Category Archives: Local Issues Page

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Wolverhampton Literature Festival 2018 – A Great City Initiative!

Wolverhampton Literature Festival 2018 – A Great City Initiative!

Now I am not sure how successful the Wolverhampton Literature Festival has been over this last week end. It seems to have courted a bit of controversy with its debate about the Enoch Powell Rivers of Blood speech. That certainly made news headlines! I couldn’t attend that event. But I have read the news reports about the event, and the protests that had been threatened.

Supporting this festival this year, has been The Arts Council, The Express and Star, University of Wolverhampton, Creative Black Country, Wolverhampton College, Lighthouse, Newhampton Art Centre, Wild Bytes Café, and Lych Gate.

The actual event I chose to watch and attend was the return of Peter Rhodes to Wolverhampton, with a description about his job as a Journalist and the far flung places he had reported from, and visited. It was a fascinating hour, as we cantered through the famous people in history he had been fortunate to interview.

This event took place in that wonderful building here in the City, our own Wolverhampton Arts Gallery.

It was a very interesting hour as Peter spoke about his time on trips organised by the Ministry of Defence, the war in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the stories he had filed with the Express and Star, aabout his time in Hong Kong.

He told some fascinating stories about his time at the Express and Star, and the audience loved him.

Peter Rhodes didn’t know that I was in the audience, and I hadn’t seen him to speak with for very many years. But I was delighted and amused when he spoke warmly of one of his adventures to the ‘Top of the World’ to rescue one of Britain’s most intrepid explorers – Mr Pen Hadow!

He was amusing as well as factual, with regards to this part of his life story! How do I know? Well as Peter explained to the audience. I had called him one day in late April 1998 and asked him if he would like to accompany me on this trip to the North Pole.

It has been one of the highlights of my life, so I was delighted to hear that our adventures to Resolute Bay in Canada, was also one of his own ‘best adventures’ ever.

We met after the show, and as we greeted each other warmly, we spoke of those adventures in 1998. In truth I would have liked a little more time with him and his wife, but they were on a tight schedule. He was kind enough to suggest that the years had been kind to me…

I enjoyed this part of the Wolverhampton Literature Festival, not just because I became a feature of the experiences of a major speaker. But the audience which was sizable also clearly enjoyed the humorous way Mr Rhodes spoke of his life and his adventures, and the places and the history he had shared with us all through the columns of our own Local Express and Star!. My hope is that the City repeats Wolverhampton Literature Festival again next year, and that it becomes a firm favourite in the years going forward.

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Perks Road – Tenants To Get Extra Car Parking Spaces!

I was contacted by residents in Perks Road who were asking if the Wolverhampton Homes flats could have part of their lawn taken out and have the provision of car parking spaces provided for them. Like many other areas of Ashmore Park on street car parking is becoming a featured difficulty.  

Wolverhampton Homes who manages these properties for their tenants have sent me the most encouraging of responses. They tell me and I quote –  

“I am happy to report that we have had an opportunity to review the area around Perks Road and can confirm we will be creating additional parking to the two CS3 blocks.  

We estimate 4 spaces will be created to each block, subject to successful planning applications and consultation with the tenants and residents. This work will be scheduled in after March 2018.” 

In short those 8 extra spaces will greatly help every one living in and around that area, and the congestion in that part of Ashmore Park. 

Your Councillors are doing all we can in difficult budget situations to argue and advocate improvements where and when we can….



Woodend Primary School Offer Parents Advice.

Woodend Primary School has reminded parents in a recent Newsletter that they have some responsibilities when it comes to Leave of Absence for their children.


The School has written “Leave of Absence during term time: could we remind all parents/carers that holidays taken during school term time cannot be authorised. The register will be marked with an unauthorised absence and the Education Welfare Service will be informed who may issue a penalty notice. We urge you to submit an application before making any travel arrangements in order to avoid disappointment.”

Parents from other schools also may find this a timely reminder?


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Wolverhampton Holocaust Ceremony

Today I represented Wednesfield North at The Wolverhampton Holocaust ceremony, at the St Peters Cenotaph. Following that the signing of the Declaration in the Arts Gallery.

The ceremony was organised by Wolverhampton Inter Faith and was addressed by the Bishop of Wolverhampton, and the Deputy Mayor of the City, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands County. It was a solemn occasion, as the wreaths were laid at the cenotaph. The theme running through the service was “The Power of Words”.

Wednesfield North – Pot Hole Report

Wednesfield Road Signs

I have reported the following Pot Holes following constituents complaints –

  • Pot Holes top of Perry Hall Bridge
  • Pot Holes top of Castlebridge
  • Pot Hole in Kitchen Lane Essington.

I have received acknowledgement from Officers with regards to all the highway defects that I list here.

Staffordshire County Council who are responsible for the defect in Kitchen Lane Essington, state this morning that – Dear Councillor Bateman Thank you for your email. Your enquiry has been forwarded to the Highways Maintenance department for investigation and they will respond to your request. Your request for a response has also been noted with the service. Your customer reference is CAS-325029 (Broad Lane North) & CAS-325033 (Lichfield Road)Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I will keep residents and constituents informed of any further activity.


Should The Fire Authority Come Under The New Metro Mayor?

Follow This link –

There is a very serious and important consultation taking place at the moment.

The Local Government members are very keen that individual Council Tax payers see and understand the consultation, and the changes that are planned to the Governance of The Fire Authority. Please follow the link and make your view known.

The plans in a nut shell is to remove the current Fire Authority and place the governance under the New Metro Mayor.

Please read and make your views known…..Follow the link – at the top of the Page!



No Fly Tipping Please!

Recently a constituent complained about fly tipping taking place in garage sites here in Ashmore Park. The garages are the property of Wolverhampton Homes. They sent a team out and cleaned up the two garage sites that were reported.

Then a few days ago, my constituent was back in touch making the situation clear that the fly tippers were back again, dumping their rubbish and littering the estate. I contacted the Wolverhampton Homes team and here is their response – “Wolverhampton Homes Estate Services will make arrangements for one of the Caretaking teams to attend and remove the fly-tipped items from the garage sites at Wolmer Road and Ferguson Street. Whilst on site removing items from the Ferguson Street garage site the Estate Caretakers will take photographs and obtain details of the perpetrator which we will forward to the City Council’s Public Protection Compliance Officers to consider further action.”

The Wolverhampton Homes management team reminded me that they visit all garage sites in WH management, and they are included in a scheduled works programme, and are visited on a bi-monthly basis.  

I am very grateful to Wolverhampton Homes who are doing their best to keep the Ashmore Park Estate in good conditions. I am sure the vast majority of readers will agree with these sentiments.

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Weather Related Problems You Reported!

Weather related problems…Over the last week or so Wednesfield North Councillors have reported Pot Holes in Eccleston Road, Drummond Close, Kitchen Lane, Lower Prestwood Road. Also a pot hole that was creating problems and damage to constituents cars in Kitchen Lane Essington. The Essington highways defect is the responsibility of Highways Staffordshire County Council.

I was also told about flooding at corner of Whiston Ave/ Peacock Ave, and in Broad Lane North, and problems with trees and shrubs that were at face height and growing through a fence in Reynolds Walk. Residents told me that this was a health and safety hazard for pedestrians.

Here is the response received so far, from Highway and City Officials.

  • Lower Prestwood Road –“ A member of my team has surveyed Lower Prestwood Road and the comments are as follows:- Lower Prestwood Road has a hot rolled asphalt carriageway surface that has had a micro-asphalt surface treatment applied to it, a preventative maintenance technique to prevent further deterioration of the hot rolled asphalt surfacing. The micro-asphalt surface treatment is deteriorating, predominantly in the nearside wheel track of the westbound lane, exposing the hot rolled asphalt surfacing below it. The depth of the deterioration is approximately 10mm and therefore outside of the criteria for carriageway pothole although this deterioration has a significant effect on the aesthetics of the carriageway surface and the ride quality. Please find attached two photographs to illustrate the deterioration. We propose to undertake interim works to these areas, smothering them with a dense bituminous material. The ride quality will be improved and the aesthetics of the surface will be to a lesser degree.
  • Kitchen Lane Essington – From Staffordshire County Council – “Thank you for contacting Staffordshire Highways. We will endeavour to respond to you within 7-10 working days. During busy periods (e.g. extreme or adverse weather) enquiries may take longer to respond to.” – I will keep you informed on their response performance.
  • Reynolds Walk– The pathway located next to the Coppice School falls under the responsibility of the City Council. Details of the enquiry relating to encroachment of the footpath have been forwarded to the City Council’s Customer Services department with a request for the relevant department to undertake the required actions to remedy.
  • Flooding Whiston Ave/Peacock Ave –“The gully team will check the site, however please be advised, that the volume of water experienced recently in a 24 hour period sometimes put the drainage systems under pressure in some locations to take water away, especially when the Severn Sewer is at full capacity, there will be standing water for a while until the water levels subside.”

As your Councillors we receive issues every day! I will keep you up dated as the information comes in.

Kitchen Lane Essington Boundary

Staffordshire CC Urged To Repair ‘Monster’ Pot Hole.

I am very aware of the problems that motorists are having with the Essington end of the Kitchen Lane. Though Rita, Mary and IHave been identiying and getting pot holes treated here in Wednesfield North.
We constantly get told of a ‘monster’ pothole that is at the Essington end of Kitchen Lane. One of my constituents tonigh messaged me saying it wasn’t a pothole but a “Quarry”!
I know that the pothole has been reported previously by others…..But I have now got on board, as again today I received further info about a constituent who alleges her car has been damaged by this particular ‘Pot Hole’.
I have given her the address to make a claim. But I also thought that I should share the correspondence that I have now sent to Staffordshire Highways Department……
“Hi I am a Wolverhampton City Councillor and there is a huge pot hole at the junction of Kitchen Lane –High Hill in Essington.
My constituents are informing me that the pot hole under your jurisdiction is damaging their cars. It is a danger to all road vehicles and to pedestrians. I am informed that
Staffordshire County Council has been told numerous times. But no action for repair is taken.
I know that all Local Authorities are under financial and resource pressure. But peoples health and safety are at risk here.
Please take urgent action, and sort this dangerous road defect out now!”
I will of course ensure that any reply is published on this page.
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Good nursery praised by Ofsted for setting high expectations

Good nursery praised by Ofsted for setting high expectations

A nursery school has been praised for setting high expectations for children, parents and staff after it was rated Good by Ofsted.

Inspector Heather Simpson visited Phoenix Nursery School in Blakenhall last month and found that Executive Headteacher Susan Lacey, her leadership team and governors “share a clear and ambitious vision” for their school.

Mrs Lacey managed the federation with Ashmore Park Nursery School “seamlessly and without disruption to children or staff”, and has used the successful practice at Ashmore Park Nursery to further develop the quality of teaching and raise outcomes for children at Phoenix.

The steps the leadership team have taken have “made a positive difference”, accelerating the pace of development and continuing to build on the school’s strengths.

The learning environment has been improved with the refurbishment of the main classroom and the creation of additional space, while the quality of teaching has been improved through high quality training. The governors are “very supportive” and have “invested heavily in improving facilities and teaching”.

Teamwork is a strength and morale is high, with staff “proud to work at Phoenix”. Children are “happy, safe and well cared for” and enjoy “excellent relationships” with their key workers.

Activities are “well planned and purposeful”, and the “very good” ratio of adults to children ensures that all children receive “high levels of nurture and support”, meaning they “thrive and get off to a good start in their education”. Parents have very positive views of the school and have a good understanding of how well their children are doing.

Ofsted noted that Phoenix Nursery recognises the importance of “high quality professional development” and strongly promotes this in a number of ways, including forming an international network between four schools in the West Midlands and 5 pre schools in Sweden. The school is also taking part in a research project looking at the use of digital technology by young children, which is having a “strong impact” on their skills.

Inspectors also found a strong safeguarding culture within the nursery, with robust procedures in place.

Mrs Lacey said: “I am very proud of the team at Phoenix Nursery School and how the school has been transformed in the three years since the last inspection, both in terms of the environment and the quality of teaching and learning.

“The school is now involved in a further Erasmus research project which will enable the team to work with schools in Romania, Spain and Sweden which we hope will continue to improve the quality of education on offer at Phoenix Nursery School.”

 Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I would like to congratulate Susan Lacey and her team on this very positive report which demonstrates the good progress that Phoenix Nursery School is making, and the benefits that its federation with Ashmore Park Nursery is delivering to both schools.

“Good early years’ education is so crucial to the development of our children, and it’s fantastic to read that Phoenix Nursery School is providing just that.”

More schools in Wolverhampton are now rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted than ever before. To find out more about education in the City, please visit Education and Schools.