Media Watch – October 6

By on 06/10/2011 in Media Watch

Top Birmingham City Council Stories

City council set to boost Arena Central development (Birmingham Post) Plans for a 300-bedroom hotel are likely to be brought forward in a fresh attempt to kick-start Birmingham’s £400 million Arena Central scheme.

Gisela’s bid to be mayor could cause a headache for Miliband (Birmingham Post) The race to become Birmingham’s directly-elected mayor has been thrown wide open after city MP and former minister Gisela Stuart announced she intended to stand.

Fears garden grabbing could be reintroduced (Birmingham Post) Council leaders have outlined their opposition to the Government’s proposed planning changes amid fears Birmingham’s leafy streets could be swallowed up by ‘garden grabbing’ housing developers.

Local authority housing scheme scoops major recognition (Birmingham Post) Birmingham’s council house building scheme has scooped two major national awards for innovation and been held up as an example to other cities.

Council job losses apology (Birmingham Post) Correction to an article in last week’s Post that incorrectly stated that more than 14,000 Birmingham City Council jobs had disappeared in two-and-a-half years. The true figure is 5,547 jobs.

Whitby: Riot highlighted importance of religion (Birmingham Post) Riots in Birmingham and the response of communities across the city highlighted the importance of faith in building a stronger society, according to city council leader Mike Whitby.

Brum ‘must strike a deal with Whitehall’ (Birmingham Post) England’s core cities are to be asked to draw up ‘deals’ with central government setting out what they need from Whitehall – and what they want to do themselves, the Minister for Cities said.

Brum shows community engagement ‘can work’ (Birmingham Post) One of the architects of the Conservatives’ Big Society project has praised the communities of Birmingham for proving that the concept of community engagement works. Philip Blond of the thinktank ResPublica teamed up with city council leader Mike Whitby at the Tory Party conference to produce Birmingham’s own prospectus for the Big Society.

Rudge makes rallying call to set communities free (Birmingham Post) Leading Birmingham Tory Alan Rudge has issued a clarion call in support of the Big Society, demanding that communities be set free from government diktats and helped to take more responsibility for their own lives.

Residents’ fury at £18k council bills (Birmingham Post) Birmingham City Council’s charging policy for housing improvements is to be examined in court after residents in a tower block were handed bills of up to £18,000 each to cover the cost of modernisation work. Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr John Lines said: “I'm very disappointed a small number of leaseholders have decided to pursue this action. We did make every effort to reach a compromise and a significant number of leaseholders have accepted the charges. We have made significant improvements to Bakeman House, including structural repairs, new double glazing, lighting, insulation and security measures. As a consequence the market value of the flats has increased considerably.”

Resident’s battle to remain in own home (Birmingham Post) Birmingham City Council has denied it approved the compulsory purchase of a property to pave the way for a development it is accused of having a ‘vested interest’ in.

‘B’ in the running for savings with city card (Birmingham Post) Council bosses have launched an innovative campaign in a bid to boost consumer spending and change the fortunes of retailers left suffering in the wake of a recession and August’s riots.

Benefit cheat is sent to jail (Birmingham Mail) A woman who claimed she was unaware she owned a property has been jailed for six months over a £17,000 housing benefit fraud.

MP call on awards costs (Birmingham Mail) A Birmingham MP has called on the city council to come clean over how much it spends sending staff to awards ceremonies.

Midland Heart housing association fined 100k over death (BBC)A Birmingham-based housing association has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £35,000 in costs after a man died from severe burns after he was scalded in a bath. The prosecution was brought by Birmingham City Council.

Birmingham’s child protection services have ‘improved’ (BBC) Birmingham’s Safeguarding Children’s Services are improving, despite facing another serious case review, the chairman of a watchdog has said.

Technology start-ups boosted by £1m fund (Birmingham Post, Insider Media) A scheme designed to help fledgling technology businesses secure a share of a £1m equity funding pot has been launched by Birmingham City Council.

Central Library is named as ‘endangered treasure’ (Guardian, Birmingham Post) Birmingham’s controversial Central Library has been placed on an ‘at risk’ list by a global buildings foundation.

Market updates (Market Trader and Independent Retailer) Birmingham’s Wholesale Market Traders have called for a meeting with City Council leader Mike Whitby after he claimed that cash might be found from developers to support their relocation from the city centre.

Regional Headlines

Holiday jet to fly on cooking oil
Britain’s first commercial flight powered by biofuel is scheduled to take off from Birmingham airport.

Another arrest after riot deaths
Another man is held on suspicion of murder and bailed pending further inquiries after three people were killed during the summer riots in Birmingham.

National Headlines

BBC set to announce budget cuts
The BBC is to announce how it proposes to make budget cuts of 20% as a result of the freeze to the licence fee.

House prices ‘lacking direction’
House prices are “lacking genuine direction”, says the Halifax, as it reports a 0.5% fall in values in September compared with August.

Payne sues over alleged hacking
The mother of murder victim Sarah Payne and murdered schoolgirl Megan Russell’s father are taking legal action over alleged phone hacking.

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