Archive for February 29, 2012


The swimming pool branded “sick and eerie in Redditch
(photo simonpreston31 )

THE newly revamped Abbey Stadium has come under fire from a number of disabled people saying little or no thought has been given to them.

Sylvia North, who supports and helps disabled swimmers, said that facilities at the £6.5m stadium are not up to scratch and they are expected to swim alongside members of the public.

Disabled swimmers have been given lanes cordoned off intended solely for their use but members of the public are using them.

Mrs North said: “We used to get 45 minutes on a Thursday afternoon for free with no general public present at Hewell Road before it was closed.

We were promised the same when the new pool opened but that hasn’t happened.

“Now we’re expected to swim with the general public, most of whom have little knowledge of the special needs of disabled swimmers.”

She added: “All we ask is a little time and space to ourselves – we don’t think it’s that big an ask.”

Regular swimmer Ron Preston, who suffers from a muscular disease, said: “I just think there has been very little consideration for disabled people.

“It’s important for me to go swimming for my health but I’m worried about being knocked which doesn’t sound much but it could break my leg.“On top of that the facilities are not very good. The ramp to get into the pool is often broken, the wheelchairs are not very good and the lift to the gym is not working.”

The stadium was officially opened last week when a number of special guests including swimmer Jamie Salter, cut the ribbon.

Kim Mitchel said I cannot believe people are complaining that the new pool isn’t disabled friendly. i took harry last week and we were treated like royalty anything we needed in regards to harrys disability we got! access to the pool was brilliant no trouble with his wheelchair and we had a fantastic time!

A Redditch Council spokesman said the stadium was designed to be disabled friendly.

“While we had initial teething troubles with the platform hoist, this has now been resolved and the facilities, which include a high dependency changing places function and a special platform into the pool, far exceed what was provided at Hewell Road,” she said.

“The group has two lanes of the pool cordoned off for their use during a public session time and we did consult with the group’s representatives prior to making these changes.”

In an interview published in the Daily Mail Simon Preston,  said , ‘I think it’s disgusting, using burning bodies to heat a pool.

‘I don’t think anyone will use it and it will be closed down in 12 months if that’s the case.

‘The council says they have 90 per cent of people in favour of it but I don’t know who they have talked to because everyone I speak to about says they won’t use the pool.

‘The plans were leaked about two weeks ago and if that hadn’t happened I don’t think they would even have put it out for public consultation, and what “full” consultation can they have taken in that time?’

After i contacted the Daily Mail the story made headlines around the world i even did an interview for  radio stations in Canada.

when the plans were first announced i was critical in the international press and my views haven’t changed  and now that it’s built, finished, and open i haven’t changed my mind, so i won’t be using it.

My sister has used the pool and moaned how cold the water was.

1o  Creepiest Abandoned Morgues on Earth Sky news strange stories

By Simon Preston

The Leader of  Redditch Borough Council Carol Gandy said some of it could be used towards helping young people.

Residents will now meet with local groups, charities, the public sector and businesses to ensure the money is used to fund sustainable and vital projects over the next decade.

Funds could be allocated to social projects or training schemes where money can be reinvested in the community.

Each community was chosen as it has been affected by issues such as unemployment and has struggled to get financial support.

Seven communities in the West Midlands are among 50 in England to be awarded £1 million each in a Big Lottery Fund scheme.

The funding is part of the Lottery’s £200 million Big Local initiative, which gives residents the chance to decide how money is spent in their areas.

John Taylor, head of the West Midlands region, said: “This funding scheme is going to put residents in these areas at the heart of decision making and give them a real say in how to improve their local area.

“But more than that it’s going to strengthen these communities and help local people to build on their skills and experience so that they can continue to work together to overcome challenges, address local problems, and make a positive difference in their communities over the next ten years, and beyond.”

The scheme is being managed by the Local Trust organisation, which will support residents in making funding decisions.

Debbie Ladds, chief executive of the trust, said: “Big Local is an exciting community initiative working with residents, community groups and others in the Big Local areas across England to help them make their area an even better place to live. Local Trust will work with communities and a range of partner organisations to help them identify what matters most to them, and to take action to change things for the better.”

Leader of  Redditch Borough Council Carol Gandy said some of it could be used towards helping young people.

She said: “Now we can do some work on the ground with young people there and follow through on projects we have put on the back burner.”

Plans to rebuild the estate’s shopping centre are already in place.

Ms Gandy said: “Church Hill is an area that has had problems with anti-social behaviour.

“The money gives us opportunity to work alongside other agencies and ensure the people living there get some good youth activities and improved quality of life.”

Karen Lumley MP for Redditch County,  said she was extremely pleased to hear that £1 million will be invested into Church Hill in Redditch over a period of ten years as part of Big Local, a groundbreaking long-term Lottery programme to achieve lasting change in 150 small areas across England.

“ I am excited by the announcement from the Big Lottery Fund that there will be such a huge investment into Redditch over the coming years.

I am most enthusiastic about the fact that funding and support to the area will be delivered by the Local Trust, a new independent organisation set up by the Community Development Foundation and its consortium partners to run Big Local.

Local Trust will work closely with local residents so that they can have a real say into what issues should be a priority for funding.

The aim is to empower local people to improve the places in which they live in a sustainable and innovative way.

This is great news for the residents of Church Hill and is a fantastic opportunity for local local groups, charities, the public sector and local businesses and residents to work together for a brighter future in Redditch.”

My thoughts on the Lottery Funding for Church Hill

when i first heard of the news of  the Lottery funding i thought Church Hill needs the investment then alarm bells rang when i heard Redditch Borough Council were involved.

I think  they should of had the £1Million in one go rather than dribs and drabs over ten years as a lot of it will be eaten up with employing council officers with community cohesion in the job title.

The County Council got £900,000 to help disadvantaged families and the first thing they said was they plan to use it employing a team of ‘Trouble-Shooters’

The same thing will happen here.

I can see the Council re-writing it’s press release as we speak avoiding the words community cohesion .

 UK: Rolling stock leasing company Angel Trains confirmed on February 29 that it had signed contracts to procure and finance 20 four-car Class 350 Siemens Desiro electric multiple-units for London Midland and First TransPennine Express, ‘as part of a contract worth around £145m’.

‘The finalisation of these contracts with London Midland and TPE is a significant milestone’, said Angel Trains Chief Operating Officer Kevin Tribley. ‘The combining of orders for London Midland and TPE with an existing train specification means we can deliver value for money by reducing the whole-life cost of operating the fleets’.

From December 2013, London Midland is to receive 10 Class 350/3 EMUs, three of which will be deployed to increase capacity on the CrossCity line in Birmingham where the service frequency to Redditch is to be increased from two to three trains/h from December 2014. The remaining seven units will increase capacity on commuter services into London Euston, where modifications to the existing London Midland Desiro fleet will enable the maximum speed to be increased from 160 to 176 km/h, cutting off-peak journey times from the December 2012 timetable change.

With a different interior configuration to reflect the needs of long-distance passengers, the 10 Class 350/4 EMUs for TPE are to be deployed on services from Manchester Airport to Edinburgh and Glasgow, following completion of infill electrification between Manchester and the West Coast Main Line south of Wigan. This will enable Class 185 Desiro DMUs to be cascaded to increase capacity elsewhere on the TPE network.

Leasing and operation of the new Desiros is being funded by an increase in support paid by the Department for Transport to the London Midland and TPE franchises, worth £41m. The agreement with TPE includes electrification of the depot at Ardwick in Manchester which is to maintain the Desiro EMUs.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said that the additional trains were ‘a key part of the major programme of rail capacity expansion we have promised to deliver’. In addition to responding to ‘passenger concerns’ about overcrowding, they would provide ‘an important stimulus to economic growth’, she added.

GKN sales up £683 million and £444 million for new acquisitions

I asked  Redditch based GKN for a statement and they sent me 37 pages of figures and it’s very good news heres the basics.
GKN has lifted its profits after taking over two German companies last year.
Full year sales were up 13% for GKN, delivering a 15% boost in profitability for the UK-based automotive and aerospace parts company.
The FTSE 100 listed company delivered a 20% boost in share dividends (LSE: GKN), whilst full year share values rose 9% to 22.6p.
“2011 was a year of good growth,” comments Nigel Stein, GKN Chief Executive. “GKN achieved a strong financial performance with all four divisions at or near record profits.
“Each division has leading technology and market positions and out-performed their respective markets, with a strong pipeline of new business. GKN Driveline and GKN Land Systems were further strengthened with the two highly complementary acquisitions of Getrag Driveline Products and Stromag.
Financial highlights include: • Group sales up £683 million (13%) to £6.1 billion, an underlying increase of 10% • Excluding net £19 million Gallatin charge: o Trading profit of £487 million, up £76 million, an increase of 18% o Group trading margin of 8.0%, up from 7.6%, and increased targets set for three divisions • Profit before tax of £417 million (2010: £363 million), an increase of 15%. Reported profit before tax, £351 million (2010: £345 million) • Earnings per share up 9% to 22.6 pence per share (2010: 20.7 pence per share) • Return on average invested capital (excluding 2011 acquisitions) of 18.3% (2010: 17.0%), reflecting higher profitability • Final dividend of 4.0 pence per share, giving a total for 2011 of 6.0 pence per share (2010: 5.0 pence per share), a 20% increase • Net debt of £538 million (2010: £151 million), reflecting £444 million for new acquisitions

Sales rose strongly in all of the group’s four main divisions, but growth in its aerospace operation was dampened by US military spending cutbacks.

Its UK pension deficit also widened by £188m to £259m. GKN took over German company Getrag in a £283m deal, making it a world leader in components for off-road vehicles such as Jeeps

Analysts speculate that GKN, which is interested in strategic acquisitions in aerospace and land systems, might be looking at Volvo’s aero division.