Media Watch – Dec 23

By on 23/12/2013 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

Residents' anger at £600 bill for lights (Birmingham Mail) Story about three faulty streetlights which are not covered by the council's highways contract with Amey. Bartley Green councillor John Lines quoted as saying the only option is to ask residents to meet the cost but that couldn't be expected as they pay their taxes. A council spokesperson quoted as saying there is a small fund available to the ward for use on such repairs if needed.

New Chief Executive appointed (Extensive regional and trade media coverage) Mark Rogers has been named as the city council’s chief executive. The Birmingham Mail reports that the choice has prompted claims of sexism from Cllr Penny Holbrook – who has responded to the appointment via Twitter by reportedly saying “you would almost think there were no talented women in Birmingham”.

Summer tunnel closures a success, says watchdog (Birmingham Mail) The way in which the city centre tunnel repair closures were handled has been praised by the council's transport scrutiny committee.

Council ‘broke public trust’ in bus lane fiasco (Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury and BBC WM) Coverage of last Friday’s scrutiny meeting, during which committee members were critical of elements of the council’s bus lane enforcement programme. Cllrs Quinn, O’Shea and Tim Evans quoted.

Councillors threatened with court action over unpaid taxes (Sunday Mercury and The Times) Two city councillors have been summonsed over the last three years for unpaid Council Tax, it has emerged. The councillors in question have not been named. In response to the news Cllrs Ian Ward (for Labour) and Robert Alden (for the Conservatives) are quoted as saying that elected members, like citizens should keep up to date with their payments.

Final farewell to German Market (Birmingham Mail) Frankfurt Market stallholders have handed over unsold food to the Salvation Army in their now-annual gesture. Cllr Ian Ward quoted as saying this year's market has been a success.

City planners’ anger over extension (Birmingham Mail) The owner of a home in MacKenzie Road, Sparkhill, has been told to cut his ‘horrible’ extension down to size by the council’s planning committee.

‘Motion’ ad near island gets the OK (Birmingham Mail) An animated billboard near the Five Ways roundabout has been approved by city planners despite concerns raised by Cllr Peter Douglas Osborn – after members were told there was no evidence that such adverts had an impact on road safety.

Care People (ITV Central) Care People, which provided adult social care to service users in Birmingham, has gone into administration. The city council has stepped in to find alternative provision for those affected.

Speed cameras set to return to West Mids and Bristol roads (Local Transport Today) Plans to reintroduces safety cameras in Birmingham and Solihull are still being developed, as announced earlier this year.

Regional Headlines

A major fire destroys a bowling alley in Wolverhampton which had been closed since October.

A man has been arrested after fire crews found a submerged car in a canal in Bloxwich.

National Headlines

Heavy rain and strong winds could disrupt road and rail travel ahead of the Christmas break in parts of the UK. The Met Office has issued amber warnings for rain for Wales, the east of England, south-west England and London and the South East from early on Monday morning.

Councils are making record surpluses from parking charges and fines, according to the RAC Foundation. In 2012-13 local authorities in England made a “profit” of £594m from parking activities, the organisation said.

Marks & Spencer has apologised after a Muslim member of staff refused to serve a customer trying to buy alcohol. The retailer said it usually tried to assign “suitable roles” to staff who could not handle certain items because of their religious beliefs.

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