Archive for January 22, 2012

Will friends like these damage Becky Blakes future prospects in politics.


Where’s the real people Becky ?

Becky Blake meets local residents or should i say the brother of former Labour Councillor Clive Cheetham.

 Looks like Becky is following in the footsteps of other Labour candidates of only meeting known supporters and Labour Party members (then claiming in the local press she is out and about meeting REAL people.)

Becky Blake is best known in Redditch for wasting  £644,000 on the doomed Redditch AIR Festival

He may be a resident but she didn’t say he was the brother of a former Labour Councillor who still stands as a  Labour candidate in elections in Winyates

Becky meets members of Batchley Support Group again a Labour Party member and former Labour Councillor.

THE Redditch Labour Party has selected its Parliamentary Candidate to fight the next General Election.

Rebecca Blake, current councillor for Greenlands Ward, was selected by local party members.

Ms Blake was the only local candidate, coming ahead of outsiders from Birmingham and London.

She said: “I am very grateful to my local party for having chosen me to represent Labour as their Parliamentary Candidate and I would like to say thank you to them.

“They know I am serious about doing all I can to help people make the most of their lives.

“Having grown up in Redditch, going to local schools, working here and representing local people I have a good idea of what I would like to achieve for my home town.”

Becky Blake worked for Jacqui Smith until she lost her seat at the last General Election and is best known for wasting  £644,000 on the doomed Redditch AIR Festival.

I am determined to stand up for everyday people,so they can get the best out of their lives.  Born in 1979, I grew up through the 80’s, in a council house, I know life can be a struggle. I believe we need a supportive state because society is not built on a level playing field.   I bring my life experiences and my Labour values to finding solutions to inequality and injustice.

Rebecca Blake is Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party for 2015 general election

profileRebecca said her  Pledges to Redditch are
  • The Economy – Fight for a strong economy, so that our town & local people can prosper.
  • The Alex –Protect existing services, campaign for new vital services, prioritize high quality care on every ward.
  • Redditch Schools & NEW College – Work with partners for improved education for children, young people & adults.  NEW College needs investment not cuts, in order to become an academic & vocational centre of excellence in the Midlands.
  • Jobs – Encourage Hi-tech Industries into Redditch.  I want local people trained to take on highly skilled work.
  • Housing – Support more good quality affordable housing for local people, delivered locally such as by Co-op Homes.
  • But if she hadn’t spent £644,000 on the air festival the money could have been spent on things Redditch needs instead it was wasted on a pop concert with z list acts.

Will friends like these damage her future prospects in politics? It reads like a rogues gallery of the Redditch Labour party.

They have all served as elected Councillors in Redditch and have one thing in common,They have all been damaged by sleaze or have been disgraced.

In some cases both, it’s not the best CV for becoming MP for Redditch.

FORMER Labour Council Leader David Cartwright defended the £644,000 cost of the AIR Festival saying at full council Meeting “that it was in Labour’s manifesto – they made a promise and stuck to it”.

He even suggested this was not public money as it came from reserve balances. It was disingenuous of him to say this.

I am absolutely amazed at his continued arrogance and lack of concern for the wider implications of his party’s actions being felt in the town with all the proposed budget cuts.

Now we all will be counting the cost of the AIR Festival and a Labour-run administration for many years to come when it affects the council services we take for granted.

The cuts we now may have to accept as inevitable may not have been necessary had the Labour group kept their eye on the bigger picture instead of delivering an event which has put Redditch on the map for totally the wrong reason – cuts to vital services.

How unfortunate the AIR Festival may now be only remembered for sounding the death knell of services instead of re-energising the town.

Counting the cost of festival

A TORY councillor claims the former leader of Redditch Council “pooh-poohed” all warnings before the AIR Festival – which led to a £644,000 bill.

Councillor Mike Braley said David Cartwright was warned about capacity, resources available, timing and organisation needed for such an event.

After dismal ticket sales, the Labour group decided to give away free tickets to the two-day music festival.

Mr Braley said: “My colleagues warned Mr Cartwright about what needed to be considered before embarking on this ambitious project but he simply pooh-poohed them.

“This debt will exist for years to come.”

He added: “This was a scandalous waste of public money.  Phil Mould is a level-headed man and I hope he’ll help his colleagues see the light when it comes to a possible 2006 festival.”

But Mr Cartwright said: “We said we’d bring a huge festival to Redditch and we delivered.

“Up until the last-minute, we were told what the costs would be. The figures were very different to the large figures we ended up with. We as politicians did all we could.”

Facebook messages from Labour Party members

How dare I write about Rebecca Blake? But she is standing for public office so should expect a bit of Public Scrutiny.

The National papers will be far worse than me on her

Your attitude towards Rebecca Blake and the Labour parties disapproval stinks. Quite frankly you don’t understand what it costs to organise a concert on even the smallest of scales, so when you’ve become an event organiser, please do feel free to contact me and tell me how it goes for you sunshine? Rebecca Blake goes out of her way to talk to people about their problems and I know she was at the council very late one evening meeting people who had problems. She talks to local businesses and comes up with new ideas for the area. Now then Mr. Conservative… Mrs. Lumley shows up for a photo opportunity and then leaves, she has no moral life and is a shame to be an MP of Redditch. Goodbye.

Very understandable Mr. Preston, Labour have changed very much over the years and some Labour councillors even agree that we are no longer socialists and I do agree with them but the New Labour Redditch Council do have some amazing plans to benefit the whole town. Unfortunately on your mistake is I am not a Labour member. I am just an open-minded young person studying at Trinity but I work with Rebecca and she has helped me so much with my charity concert work and helped make it the success it was. I understand a radio could it for much cheaper but it’s that whole public community feel with the AiR concert. Jacqui Smith wasn’t the problem, it was her husband sir. You are of course entitled to your opinion. Please don’t take me as a representative of Labour. But it would be interesting if Labour could  arrange meet you on a professional level where there will be no arguing or torment on both sides?

This person above claims to be from trinity college make your own mind up.

I don’t think you have read a newspaper or  watched the news for a number of years. If you had you wouldn’t try to arrange a meeting between myself and the Labour Party.

But if they do want a meeting  I’m quite happy but it won’t stop me writing my articles on them.

Finding a photo of Rebecca Blake with a local  resident is like trying to find Big foot or the Loch Ness Monster.

So i have used ones available.

Another Councillor is Mark Shurmer who until Jacqui Smith lost her seat worked as her case worker along With Rebecca Blake.

Councillor Shurmer  now works for Jack Dromey, Labour MP,Who Received a Slap On Wrists From Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for”serious” failure to declare his work for the Unite union and £57,867 in payments.

The MP has apologised in parliament and has updated registers to show he received £30,000 after leaving his position as Deputy General Secretary of Unite to become a member of parliament and a further £27,867 payment.

It’s the second  time Mark has worked for an MP that has apologised in the House of Commons for breaching  Standards And Privileges Rules.

Redditch Labour Budget Proposal

I agree with most of Labours budget proposals, but i think it’s a bit  hypocritical of them to moan about £88,000 on consultants fees when they wasted £644,000 in just one year on a pop concert with z list acts.

Our Budget was about supporting as many people in Redditch as possible during these tough times.

  • When young people’s services are being cut by 55%,
  • When pensioners on fixed incomes feel the rise in fuel bills & VAT.
  • When disabled people are living in worse poverty than able-bodied people and having to now pay for parking at the Alex.

Pensioners, young people & disabled people are being hit hard by the Conservatives both locally and nationally.

This is why Labours Budget included bringing back free-swimming for the under 16s and the over 60s, to  make sure local people could enjoy the new Abbey Stadium & Kingsley Sports Centre, while benefiting from regular exercise, regardless of having less money in their pocket.

When the Tories at Borough & County Council decided to no longer fund bus travel for pre 9.30 for pensioners and disabled people, your Labour Councillors listened to the difficulties this caused these two groups. Pensioners reported problems getting to doctors and hospital appointments and disabled people had a number of issues trying to get to college or work.

Labour Councillors know the difference that getting out and about on the bus can make to people’s lives and have found funds to return free bus travel for pre – 9.30 for pensioners and disabled people.

When youth unemployment is over 1 million, your Labour Councillors want Redditch Borough Council to do more to help employ young people.

We have looked at services we contract out and can afford to create a job for an apprentice and which would save £22,000. This is just the start of how the Council can train local unemployed young people and give them a trade.  How we can afford this:

  • Withdraw the £88,600 for consultants that the Tories have budgeted for. In each of the next 3 years.
  • The Labour Party wasted £644,00 on an Air Festival in just one year when they controlled the council.

  • We would scrap the pay and display which cost the Conservative Council £2000 a year to collect the car parking fees!
  • We would not spend £17,000 a year to produce the Council magazine Redditch Matters. ( it cost £19,000 last year).

Our Budget balanced over 3 years and was checked and verified by the Redditch Borough Council Treasurer and spent less money than the Tories Budget.  The Labour Budget ensured Council Tax would not rise and Labour Councillors therefore voted to keep Council Tax at the same level as last year.  Unfortunately the Tories accused Labour of writing the budget on the back of a fag packet.

It’s a tragedy that the Tories do not understand they could make life easier for our young, old and disabled people if they supported our Budget to scrap wasting money on consultants and magazines.

Bill Hartnett

Leader of Labour Group of Redditch Council but lives in Bromsgrove.

Open Letter to Karen Lumley – Older People in Redditch from Becky Blake

But how can older people be telling her they are angry when the changes haven’t even come in to effect yet ?

Since the Budget nearly a month ago Redditch pensioners, who have worked hard all of their lives have been telling me that they are angry the Conservative Party are taxing them more while taxing millionaires less.

The so called ‘Granny Tax’ will see 4.4 million pensioners worse off, over 5000 of them in Redditch. How can it be fair for pensioners who are paying income tax to lose out on average £83 a year and up to £323, while 14,000 people earning over £1 million receive a tax cut?

Since the details of the budget have become clear, we now find our older people will be hit again by the cut to the Savings Credit Payment followed by it being scrapped altogether in 2016. This penalises pensioners who have modest incomes and have made provision for their retirement.

On Thursday last week you had a second chance to stand by Redditch pensioners who have worked hard all of their lives and vote against the government on the ‘Granny Tax’. Did you vote to support our older people in Redditch or vote to support the Conservative attack on pensioners?

Yours sincerely, Rebecca

Rebecca Blake: Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

Worcestershire County Council has announced the 15 finalists of its coveted Word Up competition – the search to find the county’s second young poet laureate. The 2011 winner Laura Dedicoat has had a fantastic year and is now established as one of the region’s best young poets.

Finalists will now be preparing to take part in the competition’s grand final to be held at Number 8 Theatre in Pershore on 27 January, where they will be asked to perform their poetry in front of a live audience and a panel of judges.

The judging panel, made up of Ruth Foster, Steve Wilson and Julie Andrews from the County Council, supported by professional poet Matt Windle, will be looking for someone with a unique talent for poetry who will embrace the role of Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate and promote poetry to others throughout the county.

Entrants were asked to write one poem on the subject of Games and another on any other topic. Over 50 entries were received by the judges and the short listing process has been described as ‘very tough’ by the one of the competition’s organisers, Natalie McVey.

Natalie said: “We’ve received a fantastic range of entries to our Word Up competition; all sorts of styles, themes and topics have been explored by our county’s budding poets. It has been a joy to read and judge them all, but was very tough to get them down to just 15.

“This competition has been a great way to encourage young people to explore their local library, get creative, improve their writing and hopefully catch the poetry bug.

“Everything’s set for a wonderful final!”

As well as taking the title of Worcestershire’s Young Poet Laureate 2012, the winner will receive a trophy and will be commissioned to write and perform poetry. They will also have their own poetry mentor for the year to support them through their role as the young poet laureate. Duties throughout the year will include acting as a poetry champion to encourage and inspire others to enjoy poems, write poems to celebrate special events in Worcestershire and perform at literary events.

For more information contact Steve Wilson, County Arts Officer on 01905 765754 or Natalie McVey, Service Development Coordinator on 07876 144905.

Conviction for dog fouling

A Redditch resident has been convicted by Redditch Magistrates for failing to pay a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice for dog fouling.

Lisa Jones, 43 years, of Brinklow Close, Matchborough West, was fined a total of £447.70 inclusive of legal costs after she pleaded guilty to allowing a dog to defecate on designated land and being a person in charge of the dog failing to remove faeces.

Magistrates heard that in October 2011 an Environmental Services Enforcement Officer on patrol in the car park of Washford Lane Sports Field saw a black and white Spaniel dog defecate on the footpath and grass verge at the side of the footpath in the field. The owner of the dog was subsequently identified to be Lisa Jones. The Officer eventually returned to the house and spoke to Lisa Jones. A £50 Fixed Penalty Notice was issued for the offence but she failed to pay the penalty within the fourteen days allowed resulting in this Court action.

A spokesperson for Redditch Borough Council said: “Dog fouling is not only unpleasant and anti-social, it is dangerous if not cleared. In some cases children and adults have been infected with Toxocara eggs and suffered from Toxocariasis which is an unpleasant illness. Above all it is avoidable if dog owners act responsibly.

“The simplest way of dealing with dog excrement is to scoop it up, put in a plastic bag and place it in a dog waste/litter bin, or take it home and dispose of it, wrapped up, in your domestic refuse. Although Enforcement Officers are proactive in Redditch, we do appreciate information from the public which helps us detect offences. Together we can keep Redditch a safer place for everyone.”

Anybody wishing to report incidents of dog fouling can speak in confidence to Enforcement Officers on (01527) 64252 ext. 3099.

Lisa Jones did not make an appearance before Redditch Magistrates Court on Tuesday 17th of January 2012 but pleaded guilty by post. She was fined £100, Ordered to pay victim surcharge in the sum of £15 and costs in the sum of £332.70 making a total of £447.70. A collection order was made. The total fine to be paid at the rate of £10 per week. Their Worships gave Lisa Jones credit in the sum of £80 for an early guilty plea before trial.

Remember this article

County Council asks people ‘if you spot a pothole, get in touch and report it online’

(But don’t expect them to do anything about it)

Worcestershire County Council is urging anyone in Worcestershire that spots a pothole on the roads to get in touch and report it.

The colder temperatures winter brings means this is the time when problems are most likely to occur on highway surfaces because of the freeze-thaw cycle – water freezing and expanding.

Gangs are out and about every day finding and fixing. Last year around 22,000 potholes were carried out on highways, whilst more than 120 miles worth of new road surface was laid in Worcestershire.

Residents can now use the County Council’s online reporting system at to alert the authority to any defects. The online facility allows users to key in the nature of the problem and its location as well as uploading images.

The prolonged sub-zero conditions experienced over the last three winter periods haven’t yet returned this time around but, if needed, plans are in place to deal with the inevitable in potholes rise if such weather occurred.

Cllr John Smith OBE, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Anyone who spots a pothole on the roads can play a part in getting it fixed by reporting it. It’s now easier than ever thanks to the simple and quick online reporting system at

“The teams that find and fix problems do a fantastic job all year round but it’s usually during the winter when they are at their busiest. As is always the case they’ll be out and about repairing roads in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

Anyone not able to log on to the website can also call the Worcestershire Hub on 0845 607 2005 to report any highways issues

Work to boost Bromsgrove High Street set to start by removing the trees

It must be catching as Neigbouring Redditch Borough Council has cut down Hundreds of trees (But only healthy ones) I’m sure they will tell me they were dangerous or dead but i can only go by what i have seen them doing.

The first step towards a new and improved High Street for Bromsgrove gets underway in February.

Funded by Bromsgrove District Council and Worcestershire County Council, the Bromsgrove Regeneration Project aims to improve the vitality and economic prosperity of the town. A big part of the scheme is to re-design the High Street improving access for shoppers and providing a much needed boost for market traders and retailers.

The new-look High Street will cost around £2million and should be completed next year (2013). But the first phase of the work will start next month – subject to approval – which will some trees based in the area between the Housman Statue through to Poundland and along Worcester Road to George House removed as part of preparations. Some of the trees being taken down are deteriorating, some obscure CCTV cameras due to their unsustainable locations and some cause accessibility problems for buildings and shops which potentially detract shoppers to the area.

The new design of the High Street is still being finalised but it is expected that each tree taken out will be replaced with new ones. Extra space, improved surfacing and better access to shops are other key priorities in the design. The layout of the market stalls and lighting in the area, including the seasonal decorations at Christmas, will all be improved too which will ultimately improve the experience for shoppers throughout the year.

Cllr Anthony Blagg, County Councillor for Bromsgrove Central, said: “The regeneration of Bromsgrove High Street will bring so many benefits for the town. It will improve the experience for residents, thus attracting more shoppers into the area which will inevitably provide retailers and market traders with a much needed boost. I am excited by the potential for this project and of the new designs for the High Street and while it will be sad to see these existing trees removed, the new designs will include new trees which means the overall scheme will not only improve the economic prospects of the town, but also ensures that the long-term environmental benefits are felt too.”

Bromsgrove District Council’s portfolio holder for the town centre, Cllr Del Booth, added: “Residents will know by now that we are going to give the High Street more than simply a better surface. The regeneration partnership is going to take this once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink the layout of our public realm, remove decades of clutter, make the shops more accessible to everyone and further improve the markets. The design is still being considered and will soon be subject to consultation.  In the meantime a number of works required to prepare the ground are set to be carried out, including drainage and tree works, which will all help to build a better Bromsgrove.”

The District Council’s Planning Committee will be asked to approve the plans to remove the trees when it meets on February 6th. If given the green light, this preparatory work will take place between February 7th and March 5th. All businesses and market traders in the area will be informed and there isn’t expected to be any disruption to the street market or shops’ opening arrangements.

TV’s Biggest Loser trainer to run sessions at Abbey Stadium

£6.5m Abbey Stadium with Swimming Pool Branded “Sick and Eerie” due to open On Monday 30th January

(Above exclusive picture of the new swimming pool in Redditch

( ©All rights reserved.)

Two of the UK’s hottest fitness experts are holding a full day of exercise sessions at Redditch’s revamped Abbey Stadium next week.

Trainer Richard Callender from the hit weight loss show The Biggest Loser, along with National Head Trainer for popular fitness techniques ‘Body Jam’ and ‘Body Combat’ Phil Harrison, will be running five sessions for residents keen to work with a leading trainer and catch a sneak peek of the new £6.5m facilities in the process.

Limited tickets for the event, which runs from 11am through to 4.45pm on Sunday January 29, are £15 and available from 01527 60206.

The sessions on the day will be:

  • Urban funk, dance based, 60 minutes
  • Total body workout, boxercise, 60 minutes
  • Total soulful stretch, 45 minutes
  • Body Combat, 60 minutes
  • Body Jam, 60 minutes

Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure Cllr Derek Taylor said: “This promises to be a great event ahead of the full reopening of the refurbished Abbey Stadium and swimming pool. Places on this day with Richard Callender are limited and in demand, so please don’t delay, book now.”

10 Creepiest Abandoned Morgues on Earth

PARENTS of a teenage girl who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) have donated lifesaving equipment to another Redditch school.

Lifesaving defibrillation equipment has been donated to Trinity High School and Sixth Form Centre by Robert Underwood and Margaret Prentice, from Redditch, in memory of their daughter Charlotte Marie Prentice Underwood who passed away from SADS in December 2010, aged just 16.

Her parents have worked tirelessly to back SADS UK’s campaign to put lifesaving defibrillators into all schools.

Arrow Vale Community High School has already benefitted from their generosity and the couple are keen for Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre to also have this lifesaving equipment in place.

Redditch MP Karen Lumley attended recent defibrillator training carried out by the West Midlands Ambulance Service and Mrs Lumley said she was keen to see defibrillators in place in more schools in the area.

A defibrillator is the only piece of equipment that will restore the heart rhythm. If a person goes into cardiac arrest it is crucial that the person is administered a therapeutic shock delivered by the defibrillator as quickly as possible. This gives the person the best chance of survival. The Automated External Defibrillator is easy to use by the layperson, providing voice prompts to the rescuer.

The charity SADS UK supports research into SADS and cardiac equipment in the community to help save lives.

Anne Jolly, Founder of SADS UK, the Ashley Jolly SAD Trust, said: “Robert and Margaret have been dedicated to raising funds to make lifesaving defibrillators available in schools in memory of their daughter Charlotte.

“SADS UK are pleased that Trinity High School will benefit from having a defibrillator on the premises to restart the heart if a pupil or person on the premises suffers a sudden cardiac arrest.”

Any schools wishing for more information on how to get a defibrillator and training should call Anne Jolly at SADS UK on 01277 811215, e-mail, or see

Jewellery Stolen In Redditch Burglary

Police are appealing for information about a burglary in Redditch in which a large quantity of jewellery was stolen.

It happened in Ravensmere Road between 7.20pm and 8.30pm yesterday, Thursday 19th January.

The offenders went into an unlocked porch then smashed glass in the front door, and searched both upstairs and downstairs and stole jewellery and music boxes, as well as items of jewellery.

The items taken included a matching ring and bracelet made of purple gold, which had a purple centre and gold rim, with two diamonds on either side. Purple gold can only be bought in Singapore.

They also took rings, diamonds and watches, including a broken gold watch inscribed with the name Ann on the clasp, along with a gold bangle engraved with the words To Diane, 21 Years of Happiness.

Other items stolen included a Thomas Sabo set comprising of a bracelet, earrings and pendent in turquoise and silver, a number of lockets containing locks of children’s hair, and three pearl necklaces.

Police are looking into whether the burglary is linked to another burglary in Redditch in which entry was also gained via an insecure porch and glass smashed in the front door.

It happened between 7.40pm and 10.25pm on Tuesday, 10th January, in Marlpit Lane, and items stolen included a gold and silver Tag Heuer watch worth £1,000, a ladies silver DKNY watch worth £100, a gold locket worth £150, and a mixture of gold and silver necklaces and bracelets.

PC Tom Birchley of West Mercia Police said: “The jewellery stolen in the Ravensmere Road burglary is particularly distinctive, and we are keen to hear from anyone who sees it offered for sale.

“Burglaries cause an enormous amount of distress to their victims, as often jewellery stolen is of sentimental as well as monetary value and is irreplaceable.

“Both of these burglaries took place in the evenings and porch doors were left insecure. We advise people to always lock their porch doors as well as their front doors when they go out. It is also worth leaving a light on.

“Neighbours can help by keeping an eye on suspicious people or vehicles, and taking a note of registration numbers. If they see or hear anything which gives them cause to think a burglary may be in progress, such the sound of glass smashing, they should contact police immediately on 999.”

Witnesses or anyone with information about the Ravensmere Road burglary are asked to contact PC Birchley on 0300 333 3000 quoting incident 592-s-190112 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.