Category Archives: Latest News

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Want To Watch A Few Birds on The Wyrley & Essington Canal?

 

Now here is a delight! The Wyrley and Essington Canal is one of Britain’s latest Local Nature Reserves. We have campaigned long and hard for it since 2007. In April this year the coveted arrangement was announced, by City of Wolverhampton the LNR  will then be managed by https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/

Now to coincide with The Wednesfield Canal Festival taking place once again at Bentley Bridge. We have a treat waiting for you!

if you are interested in wanting to find out more about this  canal’s birds and water foul,  I am  excited to announce  that we are negotiating to bring to the Wednesfield Canal Festival on Saturday 10th August at 10.30 am, a local experienced birdwatcher who will give a talk with a walk, to a group interested to find out about about ‘birds of the canal’.

If you are interested – then you will meet with me at The  Nickelodeon around 10.20am and then I will introduce you to the guide and you will have an hours bird watching walk.

 Its my belief that the Canal Festival has been so very lucky in being able to capture  Theresa Dorrance who is a Board member at Wildside. She is also Chair of the South West Staffordshire RSPB Group. I am delighted that we are in the negotiations to deliver this event with Theresa,  because I am sure it will be more than interesting for all those that love to know about the birds that frequent our fabulous Cut!

Please so that I can get a feel for numbers please let me know if you are interested in attending this event.

email me at email@philbateman.com 

National Express Deal Will Save Transport Jobs & Services!

Councillor Phil Bateman said today” I have read this news with great relief. If the proposed sale does go through. It will save jobs here in the West Midlands conurbation, and more than that it will provide continued accessible services for people with disabilities. Its good news for Wednesfield residents and others in Wolverhampton, and good news for the rest of the citizens in the West Midlands conurbation. Well done David Bradford!I am sure it will be a good fit.

PROPOSED SALE COULD SAVE HUNDREDS OF JOBS

   Midlands  Deals
Proposed sale could save hundreds of jobs

More than 700 jobs could be saved after a deal to sell a West Midlands transport group out of administration was agreed with a subsidiary of National Express.

Matthew Ingram and Tyrone Courtman, both of Duff & Phelps, were appointed joint administrators of Accessible Transport Group, Ring and Ride West Midlands and ATG Contract Services in March.

The charities provide accessible transport services for people in the West Midlands who experience mobility impairment or social isolation in urban and rural environments. They operate more than 600 vehicles from nine depots in the region.

The services will be provided by West Midlands Accessible Transport, a subsidiary of National Express. The contract is to begin in September.

Ingram said: “We have today commenced advising the union and the employees of the details of our proposed sale of the business and assets of the charities to a national transport provider.

“The deal we have negotiated will provide a stable financial platform, ensuring the long-term provision of these vital services across the West Midlands.

“This could not have been achieved without the support of all the employees, Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands, ensuring a continued service whilst the Joint Administrators explored the viable options following their appointment.

“We are very grateful to them for that support and will now seek to conclude the sale as soon as practicably possible to provide certainty to them and all users of the services they provide.”

David Bradford, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “I’m very happy to be welcoming ATG employees into the National Express family of businesses.

“We are fully committed to this company – we’ll be investing in the service, including innovative technology for safer journeys, and most importantly, in the people.

“As a proud Living Wage Foundation-accredited employer, we will of course be paying all our new staff the real Living Wage.

“Here in the West Midlands, National Express takes nearly a million passengers every day to work, school, college, to the shops and to see their friends. National Express also already runs many similar services to ATG in America – we will combine this expertise with our deep local knowledge.

“Our focus is always on delivering a safe and reliable service. So we think National Express is a really good fit to build on the great service that’s already being delivered here, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”

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Latest – Linthouse Lane & Kitchen Lane

I just want to make things as clear as possible about the issues relating to the potential of building homes on South Staffordshire land that fronts Linthouse Lane and Kitchen Lane. I have written a number of information notes  on this web site and my other Social Media sites. I have done this since I found out about the Greenbelt threats, back in April 2018. These comments have been reported widely in media and other outlets. Our intention is to keep Wednesfield residents informed of news relating to the Greenbelt.

First the land in question lies in South Staffordshire and not in the City of Wolverhampton. The Planning Authority is South Staffordshire and Staffordshire County Council. It is these Authorities that will be the primary authorities dealing with developments inside Staffordshire.

I have always tried to ensure that we place information here in Wednesfield North where Local Residents can read and avail themselves of the all latest proposals.

Last year on the 18th April 2018, I informed Wednesfield North residents of South Staffordshire plans that could lead to new homes being constructed on what is currently Green Belt land in South Staffordshire. This land is within the Staffordshire boundary, but fronting Kitchen Lane and Linthouse Lane.

That message in April 2018 last year was primarily aimed at Wednesfield North constituents who have an interest, or who are interested in the announced proposal by developers to build 2,500 homes on what is current ‘Green Belt’ land within the Parish of Essington and within the District Boundary of South Staffordshire D.C.

At that time South Staffordshire District Council were still finalising work on their current Site Allocations document (SAD) but then they switched and began working on the review of their Local Plan.

This document was to set out strategic growth options for South Staffordshire and consider what levels of growth can be accommodated.  They further informed me that they were updating their Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) which will contain all the sites suggested to them (including Linthouse Lane) and this will be the starting point for site options.

Wednesfield North City Councillors Mary Bateman, Phil Bateman, and Rita Potter have asked that their contact details be added to South Staffordshire District Councils Local Plan database, and that means that we will receive automatic updates on local planning matters.

I went onto urge any of our Wednesfield North constituents or local residents in Wednesfield who wish to be added to the database, to do so, by sending their email address to localplans@sstaffs.gov.uk .

What is being waited for is the  next stage, South Staffordshire’s work which is based on their “Preferred Options Consultation”, which was  programmed to be ready for  March/April 2020.”

Clearly there is still some work taking place, in Staffordshire

Importantly the consultation has yet to start. So if you are an interested person – or a local residents to email and ask that your names and interests are addressed when the South Staffordshire Plan starts to relate to proposals.

The email address is  localplans@sstaffs.gov.uk. Please do not contact me. Its South Staffordshire DC who are working on the planning issues within their Borough and Districts..

In the meantime, until we see what is being proposed it’s important that we do not start shouting and demanding until we know what is down in Black and White.

Residents should know that in every forum that deals with strategic planning in Wolverhampton. We have continued to ensure that City of Wolverhampton Officials know how strong local feelings in Wednesfield are – against the information that is being discussed about the erosion of this much loved Greenbelt.

Mary and I attended a City of Wolverhampton Vibrant City Scrutiny Panel, where the future of Wolverhampton Housing strategy was discussed by City Councillors. It was a good opportunity in a public forum in Wolverhampton to set some of the strong views we know are being aired in Wednesfield – into the public record in City of Wolverhampton.

There is a big Governmental push being organised over the next decade for more housing to be constructed across the nation. Here is what was being discussed on the 11th April 2019.

The Government has set a housing target nationally of 300,000 new homes per year by 2026.

The Government have set out where their priority locations are for new homes.

As part of the targets it is anticipated that 50,000 new houses will be needed across the West Midlands conurbation. The seven district and City Councils, have set themselves in what is the Black Country Core Strategy, a further target of 63,000 additional homes to be delivered over the period 2006-26 to accommodate the conurbations growing population.

Currently the City Council own around 22,000 homes through its Wolverhampton Homes company.

The target for new dwellings in Wolverhampton is set at 13,400 homes or 640 homes each year. 5640 homes have been built up until 2018. Wolverhampton is 16% above the target

The Black Country strategy aims to provide a minimum 550 new affordable homes each year.

Much of Wolverhampton commitment for new homes will be based in three action areas.  Bilston corridor, Stafford Road area action plan, and Wolverhampton City Centre action planning area.

There are currently smaller sites that are being developed in Wednesfield the newly announced Marches site in Lakefield Road (246 dwellings) and the Danesmore site 52 homes now almost completed in Ashmore Park.

South Staffordshire District Council also has a housing plan. That is currently being put together and it will I am informed be ready for consultation soon. It is this plan that holds the most contentious issues for Wednesfield.

Its known already that people from Wolverhampton have been moving towards South Staffordshire for a number of years statistics inform us that between 2013-2017 6,240 people moved from our city to South Staffordshire that is 12% of all moves. With 4,460 making the move in the opposite direction.

It was against this backdrop that both Mary and I warned the Scrutiny Board to be aware of our growing concern about developers eyeing the current green belt and agricultural land that runs the boundary between Essington and Wednesfield.

We warned that the local residents in Wednesfield North were very strongly against the loss of what they see as the Wednesfield and Wolverhampton North Easts ‘Green Lungs’.

It is proposals being mooted by developers that first alerted us to the suggestion  that they want to build 2,500 homes within South Staffordshire but on land that is used and enjoyed by Wolverhampton and Wednesfield residents for leisure amenity, wildlife and heritage walks.

This land is fronted by Linthouse Lane and Kitchen Lane and Woodend Road.

Mary and I warned our colleagues on the Scrutiny Panel on the 11th April 2019 that this type of action would be very much withstood by the three Wednesfield North Councillors. We told the Panel that we are waiting to see what the South Staffordshire plans actually says.

We informed the panel that whilst we were in favour of using ‘brownfield’ site for building new homes. We were very much against the loss of Green Belt amenity in an area like Wednesfield which already suffers from below average green space.

I also warned the Panel that it was dangerous to bring a Housing and Strategy briefing note and presentation, to the Panel. When the important South Staffordshire Preferred Option Consultation paper was not amongst the briefing notes for Panel consideration. Mary and I spoke powerfully with regards to this issue. We requested Wolverhampton’s officers go back and amend proposals reflecting the statement and review the comments that your Wednesfield North Councillors made.”

South Staffordshire will use the results of their study, and other evidence they have commissioned separately, to select preferred sites for their next stage of consultation.

The next stage is the “Preferred Options Consultation”, which was programmed Is I understand for March/April 2020.

We will keep residents informed as the information becomes available. On July 9th 2019  I met Jenny Lewington of Wolverhampton Homes Housing Strategy team. Where I asked if there was any further information that was available about these issues. – There was not any relevant new information.

I hope this Blog helps interested persons to be aware of the situation as it is today.

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Pick Pockets Strike in Wednesfield High Street!

West Midlands Police inform me that –

“It is with regret that I have to report that an elderly member of our community was the victim of pick pocketing in Wednesfield High Street whilst going about her daily business, whilst being distracted, she had her purse taken which contained a substantial amount of money, fortunately there was no physical harm.”
The police statement urged  “As and when we can, can we all try and accompany people, to cash points especially of the older generation who seem to be targeted by these criminals, and maybe even spend an hour or so out shopping with them.
On this occasion the offenders were described as being of an Eastern European background, the male being tall and slim wearing dark clothing and the female was also quite tall with light purple hair and draping a cardigan over her arm.
The usual Modus Operandi (method) of these criminals is to watch potential victims going to a cash points, then follow their targets into shops, where they wait for the right opportunity to strike, they often make out they are trying to help the victim, but in reality they are just setting them up for distraction.”
Councillor Phil Bateman said. This is an important message, please if you may have seen these people out and about in Wednesfield please telephone the Police. Also if you can ensure that your friends and family have some company when using the cash machines.

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50 – Volunteers Clean The Canal!

 

Well yesterday on the banks of the ‘Curly – Wurly’ (The Wyrley & Essington Canal) at Bentley Bridge Wednesfield. I was blown away when more than 50 Volunteers joined Cllr Mary Bateman and I to take part in a litter pick.

I had made arrangements with the Canal & River Trust a few weeks ago to pick litter from the canal before the Wednesfield Canal Festival kicked off on the 10 7 11 August.

On Saturday 13th July 2019. Mary and I turned up expecting a huge and magnificent 40 Volunteers who had contacted me to say that they would be joining with me and Cllr Mary Bateman for the litter pick.

Imagine my surprise as we gathered to find even more people turning up to help even as we started just after 9.00am, on a dull, misty sort of day, with little rain showers taking place.

It was an incredible army of young and old, families with children, individuals., even the Deputy Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Greg Brackenridge joined in, before he had to go and officiate at the opening of Wodenstock later that day.

I want to thank everyone of you for coming to help us, in what is the UK’s latest Local Nature Reserve. I was bubbling with excitement when I met up with you all!

In the last few weeks CRT have cleared rubbish and other items from the canal.

They started from the stretch of the canal in the City Centre, right up to the Bentley Bridge – New Cross Bridge. We extended that run with the leg we undertook on Sunday. Our merry band of warriors cleared the stretch from Bentley Bridge out towards and up to the Devils Elbow bridge in Wednesfield.

Amongst the Volunteers were a twelve strong group of men and women from the McDonalds Restaurant chain. They were the staff of the Wednesfield and Wolverhampton restaurant on the Stafford Road. They took the Volunteers off at a tremendous speed!

What a boost ‘Team McDonalds’ arriving gave me, though I was saddened to learn of a minor injury a team member suffered during the morning that needed hospital treatment.

I was however delighted that a big multi-national company had joined the great canal litter pick here in Wednesfield – The litter pick took four hours to complete and the feedback was constant.  Shopping Trolleys were heaved out of the canal, Mattresses, plastic bag, after plastic bag, steel poles, nasty bags, with stinking remains of goodness knows what, were picked from the banks and the water UGH! We even cleaned up drug paraphernalia and needles, they went into a Sharps box for disposal later.

But the huge efforts the Volunteers made were ultimately to preserve the wildflowers and the Wildlife on what is one of the United Kingdom’s latest Local Nature Reserves.

Two CRT staff were in attendance – and I thank the CRT Staff – Chris Holdsworth & Barry Ketley because with out them we would not have been able to do all that we did.

When we finished the litter pick, we had filled a boat with rubbish and scrap metal, plastic by the bag load, bottles and even a knife! Yet I have been badgered by all those that took part to agree to do it all again before the year ends! So, I will, and with that I want to once again thank everyone that came to take a look, and to take part.

You were all magnificent – Finally I met with Nigel Garton a West End Actor – Nigel is in my ‘Ashmore Park Walk of Stars’ which is designed to act as an inspiration for others.

Nigel is amongst other famous people who have gone onto become the best in their field, and who have strong links to Ashmore Park. Nigel gave his time up to Volunteer on Sunday, to make our little corner of the Planet that little bit more acceptable for habitation.

It was a great day! We will do it all again soon!

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Ashmore Park Coal Shaft- Needs Remedial Treatment

 

Wolverhampton City Council have contacted me today following actions being taken by the Coal Authority. The City Council tell me they have recently been contacted by The Coal Authority regarding mineshaft treatment works they are carrying out next week (commencing 15th July) to a suspected shaft located on the playground area in the north of the Ashmore Park (please see attached draft traffic management plan, which includes working hours).

The works will involve occupying an area of the car park and the playground, with an anticipated duration of two weeks, although this could be longer depending on the shaft infill conditions.  The full works area will be fully fenced off, which will include the skate park, with full reinstatement on completion of the works.

Parking provision on the car park will be restricted, but we have stated that accesses to a minimum 5 No car parking spaces needs to be maintained for the public during this works, although I understand that the marked disabled parking bays will not be available during this time.

I understand that additional parking is available in the car park to south of the park.

The City Council apologies for the short notice of this works, which is under the management and financing of the Coal Authority under their statutory duties, with provision of an access license from the Council.

If there is any further information I will of course publish it for public view.

 

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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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The Tram Should Serve The New Molineux!

 

 

With a new municipal year starting, and with a new political Leadership firmly in place at the City of Wolverhampton. I feel strongly that now is very much the time that the City Council should be bold,

My arguments that we should have a strong and resilient public transport system which included trams has been one that I have proposed for decades. As we open our eyes to a new day, and a new Municipal Year, the politicians must listen to the call from the fans of the city football club, and its owners.

Having had the debate about moving the club from the City Centre, the owners have firmly come down into the decision of staying on the present site and developing it. That means a successful football club will attract more fans both from within the City and outside of the city. This is good news for our own economic base and specifically in the retail sectors, hotels and tourism, and the transport and leisure services here in our City.

The City and the West Midlands Combined Authority are developing quite rightly a new City based transportation Hub. This Hub is based on a new Heavy Rail station already under construction in the City Centre, with new tram links to the station and the Local bus station. Over the next decade we expect to see more people over the period arriving into Wolverhampton by train, bus, and tram.

If I have read the city correctly – there is huge excitement about the plans now being openly discussed about the new direction the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club are heading.

Fosun the owners of Wolverhampton Wanderers and with the Directors of the Football Club, are striving to provide, a bigger and better stadium. A Club that excites on the football pitch with even more and better success, both as a sporting Club, and also as a business.

My argument is that as a Wolverhampton City Council, we  should also be using this time to also start developing plans to  introduce the Midlands Metro Light Rail System into the street scene in the heart of our City Centre to create the sort of transportation system that will help serve the new Wolves stadium over the next thirty years or so.?

I have written and spoken thousands of words about Wolverhampton and the West Midlands needs to ensure that they build the transport requirements that give future prosperity to our conurbation, and here in Wolverhampton over the last 38 years.

Its clear that the Molineux is now going to be transformed as a stadium, it will have even bigger crowds, than it gets now. Plus, when it reaches the heights the owners and the fans are projecting. It will need an efficient transportation system to bring them and take them away back into the City Centre and the transportation hubs without creating more traffic jams and highway delays, and damaging the air quality and the environment.

With climate change causing massive concerns its important that this City own visions are as bold as the Wolverhampton Wanderers football club is. Wolverhampton needs to start planning for a new tram link from the rail station through to the new Molineux and out towards the M54 and the new planned and proposed sites for industry and Staffordshire’s proposed new housing developments on our City boundaries.

We need two new lines to serve our own Cities needs. We need an extension of the Metro line into serving New Cross, and Wednesfield, and able to link with Walsall. We also need the metro to deliver a new line from the transportation hub out to the Molineux and down to the Fordhouses area.

I really do hope that we will be brave and start the process to ensure that these two lines are started.

We cannot just leave our current tram system as it is. That would be a huge dereliction of duty by our political leaders.

Wolverhampton needs strong vision, and plans to overcome the decline in fossil fuels, and strong policies to develop climate friendly policies that enhance our city and its transportation requirements…both today and over the next thirty years!

Ashmore Park ‘Walk of Stars’.

Ashmore Park Walk of Stars!

Today the 12th December 2018 – We announce the twentieth person who has entered our magnificent Ashmore Park Walk of Stars!

Ashmore Park is a great community, and Ashmore Parker’s are great folk! The estate has always fostered good sportsmen and women. But not everyone is aware that the estate has nurtured other great talents also.

I have represented Ashmore Parkers and Wednesfield people on two Councils for some 32 years! I lived on Ashmore Park in the early part of my life and my sister Eileen still does. I went to school on the estate and I have had the great fortune to be involved in every day estate life, for decades.
One of my constituents Ian Eastaugh tapped out a message on my Face Book Page suggesting we had a roll of honour for ‘famous Ashmore Parker’s!

I thought it was a great idea, I knew about the decent amateur footballers that the estate produced like Brian Blower and Arthur (Archie) Richards, Steve Williams and his brother professional footballer Gary Williams, and Sean O’Driscoll. But what other Ashmore Parker had become ‘famous in their field’!

I decided to turn to the World Wide Web. It is a wonderful tool, I asked through my Face Book page for Ashmore Parkers, to tell me who they thought should be recognised in some public way!

Here are the names and professions of people who have made it to this list! Its breadth will blow you away. I do hope that this Walk of Stars initiative will help to inspire Ashmore Park youngsters.

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Willard Wigan MBE (Already in the Ashmore Park Walk of Stars) receiving a Wolverhampton Famous Sons & Daughters Award from George Cross holder Lisa Webb (nee Potts) at an Awards Evening in Wolverhampton 9 Nov 2017.

Here are the 20 names of people who are our Ashmore Park Stars, but not in any particular order

  •  Professor David Rayson – Artist – London Royal College of Art. David was appointed Professor and Head of Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2006. He is a practising artist, tutor and curator and his work has been exhibited widely in the UK and internationally. His work is included in major collections held by the Tate, Whitechapel Art Gallery, the British Council, Deutsche Bank, Rubell Family Collection, The Open University and The Contemporary Art Society.
  •  Tony Milovsorov –Athlete run for Tipton Harriers lived and went to school on Ashmore Park, he took part in World Cross Country Championships.
  • Phil Palmer – Is a legend on the estate with his Musicland Shop. He has given countless children and their families an introduction into the world of music. Bringing pleasure to many and in some cases sparking music talent that is being displayed much wider than in just our locality. Phil has played for royalty and appeared at top notch venues around the UK and abroad displaying his own music talent. He may not live on Ashmore Park, but he is certainly PART of Ashmore Park. A former Military man, who went onto win a Guinness World Record for the longest note blown. Follow the link to see the BBC Midlands Today film taken at the time…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOSiPgiXe6M
  • Sean O’Driscoll- Footballer, and one of the best known Football Manager’s in the UK
  • Karl Henry who played football for the Stoke, Wolves and QPR. He lived in Ashmore Park and went to St Alban’s School.
  • Gary Williams Aston Villa footballer & brother of
  • Steve Williams who played for Walsall
  •  Barrie Gower- Went to Coppice High School, Barrie has been involved with many productions for both TV and Film including the Harry Potter series and most recently HBO’s Game of Thrones. He also contributed to Academy award winning makeups for The Wolfman and The Iron Lady.
  • Roger Ellis World Cycle Speedway Champion – Roger rode for Wednesfield Aces and his home is on Ashmore Park!
  • Willard Wigan MBE a sculptor- Known for his miniature sculptures, fabulous eye! His work has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. His sculptors are typically placed in the eye of a needle! He was commissioned to create the Coronation Crown on the head of a pin! In celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth the Second.
  • Adrian Anslow – fell during an attack on the Atlantic Conveyor in the Falklands War. Much admired and courageous military man. His family received an Elizabeth Cross medal in his honour,
  • Beatrice Cattermole legendary Head Teacher of Ashmore Park Primary School – Influenced hundreds of Ashmore Parkers and was held in great esteem
  • Terry Green teacher- Fund raiser and Local Choir Master – Once again a teacher held in high esteem. for his work at Coppice High School
  • Nigel Garton – West End Actor,stage and character actor
  • Ian Mason- died serving his Country •
  • Annie Wildey – International Artist now living in New York
  • Kenny Rock – Comedy scriptwriter an Ashmore Parker who is a script writer to the stars! – which includes Ken Dodd, Dave Allen, Dick Emery, News Huddlines, The Grumbleweeds, Kenny Everett, Russ Abbot, Joan Rivers, Brian Conley and The Two Ronnies! Wonderful just wonderful!
  • Raj Kumar – Much loved shop keeper who served Ashmore Park for more than 32 years before passing away suddenly in the shop in 2017. More than 2,000 residents and customers turned out for an impromptu service on the shopping parade! All of which underlined the star quality this man had, through his help for others.–He was a stand-out trader here for 32 years, he was immensely popular, and I think he did more for relationships than perhaps anyone we know. So many Ashmore Parkers have asked for his inclusion to the Walk of Stars, I am happy to agree with their sentiment. Raj was a legend locally, on a Par with Ronnie Barkers own cult shop keeper Arkwright
  • Al Barrow of Rock Band Magnum,  He was Born Nov 1968 in Ashmore Park, Wednesfield to Margaret & David Barrow. He plays with Magnum a national and international iconic Rock Band.
  • December 12th 2018 – Here is the latest member to be enrolled in the Ashmore Park Walk of Stars! Martin J Cooper England Rugby Union International, who gained 11 Caps for England.