Friday, December 23, 2011

Update on Moseley Road baths –23rd December 2011 – Good and Bad news

There is good news and bad news with regards the re-opening of Moseley Road baths.

For some background, my last blog update was on 19th November and can be seen at

The bad news is that the re-opening date for the swimming baths has been pushed back by a month to the end of February 2012. This delay has been caused by the Council’s own bureaucratic procedures in releasing the money to do the next stage of work. Anyone who meets me over the Christmas period will notice various bald spots on my head, caused by me pulling my hair out over the last few weeks trying to get this money released. We are hoping to have this money signed off in the next week.

The basement is now clear of asbestos. If the report releasing the next stage of money is signed off next week, then the company installing the permanent structural scaffolding into the basement will move onto site on 16th January. Their work will take 4 to 5 weeks to complete.

The good news is that we will be having the pool 2 ceiling repainted during this closure period. Anyone who used pool 2 prior to its closure last December, will remember that the paint on the ceiling was badly flaking. This flaking was caused by the high humidity in the pool, which in turn was caused by the poor ventilation. When the pool is re-opened the ventilation will be significantly improved, since the mechanical issues in the ventilation fans have now been fixed. So hopefully, this flaking will not be a problem for a number of years.

By re-painting the pool now – and the money for this will hopefully be signed off next week – this will prevent the pool being closed later in the year due to the flakes falling off into the pool.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Cross Party letter to the Mark Thompson, DG of BBC

From: Gisela Stuart MP, Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, John Hemming MP, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, Jack Dromey MP, Roger Godsiff MP, Shabana Mahmood MP, Steve McCabe MP

Councillors Tim Huxtable, Martin Mullaney, Sir Albert Bore

We are a cross party group of MPs and Councillors who request you to come to Birmingham, as a matter of urgency, to meet with us, to discuss the future of the BBC in Birmingham.

To Mark Thompson, DG, BBC White City, London W12 7TS

7th December, 2011

Dear Mr Thompson

BBC Birmingham

The decision to drastically reduce the BBC’s presence in the City of Birmingham is unacceptable, unjustified and ultimately unsustainable. We write to you today as a cross-party group of elected representatives, at City Council and Parliamentary level, to urge you to think again.

The BBC has a long and proud history in Birmingham, as befits both the nation’s premier broadcasting institution and the largest of its provincial cities. But we are not opposed to these proposals on purely sentimental grounds. We are united in the view that the continuation of a major BBC presence in the city is essential to the economic vitality of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region.

It is striking how these proposals run contrary to the BBC’s own professed duty to the regions. It appears to people in Birmingham that this “duty” is being applied in a manner that can at best be described as inconsistent. We have noted how the BBC has recently built a major studio in Glasgow, at a cost of £180million, to strengthen its presence in that part of the country, yet it is now planning to withdraw much of its operation from our, much larger, city and region. Furthermore, we observe that a further 1000 jobs are due to move to the Media City in Salford, on top of the 2000 jobs that have already been relocated to that facility.

This is wholly inequitable. If jobs can be moved out of London to Salford, there is no reason why they cannot be relocated from London to Birmingham. We already have the state of the art facilities to support those jobs here, which you personally opened just seven years ago. We would ask that you now make the BBC’s professed commitment to the regions a reality, by committing to invest in BBC Birmingham.

There is clearly a better way. The BBC supports a wide range of activities and these should be properly shared across the regions. This means that there has to be a renewed commitment to Birmingham and the West Midlands. We firmly believe that there are further BBC facilities that can be housed in Birmingham

Firstly, we would suggest that BBC3 production is moved to the city. Birmingham is one of the youngest cities in the country and is home to a rich and diverse community of people. A channel that is aimed at younger people and designed to reflect Britain’s cultural diversity would have a natural home in Birmingham and would draw great strength from an association with the second city.

Second, we note that the BBC’s Mailbox facility possesses state of the art radio drama and radio production studios. Under your current proposals, these facilities, which cost some £40million to build, will be reduced to being used over just four days a month for The Archers and local radio production. This is clearly wasteful and unsustainable, when they could be used to provide a home for a national channel. We suggest that moving Radio Two production to Birmingham would be an excellent use for these radio facilities. If Salford is considered a suitable place to house Radio Five Live, then Birmingham can host a major channel too.

Thirdly, we have a powerful creative output here in Birmingham. Drama and the arts are powerful drivers of our local economy and we are proud of the efforts that are made to nurture local talent. There is also a powerful history of drama production in the city – a history in which the BBC has played a leading role. We would propose that the BBC strengthens its offer in the city and West Midlands region by building a drama studio in Birmingham. This could provide a facility for the independent production companies that form a growing part of our local creative economy, as well as for BBC productions, which would make the proposal financially sustainable. If it is good enough for Glasgow, then it is good enough for Birmingham.

We believe that these proposals are sensible, well-measured and in the best interests of the BBC and the City of Birmingham. We ask that you come to Birmingham and meet with us to discuss these proposals and how we can ensure that the BBC retains a substantial and meaningful presence in our city in the future.

Yours sincerely

Gisela Stuart MP

on behalf of the above named Birmingham MPs and Councillors

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Two individuals banned from Moseley

The police have asked me to distribute the attached poster showing two individuals banned through ASBOs from Moseley.

The two individuals have focused on elderly residents, stealing items from their homes. If you meet, they are very charming, which they use to get inside elderly peoples homes.