The Year in Review 2022
The month started as it left off with Covid-19 still dominating our thoughts. This was what I wrote on January 6th- “I have been briefed today by City Officials. They inform that “Covid infection rates, driven largely by omicron, currently stand at just over 1,900 per 100,000 – for perspective, the previous highest during the pandemic was 1,100 per 100,000. On the 24th January we laid to rest – my long-time friend Ken Spence. Ken was a great guy, who over most of my early years ran our football Club. He was very instrumental in the lives of lots of footballers growing up in Wednesfield and in Wolverhampton. He was a former Secretary of Wolverhampton Sunday League, well known in the Working Men’s Club circle. Where he and wife Jean were Stewards at Chillington, Heath Town and Jones Road, and Springfield. During January- Mary and I turned out with other volunteers to plant a ‘Tiny Forest’ on the Ashmore Park.
Severn Trent- Severn Trent Water Company know there is a problem with low water pressure in the Wednesfield North area. They told me that they “have a plan to upgrade a local (booster) pumping station. This will require significant capital investment. This is the pumping station at the corner of Kitchen Lane. Severn Trent Water Company engineers are currently reviewing the options and the successful one will then be prioritised against other required upgrades on the network – they tell me that “we try very hard to deal with each situation in order of priority.” They went onto tell me that – ” the engineering solution won’t be a quick fix. It could take up to 2025 before we complete the work. In the meantime, however, our Network Control team will try very hard to manage the network in a way that minimises any impact on customers.”
With regards to the case work undertaken – We reported Paint that had been spilled Phillips Ave, and Knock Road which had been spread by motor vehicles On the 18th City Council sent a team with a high pressure washer using hot water, and every effort was made to clear the spillage. Faulty lamps in Howard Road were attended, also a repair made to lighting on the Shopping Parade.
This month also brought the funeral of Trade Unionist Jimmy Edwards, my former RMT Branch Secretary. Jim was awarded the BEM, for his services. He was a great Trade Unionist and we put him to rest on the 25th of Feb. This was the month I caught Covid -19 that then had me isolating for 12 days! There was more tree planting taking place, hundreds of new trees planted in this month on Ashmore Park, which Mary and I took part along with our community volunteers. Towards the end of February we were asked and we supported the Ashmore Inns campaign to get a further Defibrillator for the Ashmore Park estate. Great that the finance for this was largely by individual donation. Your Councillors -Cllr Mary Bateman with Cllr Rita Potter and Cllr Phil Bateman were able to source £400 of public money to add to the donations. What it means now is that there are two defibs open to public use, one at the Hub at Ashmore Park and plus one now also at The Ashmore Inn. Special congrats to the Ashmore Inn and its management and patrons having played such a key role in delivering it for public safety.
March – The water leak at the corner of Linthouse Lane has been finally tracked down. At that time it was being said that It is not a Severn Trent Water problem. It is a gulley issue. This is the responsibility of the City of Wolverhampton Council. I had been in touch with both Severn Trent Water company and the City Council since March. The good news is that I have now received a positive response from the City Council.
Saturday 26th March I wrote in my diary “What a great night I have had tonight. I have been awarded with my 50 years Rail Maritime and Transport badge receiving the badge direct from the General Secretary of RMT Mick Lynch,
April – In early April we had a Bye -Election in East Park Ward. All three Wednesfield North Councillors campaigned for Labour. The result was a new Councillor for East Park Lovinyer Daly! Four weeks after being informed about the leak in Linthouse lane was to be fixed! Water is still spewing onto the Linthouse Lane, and Severn Trent Water Company has not repaired the breach. Its now estimated that hundreds of gallons of water has swirled onto the Lane, and shop keepers as well pedestrian home owners have all had to suffer. Now pedestrians are saying the smells from the water are past a joke. The Severn Trent Water company responsible should be admonished for their indifference to the problem. This type of water leak is now a growing problem and is creating more pollution of the environment. Also plaguing the city was Covid. I gave the Covid-19 update by revealing a new update relating to the City Covid-19 infections on Friday evening 8th
There were 504.9 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last seven days. That means 1,328 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.
Following new guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), five to 11-year-olds with no underlying health conditions are now eligible for two doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Each vaccine is a third of the dose given to older children and adults, and will be administered 12 weeks apart. I went onto inform that appointments can be booked online via the National Booking System. Over 75s and clinically extremely vulnerable are eligible for a spring booster, and can book as above once they have been contacted about this.
May- Municipal Elections were on us. This month started well. With a great win for Mary and the Wednesfield North Labour Party. Mary netted 60% of the votes in a straight fight with Tony Gething of the Conservatives. It was a standout result for Mary. Labour consolidated its position and continues to control the City of Wolverhampton Council. My congratulations to Mary who works so hard for Wednesfield North.
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Mary Bateman* 1,358 60.82 +8.0
Tony Gething 875 39.18 -3.6
Majority 483 21.63
Away from the elections I highlighted a problem in this City of Wolverhampton and also here in Wednesfield North. There is a bunch of crooks on the rampage, stealing drain and gulley covers. At a cost £63,000 in replacement costs city wide. Rampaging drain robbers are the cause of 260 reported incidents of drain and gulley covers stolen. These criminal gangs need stopping because they are putting people and property at risk as they raid this safety ironwork for their own greed. I flagged this up as very much a Police matter, and I do not agree in a City Council policy that does not report these stolen items as a crime. I have spoken with Wednesfield Neighbourhood Police, and they inform me that they are visiting Scrap Yards and metal reclamation sites in the hope of locating the stolen property.
I got interested in this issue when it seemed that residents here in Wednesfield North were reporting these crimes to me with depressing regularity.
There have been 221 individual reports of drain incidents here in Wednesfield North during 2020-2021-2022 , and 28 items of ironwork had been lifted. That is a £6,300 replacement cost to the Counciltax payer in my Ward alone. Iron products.” I predicted that the Great Drain Robbery would continue until the Police are able to act and arrest the drain robbers. Better news was that New Homes were being constructed in Wednesfield North. We highlighted a construction project that was to start in Townson Road on Ashmore Park. Two – 2 bed homes are to be constructed in a former WH Garage site. These two homes are going to be added to the WH housing stock. We are in 5 of the City Councils “small sites programme” and this phase, will deliver 34 council homes across 11 sites within the City, five of those sites are here in Wednesfield North within the Ashmore Park estate. I know that people living here will want to know where these sites are. Here is the programme.
The sites at Ashmore Park are;
Townson Road former garage site – 2no 2 bedroom semi-detached houses
Simmons Road former garage site – 1no 2 bedroom bungalow
Wolmer Road former garage site – 2no 4 bedroom semi-detached houses
Southall Road former garage site – 2no 2 bedroom semi-detached houses
Woodside former garage site – 4no 1 bedroom apartments
During May We were requested to assist in helping volunteers who were raising funds to locate a defibrillator on the Linthouse estate. The organiser is a grand chap who with friends and neighbours are raising cash through sponsorship. We have pledged help in what sounds like a great project in saving lives. I have been trying to assist a person with disabilities into the school of choice. I am pleased to say that parents have achieved their objectives, and a school place, in the school of their choice, has been filled. I am pleased to have assisted as the stress has been severe for the parent and the child. We highlighted a Care worker shortage locally, and I have recently received a request from a Care company to assist. I have passed the matter onto the City Council. Since the start of the new Municipal Year in May 2022 – have logged 92 enquiries from you the constituents.
There have been two Planning Applications validated in the Wednesfield North Ward in the last 28 Days. They were in Shardlow Road where an application has been lodged for a detached two bed bungalow and Woodend Road where an application has been lodged for a Single storey rear extension. Council Tax rebates in Wednesfield North stand at 3,631 Paid with a total value of £544,650. There is an overall take up Rate 73.7% meaning around 1290 eligible payments have yet to be granted.
June – This was a difficult month for Wednesfield North -Crime issues dominated the community during this month. . Three men, aged 26, 37 and 39, were taken to hospitals across the West Midlands with multiple serious injuries. They were we were informed “life-changing injuries”. The three injured men, who are all from Wolverhampton, had just left a nearby pub when they were attacked by two men armed with knives. At that time, we were informed that all of the men knew each other. The Police informed were deep into the investigation of the frightening event they asked for anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information but do not want to give your name. They also indicated that there was a reward for information. Later in the month another Police incident woke Ashmore Park relating to an arrest in the early hours of the morning. I know that many of you locally in Kitchen Lane and Millbank Street and were awakened by the Police dealing with an incident in the very early hours of this morning. I spoke with the Police, at the time, and I informed that it related to a traffic incident which started in Staffordshire. The vehicle was eventually stopped d the driver arrested in Kitchen Lane. The Police had a number of Officers attend to conduct an area search. This incident in no way relates to the recent events that the Police were involved with regards to the stabbings, on Ashmore Park. We immediately sent lots of officers and medics, supported by firearms teams. Three men, aged 26, 37 and 39, were taken to hospitals across the West Midlands with multiple serious injuries. They continue to be treated for their life-changing injuries, today. The three injured men, who are all from Wolverhampton, had just left a nearby pub when they were attacked by two men armed with knives. At this time, we believe that all of the men know each other We have spoken to people who saw the crime happen, have started downloading CCTV and have looked at footage recorded on mobile phones. We have also had forensic teams in the area searching for evidence. We are actively searching for two men – dressed in black – who are suspected are being involved. Searches have taken place at multiple addresses in the city. If you can help our detectives, send them a message via Live Chat on the right of your screen quoting reference number 4513-240622
Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you have information but do not want to give your name. You may be entitled to a reward and the charity will never trace your call.
July – Councillor Phil Bateman and Cllr Rita Potter were requested to attend a meeting on the Green Belt development ‘North of Linthouse Lane ‘ at South Staffordshire District Council as the SSDC started to unveil what they said the site may potentially look like. We strongly underlined that we were against the option of a development yet again on that land. But being there enabled us to see and to envisage the thoughts, as they were outlined to the meeting. On Monday 11th July, your three Labour Councillors met with the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands. We invited him to Ashmore Park to make him aware of the crime problems, we have here in Wednesfield North and across Wednesfield. The Commissioner arrived at The Hub where we had arranged to meet. We introduced him to James Clarke the Chair of the Ashmore Park Community Association. All three of your Councillors were in attendance. We explained to the PCC that there just was not enough Neighbourhood Police officers in Wednesfield. We explained that whilst we were not a ‘high crime ‘ area, nevertheless crime hurt our residents, and they feel it is rising across the Ward. I explained that we felt that the WMP Communications fell short in explaining what the police were doing locally, that the information often when published and then carried in publications was often incorrect or misleading. We explained that there had been some high-profile crimes that had been carried out recently in the area that had knife issues at the core. This was a very important meeting for us as City Councillors. We made our thoughts very well known on behalf of the Community here in Wednesfield. With Covid-19 infection rates rising rapidly, residents are being urged to remain vigilant and are reminded that first, second and booster vaccinations are still widely available in Wolverhampton. Latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest that 1,829,100 people in England had Covid in the week up to 24 June – equivalent to 3.35% of the population or around one in 30 people. A week earlier, that rate was one in 40, marking an increase of around 30% in seven days in Wolverhampton, 434 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week, though with free testing no longer widely available, the true number of new cases is likely to be considerably higher.
August- I wrote about the concerns I had when this announcement was made “ UK households will pay almost triple the price to heat their homes this winter compared with a year ago, an unwelcome increase for millions of people already struggling to afford everyday essentials. I must admit that I worry for residents that live here in our Ward of Wednesfield North. Industry regulator Ofgem raised its cap on domestic energy bills to a record £3,549 ($4,189) beginning Oct. 1. That amount was expected to go even higher in January as the UK competes with other nations for limited gas supplies. So our Government will have to be on its toes to compete for the scarce supplies. That is what fills me with fear. This Conservative Government has no record to be proud of. Plus, we will have a new PM chosen by less than 200,000 people. It is a Winter of Woe that I fear for the UK, and all our local community. On the Good News front we reported on our partnership with Ashmore Park Community Centre and Social Sanctuary to bring Youth activity to Wednesfield North during this month. ” What a great relationship we have developed with Social Sanctuary, and our friends at Ashmore Park Community Association, as we came together this Summer to fund a Youth Club during the Six Week School Holiday, in a unique partnership. It has been a great success Wednesfield North!” Here is what Social Sanctuary have to say about the project. The Social Sanctuary Project has been providing sessions for 11- to 18-year-olds throughout the summer, focussing on activities that support the health and wellbeing of our city’s young people. The activities have been funded partly by Wednesfield North Councillors, Ashmore Park Community Association and funding from the Department for Education Holiday and Food (HAF) programme.
September – Was very much dominated by the death of Queen Elizabeth, Our Queen and Sovereign, Wednesfield North Councillors placed this message on our Social Media We are “sure constituents in Wednesfield North will want to join with your Councillors Phil and Mary Bateman, and Rita Potter in offering our deepest condolences to the Royal Family of HM Queen Elizabeth the Second, as the death of this much loved Queen was announced this early evening. Wednesfield has strong memories of Her Majesty’s visit to our Village in the 1960’s. Our Sovereign was our longest serving Monarch. Your Majesty – Rest in Peace, you served our Country well. ‘The people of Wednesfield will long remember you.’ The other big issue was the Police Pact Meeting held on the 21 September. The meeting was poorly attended but packed full of issues. Losing a PCSO, The Police team told of 5 Burglaries in Wednesfield North, and 1 robbery.
October – In October I was talking with small business in Wednesfield North. This time with shop keepers who are the life blood of our Local Community This Conservative Government and its economic policy is currently terrifying our retailers. I have heard horror stories from well-established small shops, about how the swinging increases in their utility Bills are affecting them, and which they are now being informed of from Utility suppliers. What they tell me is that they are not hearing, if anything from the Conservative Government about how they are to be offered help, and some protection. Shop keepers tell me this will be the death knell of their, business. The cost of energy alone will strip out many of our local shops and shopping precincts. If there is no help designed for them. This month also brought a delightful ceremony in the Library in Wednesfield where the Deputy Mayor Mike Hardacre unveiled a new cabinet that contains the success of the Wednesfield in Bloom volunteers. All their Heart of England Gold Awards and other Awards. Ashmore Park Bowls Club sent a message that they wanted new nd younger players to join them. Garage clean ups in Ryan Ave and Whiston Ave were called for by residents. The Graffiti team removed tags on the Public Information Boards after your councillors requested action on the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade. Crime issues came to the service after the August statistics were published on my Social Media sites. Spates of crime on Bentley Bridge relating to stolen motorbikes was published. Heavy rain on the 23rd October lead to some localised flooding. With water pressure so great drainage covers were blown off. The Autumn Dress hat for the Royal Mail Post Box was unveiled. It is super and residents loved it! Wednesfield Aces ran their Annual Championship Race on the 18th October. They told us that there was great racing and the Burgers were also great! This month also unveiled the poor bus service performance. NX in answering the criticism informed of lack of bus drivers locally. The NISA Shop on Ashmore Park donated over the last three years £7,000 to Wednesfield in Bloom, with this month’s donation. WIB volunteers were delighted with Kirp Bains and his team’s generosity.
November – Mary and I had a look at the new Civic Halls after its refurbishments and just before it is handed over in December to the management team running the events. It was spectacular! A row has broken out around the Garage site in Parry Road. Its in private hands and suddenly without planning permission there is CCTV erected. Wolverhampton North East Labour Party chooses Sureena Brackenridge as their Labour Party Candidate for the next General Election. Great choice a local candidate who originally lived on Ashmore Park, went to School on Ashmore Park, and then came back as Deputy Headteacher in Coppice High School. Your Councillors are very pleased with the Constituency selection! The owners have been informed they need planning permission and the cameras are to come down. Covid-19 vaccinations and pop-up clinics returned offering booster, first and second vaccinations. 24th November – Wolmer Road -road closure on the 28-30th The Christmas Lights in Wednesfield were launched, and it’s the Hands on Wednesfield Volunteers, who are the power behind this yearly activity. Wednesfield North Councillors thanked them for making the Lights a success for Wednesfield People. On The 20th November I was made aware of a collision with a lamp post in Measham way. No injuries, and no charges had been made with regards to this accident. We reported that Wolverhampton Housing stock had reduced to just 22,280 dwellings. The lack of housing stock available continues to be a source of concern. As local residents continue to require Council homes. Remembrance Day was supported, as we do each year by Rita, Mary and Myself. Once again really big attendance at St Thomas’s Church for the Sunday event. Well done Wednesfield you make us proud! We had some good news during November – As I announced the Birmingham Canal Navigation Cruises, would again stop over in Wednesfield in 2023. These canal boat cruises are very much welcome, as they boost the very Local Economy every time they arrive. Yet another road accident took place on Linthouse lane. No injuries had been reported.
December – ASB with Graffiti noticeably increasing across Wednesfield. Plus, the return of a team of criminals again stealing Drain Covers. Your Wednesfield Councillors submitted their response to the SSDC Public 19 Consultations objecting to the 2000 Homes to be built in Essington alongside our Boundary. We again publicly published our response on social media for the residents to see. We also again published information on the new Ward Boundary’s that had been decided by the Governments Boundary Commission for Wolverhampton City Council. Again, your Councillors reacted to case work, and a kerb that was out of line in Phillips Ave and was a traffic hazard was put back into place. We supported a #ShopLocal campaign in Wednesfield North. A debate broke out regarding the local fox population. The fact that it is it appears growing in size. With questions as to whose responsibility it is to control….I think we will hear more of this in 2023!.Your Councillors supported the Ashmore Park Choirs concert at St Thomas’s Church. This was the retirement of their music Director Terry Green after 50 Years of Service to our community. The city announced a new fly tip strategy for actions in 2023.The Council went to the High Court to apply tor an injunction to prevent ‘street Racing’ again this will spread into the New Year. We had a really cold snap the first of the year in early December. Resulting in a very difficult time for residents. Bins were missed as the bin men couldn’t get vehicles onto the states. The Police announced a new Police Operation – Operation Calibre on December 12th – aimed at tackling Neighbourhood Crime. Drain stealing taking place again at the end of the year! White paint spilt on the Shopping Parade Car Park causing havoc and reported.
From Councillors Mary Bateman and Councillor Rita Potter and myself Councillor Phil Bateman. May I wish you a Happy New Year and Hope 2023 is better for all of us than 2022 was !