Top Birmingham City Council Stories:
‘We’ll create powerhouse like no other’ (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail) Work to create a West Midlands-wide authority stronger than any other in the country has begun. Quotes Sir Albert Bore saying he was expecting progress on a vital combined authority within weeks.
Concerns over changes to leisure centres (BBC WM) Piece on Serco taking over the running of some city council leisure centres and whether this would mean people who use both Serco and city council sites for different activities having to pay for two sets of membership. Included live telephone interview with Steve Hollingworth pointing out that the number of people in this situation was very small and that those who did would be supported on an interim basis. Also allayed fears that the sports hall at Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre (one of those being run by Serco from 1 June) would be reduced in size.
Paradise road closures wrecking us, say bars (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail) Pub operator Town and Country Inns claims three of its city centre bars – Apres, Mechu and Fleet Street Kitchen, all in Summer Row – are just weeks away from administration because of the ongoing Paradise Circus roadworks. Quotes Kevin Hicks pointing out that the works programme had been developed to keep disruption to a minimum, but that the scale of the works meant that some disruption was inevitable. Birmingham Mail also includes article on claims by drivers that they were stuck several floors up inside the Lionel Street multi-storey car park on Tuesday due to gridlock caused by the roadworks, with council spokesperson saying the authority was unaware of any major problems on the night in question.
City wheelie-bin boss to retire after 40 years (Birmingham Post) Piece on the retirement of strategic director of place Sharon Lea from the city council. Quotes Sir Albert Bore and Sharon herself.
Broad Street business body to get £155k of public cash (Birmingham Post) City council chiefs are expected to approve a £155,000 funding package to keep Birmingham’s first business improvement district going until a new ballot can be held. The Broad Street Business Improvement District (BID) is to be renamed Westside BID and extended to include Broadway Plaza and the new Paradise development. Quotes council spokesperson saying the authority has supported BIDs through the funding of levy collection costs, enabling all of the income raised by the BIDs to be invested in additional projects and services.
Academy fears see teachers walk out (Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail) Further coverage of strike by teachers at Small Heath School over fears that it will be turned into an academy. Quotes council spokesperson pointing out that neither the school nor council had been approached by the Department for Education about turning the school into an academy.
Six flag designs shortlisted as future symbol of Birmingham (Birmingham Post) Piece on six shortlisted designs for community flag competition launched by Deputy Lord Mayor Mike Leddy, who is quoted.
Owls that! Visitors set to flock to striking art trail in city (Birmingham Post) Double-page feature on Big Hoot charity art project which will see more than 100 individually decorated owls displayed throughout Birmingham during the summer, with Birmingham City Council part-funding 10 community owls.
Plea to back petition for new city park (Birmingham Mail) A petition has been started calling for the site currently occupied by the Wholesale Markets – which is to become the Birmingham Smithfield development – to be transformed into a park instead. Quotes council spokesperson saying Birmingham is already one of the greenest cities in Europe with a huge number of parks and open spaces, with the planned Birmingham Smithfield development set to attract £500 million investment.
The demolition of a Grade II-listed pub to extend West Bromwich Albion’s grounds has been hit by an anthrax scare. Horse hair, which can contain deadly anthrax spores, was found in the wings of the Hawthorns pub, which dates back to the 1840s.
Coverage marking the one-year anniversary of the death of fund-raiser Stephen Sutton, who raised millions for charity before losing his battle against cancer, aged just 19.
Plans to give English cities powers over housing, transport, planning and policing will be set out in George Osborne’s first post-election speech. Greater Manchester, which will elect a mayor in two years and take on such powers, should become a blueprint for other large cities, he will say. The “old model” of running everything from London is “broken” and has unbalanced the economy, he will add.
A further drop in the number of people putting their homes up for sale is pushing house prices higher, according to surveyors. A report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says new instructions by sellers have fallen “deeper into negative territory”.