opening this session, will do a brief introduction.

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Planning for the Future: 1948 – reflections 

22 Mar 18

Planning for the Future: 1948 – Reflections on What Happened and Why is a paper written for the Black Countryman , the quarterly magazine of the Black Country Society.

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Housing 30: £2bn social housing fund five months overdue 

16 Mar 18

Five months after announcing a £2bn fund to build a new generation of council homes, the government has not released the money.

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BRUM GREEN DRINKS: Enemy of the People? 

12 Mar 18

TUESDAY 13 MARCH from 6.00p.

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Air pollution: petition to be handed to Cllr John Cotton 

9 Mar 18

An air pollution campaign mounted by Birmingham Friends of the Earth calls on the City Council to adopt a city-wide approach to tackling air pollution which is linked to 900 premature deaths a year in the city.

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George Morran, (WMCC), Andrew Carter (Centre for Cities) and Richard Hatcher (BATC) appraise the WMCA and metro mayor 

8 Mar 18

 “ The West Midlands is beginning to get its act together under its new metro mayor”: Will Hutton Observer 18th February George Morran, Director of the West Midlands Constitutional Convention and former Assistant Chief Executive of Dudley …

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Moseley Road Baths: news on two fronts 

6 Mar 18

There is an important update about swimming timetables, lessons and prices from Karen Leach from the Moseley Road Baths Charitable Incorporated Organisation, which will be taking on the running of swimming facilities at the Baths from the start of …

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Birmingham press release as Europewide protests call for a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta 

5 Mar 18

In Cologne Statement by the British Kashmiri Women’s Council, We Engage Birmingham Stop the War Coalition.

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1 Mar 18

The photography of Janet Mendelsohn Presented in association with  Flatpack Film Festival 10 March – 28 April 2018 In the late 1960s American filmmaker and photographer Janet Mendelsohn spent several months documenting the everyday life of Balsall…

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2015-2018: city park, market area with trees & green space, or a fenced vista? 

27 Feb 18

The loss of Eastside Park (above) to HS2 , ‘more of a square than a park’, strengthens the case for greening Smithfield.

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Housing 30: Right to Buy disaster – terminated in Scotland and Wales 

26 Feb 18

o The stock of secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to buy or rent a home of their own has been progressively reduced by the Right to Buy legislation, passed in the   Housing Act 1980 .

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BTUC Conference: WM Economy needs a strategy for inclusive growth’ 

21 Feb 18

The West Midlands Economy: Why We Need a Strategy for Inclusive Growth’ , BTUC Conference 10 March 1.30-4.30, Unite offices, Birmingham See website for slightly clearer print.

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Mayor Andy Street and Bishop David Urquhart could begin to address homelessness 

18 Feb 18

Some time ago West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street travelled to Finland – thought to be the only country in Europe where homelessness is falling.

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Wylde Green meeting on March 8th: the possible implications of Brexit on trade 

16 Feb 18

7pm at Wylde Green United Reformed Church, Britwell Road, B73 5SW Global Justice Now formerly known as the World Development Movement (WDM), Click on the image to enlarge  The decision to leave the European Union is the biggest political choice the …

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WMNEG: Brexit – values, priorities and mechanisms? 

14 Feb 18

WEST MIDLANDS NEW ECONOMICS GROUP Date: Thursday 22nd February, 5pm-7pm John Nightingale, who will be chairing this session, intends to do a brief introduction.

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Housing 29: loss of balance in city ‘humming with noise of regeneration’ 

9 Feb 18

Birmingham is described by Cllr Ian Ward, ‘showcasing’ investment opportunities at this year’s global property and real estate show MIPIM, as   ‘a destination of choice’ for international investment and blue-chip occupiers.

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Digbeth drop-in day: ground breaking disability rights exhibition 

6 Feb 18

Action Village India , a UK based charity pressing for positive change in rural India, is holding an open afternoon on the 14th February (1:30pm – 3:30pm) for people who want to learn more about one of its key projects.

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Stirchley Baths seeks volunteers 

1 Feb 18

Could you help at weekends? With maintenance? Greeting people during the daytime? Write and upload newsletter content? o…

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Localising Prosperity’s short film highlights four local projects 

29 Jan 18

Localise West Midlands recently commissioned a video which highlights four local projects that stimulate local economies and decentralise economic power.