Author Archives: Phil Bateman

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About Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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Billy Ellitts World Champion Ashmore Park!

 

Click on the link for the full story!

https://www.facebook.com/CouncillorPhilBatemanMBE/

Ashmore Park is known for its footballers, but the latest champion that it has delivered is a 12 year old boy called Billy Ellitts, who returned from the World Cup of dance with a World Champion title and a gold and silver medal. Billy was dancing for his titles in Braga in Portugal last week.

Aged just 12 and a pupil at Coppice High School, this lad has a major future. Wednesfield has many skills and talents but the cultural assets we have are largely unknown. We need to change this. I am as proud of Billy Ellitts as you can be. His family are supporting him well and I hope the rest of his community can also….well done Billy our World Champion

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City Links Are Wednesfield Bloomers!

 

Wednesfield in Bloom is really pleased that this Group have played such a great part in the current round of the Wednesfield in Bloom bid for a Heart of England Gold Award. City Links  is a disability group active in our community. They provide City wide day opportunities service providing people with support to pursue their interests whilst achieving their desired outcomes.

Operated by City of Wolverhampton Council their focus is to work with people to maximize their independence and gain skills.

City Links say “We use community locations, hubs, Libraries and leisure services across the City.

We work in partnership with other community groups to deliver sessions including The Way, Wolves Community Trust, Wolverhampton University at the Arena Theatre, Westcroft school, Northycote farm, Bantock park and public health.

Here City Links who meet at The Hub at Ashmore Park display their hard work. They have been working as a group for weeks now making flower displays for The Hub and Wednesfield in Bloom. They are an active Group that use The Hub regularly for meeting up and delivering their program of activities! They are Wednesfield Bloomers in every sense of the word!

Who to contact Telephone 01902 552065 01902 553323City Links 65901956_10218281126793105_91435747743105024_n

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My Thoughts on Wednesfield In Bloom 2019!

Well as we come towards the Wednesfield in Bloom judging day – there has been quite a lot of interest in what ‘The Bloomers’ have been trying to do all across Wednesfield this year.wednesfield in Bloom D93A1T0XYAAKBpL WIB2019 65900100_2735423363136840_100105762000338944_n

In short, all sorts of people, from all sorts of professions, have been working hard planning for the 5th July 2019 .

Yes, they have been pooling their ideas, their thoughts and then turning their time and energy into making Wednesfield in Bloom a real success.

So what is it that captures so many diverse people, to want to give up their time to deliver a better cleaner and brighter Wednesfield for all of us?

I think I know the answer, but I cannot be sure of the reason.

What I do know is that I have with my two fellow Councillors in Wednesfield North Mary and Rita Potter, have been working incessantly with other Volunteers  to deliver on a plan that will impress the Heart of England Judges.

This year we have expanded the area that we have been working on – to take in the Giant Housing Estate of Ashmore Park.

Wednesfield in Bloom has been working this year within a giant footprint.

The in-Bloom influence starts from Bentley Bridge Leisure Park through the retail Park, across the Amphitheatre into Wednesfield High street, out to Woodend and Ashmore Park in the North East of Wolverhampton.

It’s a massive area in geographical terms. Perhaps bigger than many of the town centres that surround us!

In four short years Wednesfield in Bloom has become massive in Wednesfield Village life.

All the resources to bring and deliver the flowers the preparation etc, have all come from Volunteers and the donations of individuals living in Wednesfield, business and commerce. It’s a tidal wave of energy that has again been unleashed and the work leaves behind happy and smiling people.

WIB has been a huge success, yes, we have won a Heart of England Silver Award on the first time of entry (2016) then a Gold award in 2017 followed by a Gold Award and Community Award in 2018!

But what has been achieved goes beyond that. It has led to a small army of people who have been willing to give their time free to make the area they live in better for others.

The Ashmore Park project this year has stirred much interest. Most of the comments have been encouraging and we have had huge local support for the massive amount of work we have undertaken from a standing start to impress the judges.

With 48 Hours to go I look back in amazement to see what has been achieved first here in Ashmore Park. All the shops in the Shopping Parade have taken part. There are flowers outside almost every shop front door. Bunting flies from the shop fronts, all the car parks have been swept and cleaned by Volunteers. Flowers are looking beautiful. All paid for by donation or by residents turning up with a geranium or something else that is colourful but they don’t know the flowers name..!

Almost everyday I have left with someone’s money given as a donation in my pocket!

Yes, there are a few siren voices that either cannot get what this is all about, or have some other political view.

Wednesfield in Bloom has become a mass movement because ordinary people want it to happen.

They enjoy people being nice to each other, working hard to transform or connect neighbourhoods. They like it when someone picks up litter. People also like the Flowers as they grow in the planters or from the hanging baskets.  Our wonderful flower displays connect people and places, flowers deliver joy and they are given when people are in sorrow.

 

This year here on Ashmore Park we decided that it would be a good idea to link WIB with a #ShopLocal campaign. Its been a great success. We are seeing more footfall on the Shopping Parade and that is good for Local Shops. Lots of people are coming down to take a look at what is happening. Yes, there are grumbles about other issues. But I want to thank the hundreds of well wishers that like what they see and what is happening in their sight. The people who have donated flowers money and other resources. Most of all I want to thank people for being nice to each other!

Mary and I have not given up working in the Village Centre either. We still tend the ‘Big Bed’ we chat with people from all over down there. Wednesfield in Bloom is exhausting, but it is on a roll! Now we are thinking about next year and what other project can be rolled into the proposals! Oh yes if you want to Volunteer….you will be most welcome!

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Ashma’s Billy Ellitts Is World Champion!

 

There is some great news coming out of Braga in Portugal today ( July 1st 2019) . Ashmore Parks own Billy Ellitts today danced his way into becoming a World Dance champion – in the Junior Show Dance Broadway Musical Category.

Winning the Gold Medal, Billy showed his skill and the competition was fierce.

Billy’s family and friends are ecstatic at the way this young man has danced his way to Gold for his country during this dance World Cup here in Portugal. He had already gained a silver medal with the team in a dance a little earlier in the World Cup,

Billy is a very talented individual, I am sure Wednesfield will make a very big fuss of him when he returns home later in the week.

If you would like to see Billy’s talent, he is down to Dance at the #Stuff4Steph Funday at the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade at around 10.00am on Saturday the 6th July! This is a free event come a long bring the family and enjoy yourself!

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Griffith Drive – Some Highway Improvements

Griffith Drive is the main circulatory route serving Ashmore Park. It is a key route for both HGV’s serving the local shopping Precincts and it is a major bus route for the City and other district centres. It provides penetration for personal travel for the estates residents, and It is heavily trafficked at certain times of the day.

It is also a source for concern at Local Police and Community Together meetings, because the highway is prone to be used for high speed activity. Especially outside peak hours.

Wednesfield North Councillors have been raising these issues over a long period of time, both with the Highways Engineers (Road Safety) and with Wednesfield Police team. Road Safety is a keenly debated issue amongst residents in Ashmore Park

Recently I have again pressed the City Council Highways team about instigating an audit of the highway. I am pleased to report that this has now been carried out. I am attaching the report I have received which whilst not fully covering off all the issues that have been raised, nevertheless does indicate some improvements will be made, with others earmarked for budget actions to come.

I am pleased that there is an understanding relating to highway maintenance issues now, though the repairs that will be required look to be significant. I am very pleased that there will be changes made to the signage, this will be flagged up as a ‘commitment’ which is progress indeed, and this will fall to be undertaken in this financial year.

The issues relating to personal injury and accidents is still an issue with me.

Whilst I understand what the City Officials say. This is a safety issue. And is very much an issue that residents feel strongly about. I have in previous correspondence with highways engineers questioned them on the relevance of the road safety measures currently in place on Griffith Drive. The Highways team remain committed to the fact that the existing traffic calming features remain appropriate. Plus the highway when measured against other highways locations in the City ‘performs adequately’. I am however pleased to note that there is some movement on this view by Officials in that  they have now agreed to look to see what opportunities can be made to  ‘make sensible changes to the traffic calming work when the maintenance work gets carried out in 2020 and 2021.’ That is indeed a very big step towards some changes taking place.

Here is what the correspondence I receive states-

Dear Councillor Bateman,I have now conducted a site visit with Alan Johnson, Highways Operations Manager to assess both maintenance and road safety issues on Griffiths Drive. 

Our observations were as follows: 

1.The carriageway surface dressing (top layer) has deteriorated in some locations; however the underlying structure of the road construction appears to be in generally good order. 

2.There is significant deformation of the surface material in most of the bus stops around Griffiths Drive.  This is likely to have been caused by the vibration of the bus when drivers overlay with their engines running to get back on schedule and will need significant reconstruction to resolve. 

Measures to address the above will require significant levels of repair and funding.  I have therefore asked Alan Johnson to include remedial works in his plans for the 2020/21 Capital Programme.  In the meantime, Alan has committed to carrying out some localised repairs at the worst locations, as soon as possible. 

3.It was also evident that some highway signage is in need of attention/replacement.  Alan will arrange for a full audit of signage to be undertaken around Griffiths Drive and take action to rectify as necessary during the 2019/20 financial year. 

4.Having visited Griffiths Drive, I have to agree with Adrian Dawson’s audit report that based on current recorded personal injury accident statistics (8 “slight” personal injury accidents in the last 5 years, as attached), and the current condition of the existing traffic calming features it is difficult to justify any major changes to the traffic calming when compared with other locations across the City.  We will however look to see if there are any opportunities to make sensible changes to the traffic calming when Alan carries out his maintenance works in 2020/21.” 

Finally, none of these changes will come about with out some significant changes in the highway being instigated. I fully expect that as the detail is made known new Traffic Regulation Orders may be instigated, and that may mean more Parking restrictions being introduced. But this is a matter for the medium term.

I will also tackle the Police about speed enforcement on Griffith Drive.

I know this response will not tick all the boxes for those residents that have a view on Griffith Drive. But it is substantial progress. I will continue to keep residents informed via my social media sites going forward.

 

 

 

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Ashma’s Own! Wins a Silver for England in the World Cup Dancing Championships

It’s great when you know someone who is currently doing very well! Today in Portugal one of Ashma’s own is taking part in the World Dancing Championships in Sunny Portugal! Billy Ellitts is a young man with a brilliant future in dance ahead of him.

Billy will be dancing on the Arena stage at 4.14 in the small group jazz category and then his ballet solo at 9.40 in the blue theatre. 

Hot off the press tonight  –  I am told by his parents that England have taken a Silver in the small Group Jazz category – with Billy in the team! I am so proud to know this talented individual and his family.

 

He is a brilliant dancer and a very nice young man. Later tonight he starts to perform in the ballet solos.

I want to wish him well!

And I am sure the whole of Ashmore Park, Wednesfield and Wolverhampton will be rooting for him tonight in his heats.

“Go Billy Go! ” – We Are So Proud of You!

You can see Billy dance live on Saturday 6th July on his return from Portugal at the #Stuff4Steph free Fun Day that the Ashmore Park CA are putting on the Moat and Shopping Parade just after  the Opening at around 10.00am.

Come and give Billy  a cheer for doing so well for his Dance Club and Country!

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Armed Forces Day in Wolverhampton.

It is Armed Forces Day in the UK today.

Here in Wolverhampton there is a free family entertainment on Saturday 29 June 2019 –

12 noon to 16.30.

The event kicks off with a Military Parade featuring Local serving personnel. This Will be led by the RAF Cosford Voluntary Band. There will be live music by the Misfortunes and The Replicas.

It’s a free family fun day hosted by Wednesfields own Dickie Dodd! Why not pop a long!

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Commonwealth Theme Chosen For Wednesfield in Bloom!

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The Commonwealth headed by the Queen has chosen for its 2019 theme ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.
 
In 2019 the UK with the Governments of the Commonwealth will mark the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, with the theme ‘A Connected Commonwealth’. This speaks of the enduring practical value and global engagement made possible as a result of the determination of our culturally diverse and widely dispersed family of nations to cooperate and work together in friendship and goodwill.
 
Here in Wednesfield we have chosen for our theme in the Heart of England in Bloom competition (2019) a big chunk of the Commonwealth statement.
 
The Commonwealth wants all the member Governments, governments, institutions and people connect at many levels, including through parliaments and universities, and communities to work together to protect our natural environment and the ocean which we share and that connects many of our nations shore to shore.
 
This fits nicely into what we are all about here in Wednesfield in Bloom!
 
Whilst the Queen encourages all her Governments worldwide to cooperate on trade to encourage inclusive economic empowerment for all people – particularly women and youth and marginalised communities.
Wednesfield in Bloom is doing something quite similar – but locally here in our Community.- 
 
We here in Wednesfield are promoting the local environment, creating a cleaner,greener Wednesfield. Encouraging young people to take part, and they have!  The young people of Wednesfield have been creating colourful plant holders from discarded Wellies ,litter picking, and planting flowers.
#ShopLocal We are also supporting ‘economic empowerment’ as the Queens statement encourages us to do. Please if you do come buy a small item for the dinner table or for a friend. Promoting trade here locally will reduce the carbon footprint and make the environment sweeter for all of us!
Wednesfield in Bloom is great fun,  Its been a great effort from our Volunteers this year, they have been brilliant Improving the environment bringing colour, and helping nature to play a part in our everyday lives. Yes people do like to see butterflies and Bumblebees pollinating their plants! 
We want the people of Wolverhampton and Wednesfield and Ashmore Park to come and look and see the Heart of England Inspectors walking the route, watch them inspect the work undertaken. They do like to see the community interest, So we want a lot of people to attend. Cheer them, clap them, and of course praise the Volunteers who have made it possible.
Finally I want to thank all the individuals that have given us flowers and resources to deliver what is a great community event.it’s been absolutely fab, Monies and plants have resourced this magnificent bid for for Gold. As well as making this little bit of Britain just magnificent for all of us!
I am so proud of every one of you and this great Community!
WEdnesfield North Councillors 2016

Private Rented Homes Are Growing!

 

Last night Mary and I attended the Vibrant and Sustainable City Scrutiny Panel.

It was an interesting meeting and amongst the papers delivered was a document that had the ‘Title -Private Homes Strategy 2019-2024.

The document set out the long-term implications and vision for  Wolverhampton.

It reflected the situation within the City now in many ways. The authors expect the City to continue to attract people from far and wide. They reminded us that there was a need for good quality homes to house a growing population.

Housing is central to the economic development of the City. The paper clearly pointed out that ambitious planning is required to deliver more and better homes.

It reminded those attending the meeting that improved housing conditions can save lives, prevent disease, increase the quality of life. At a time of depleting social housing and increased house prices the role of the private sector has been increasingly turned to by people living here in Wolverhampton.

I certainly agreed with a statement in the document that said it was Vital for the City to ensure that the private sector is rich with safe and secure accommodation, to promote health and the wellbeing of occupants.

Wolverhampton has a confident housing policy already that is designed to allow people searching for accommodation to Rent with Confidence. We have L&A Lettings in Ashmore Park, that reflect that title, and are amongst the best Agents in the private rental sector in the City.

It is a star rating scheme, and I believe that all the Councillors sat around the table last night were behind this approach. The private rented homes here in this City all through the 1980 and 1990’s was steady at around 10%. But the explosion in house prices, and then the rise in the Buy to Let market, has itself fuelled a huge growth in the private rental sector.

I was astonished to be informed that with 108,020 dwellings in Wolverhampton, that 56% are owner occupiers,18% are privately rented, 27% are socially rented. The privately rented home is quickly accelerating and there is a prediction that it will overtake the traditional way to a home via Council /Housing Associations soon.

Both Mary and I spoke up about the threat that Houses of Multiple Occupation in the private rented sector holds for communities such as ours. It was astonishing to be told that there are now 500,000 HMOS in the Country, and here in Wolverhampton we are moving closely towards having close to 1% of those here in our City.

We warned about the rise and rise of HMO’s.

The paper told that there was an estimate of there being more than 4,000 HMO’s in Wolverhampton. Out  of those numbers it was surprising to be informed that there are only 300 licenced . Officers state that there are at least another 200 HMO’s that need mandatory licences, and that the City of Wolverhampton need to proactively find, enforce and licence to ensure that these HMO’s meet the correct safety standards.

“Mary and I warned of the impact that HMO’s can have on stable communities. Communities that are rich in family, and then with lightening speed find a HMO in their midst. Community reaction is as you would expect is one of concern for safety and the protection of their families.”  

We urged officers and the planning regime about allowing these situations develop.

There is safety issues for our communities, and there is safety issues for those that live in this type of housing that is hazardous and does not have mandatory licences to operate.

Mary and I urged that where there is infringement that enforcement is delivered. There are penalties on criminal landlords of up to £30,000 per offence, as an alternative to prosecution. With repeat offenders being added onto a national database and local authorities being able to apply for banning orders.

Your Wednesfield North Councillors made our position very clear on HMO’s, we know from experience here in our Ward, the concerns that the residents have here. We need to remain vigilant  always. Be aware of a sudden influx of people using what were once family homes for multiple occupation.

If you have concerns about any such property in Wednesfield North. Please tell us!