Category Archives: Local Issues Page

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National Express Rides The Moroccan Road To Success!

Councillor Phil Bateman said “National Express expands its overseas transport operation again, this time in Morocco, and it will make its transport competitors look with envy at its latest success. The big thing for us here in the West Midlands is that this international business is quickly becoming a stock market favourite, as well as being Head Quartered in Birmingham! Here in the heart of the West Midlands.”

With over three-quarters of National Express’ revenues secured abroad, the Group has been significantly growing its international presence in recent years. All of which is good news for the company and its employees, and dare I say it! Good for the West Midlands Local economy also.   

With this fifth contract, National Express becomes the largest transport operator in Morocco. National Express Group PLC (‘National Express’ or ‘the Group’) is pleased to announce that its Spanish and Moroccan division, ALSA, has been awarded a major bus contract in the cities of Rabat, Salé and Temara, Morocco. Rabat is Morocco’s second most populous city and this contract will be ALSA’s largest in the kingdom. The 500 bus contract is expected to carry 109 million passengers a year across 61 routes. It is initially for 15 years, with an option of a further 7 year extension, with services commencing within a year.  ALSA will operate the contract as the majority shareholder of a joint venture with CityBus, a local transport company. The contract is expected to secure €1 billion of revenue over the life of the contract. Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted we have secured this major new bus contract in Morocco. We have been steadily growing our presence in Morocco as part of our strategy to expand in rapidly growing urban areas, helping to diversify our earnings.” “It is particularly pleasing that our track record for service excellence in Morocco played a significant part in this successful bid. We hope to build on this success and secure further expansion in the coming years.” Notes National Express/ALSA’s 20 year history in Morocco With this award, ALSA becomes the largest transport operator in Morocco. ALSA’s first Moroccan contract was awarded in 1999 – managing urban transport in Marrakech.  Other cities were subsequently added: Agadir (2010), Tangier (2013) and Khourigba (2015).  With Rabat, ALSA’s Moroccan business will: •    carry around 265 million passengers a year;  •    have a fleet of 1,000 buses;  •    employ 3,600 people. National Express growing international presence With over three-quarters of National Express’ revenues secured abroad, the Group has been significantly growing its international presence in recent years.   In North America, National Express operates nearly 25,000 vehicles in the school bus, transit, para-transit and employee shuttle markets. National Express is the second largest private operator of school buses in North America.  In Spain, National Express is the largest public transport operator, with around 2,500 buses and coaches, carrying around 159 million passengers a year.   National Express has also entered two new countries in recent years: •    National Express has operated the Rhine-Munster Express and Rhine-Wuppertal Bahn in Germany since December 2015. We have been awarded contracts to operate two further contracts to operate the Rhine-Ruhr Express, the first starting in June 2019 and the second in December 2020. •    National Express acquired Alpybus, and ski transfer business in Switzerland at the start of 2016. More recently we have consolidated this presence with a further three acquisitions in the Geneva area, expanding operations beyond ski-transfer and into the tourist and school bus markets.

photo Bottom shops

Tuesday – Visits and Casework.

Tuesday has again been a fantastic Summer’s Day! 27 degrees and sunshine from morning to night!

I had a meeting early this morning with Wolverhampton Homes, and once again had another look at the former Elephant Park at Millbank Street. It was in a better condition than last week as some of the grass had been strimmed. I think that we need to know what residents think about this land.

Wolverhampton Homes want to off load it either by selling it or passing it onto another organisation, through perhaps a community interest company?

I am keen to hear what local residents think about this, and hear what ideas are about with regards to its future uses.

I then made a visit to an elderly lady who had been terrified after finding that intruders had been in her garden. I asked the Police to visit her, which they did, and I popped along this morning to find out what had been said. I also visited another family to talk about Police issues.

Following that I made a visit to Ashmore Park Nursery School , and spoke with the Head about a forthcoming Full Governors Meeting. Then a quick visit to The Hub at Ashmore Park, where I was given some more casework!

Then a  visit to Ashmore Park Shopping Parade planters where by this time Mary had caught up with me, and we watered the plants that the community had planted, for Wednesfield in Bloom. I have been asked by some residents about the litter and the rubbish that is being dropped around the shopping parade.

I am informed by Wolverhampton Homes that the shops at Griffiths Drive are noted as one of the hot spot areas for litter, and as such the WH managed waste bins and surrounding areas are visited each working day, to keep on top of the litter.

Just before I travelled to the Civic Centre I popped into the Village to water the plants in the raised flower beds as we had received a telephone message that they were severely wilting in the Sun! So more water was loaded into the car to take down and give the plants a slurp!

The day finished with a City Council meeting at the Civic Centre tonight. Followed by again a night watching England in front of the TV screen. What an exciting match it turned out to be! So we win and onto the quarter Finals game with Sweden on Saturday….I love the World Cup!

DGYxbH7XcAATgKo Police Knife Crime poster

A day In the Life of Your Councillors – Monday It’s a Sizzling Swelterer Again!

Morning comes around and the first calls are “ Have you seen the smashed bus shelters in Wednesfield/”.  Isn’t it darn well depressing to receive the bad news so early at the start of a week!

The fact that vandals are running riot on the streets of Wednesfield is bad enough, but in the week that we are expecting the Heart Of England in Bloom Inspectors – to learn of their activity has its own live traumas.

Like the rest of the Wednesfield in Bloom volunteers, this time in the cycle gets you so darn focused on Wednesfield In Bloom, it kind of blanks out everything else.

Mary and I discussed the news and then I had to attend a City Council meeting at the Civic centre. I was there a couple of hours, and then had to visit the New Cross Hospital, Respiratory Unit. By mid afternoon I was out and in Sainsburys! You always meet people you know in Sainsburys.

I know that the report by the Police regarding knife crime at Bentley Bridge and at Heath Town has unnerved some of you because you have been speaking to Mary and me about it.

But as a way of re-assuring you can I remind you that  – I wrote to West Midlands police towards the end of 2017, about knife crime in Wednesfield North. They reassured me with these facts . There had only been 7 reported knife crimes in Wednesfield North from January 2014 through to September 2017. Less than 2 offences a year.

Now what I shall do is contact the Police again and see if there has been any rise in concern about knife crime here in Wednesfield North in the last 9 months.

Like the rest of you –  I have been enjoying the World Cup and tonight.  I was an arm chair fan, and watched the footie! That ended Monday very nicely… No meetings, no activities just chilling watching the footie!


A Day In The Life of Your Councillors – Sunday is Canada Day!

Today Sunday 1st July 2018 -Mary and I had one of those days today!

It was of course Canada Day, the day Canada received its Independence from Britain. So Canadians celebrate the day in Canada and wherever Canadians gather. I shot off happy Canada Day messages to friends and family.

We also snatched a few hours of family time, and Mary and I went and played Golf with Mary’s brothers! We won’t go into the scores…but I must admit we had a great time. The weather is still in scorcio form here in Wednesfield.

Sun and Blue skies and 29 degree heat! Phew!

But our minds are never too far away from watering the flowers that are part of the Wednesfield in Bloom competition. In fact tonight on Ashmore Park – Mary & I watered the three flower beds on the Ashmore Park Parade.

We also planted some extra flowers to make the beds a little more attractive.

Whist playing golf I took a phone call from Wednesfield Police who told me that the CCTV images picked up a man taking the 25 plants that were nicked from the Ashmore Park flower beds. They are investigating the matter, so if you thought the cctv cameras on the shopping parade didn’t work think again.

Whilst on crime issues, you will be aware of the attacks on bus shelters in Peacock ave and Lichfield road. I have been following these attacks up. I can tell you now that this vandalism is immensely expensive.

I have been in touch with Transport for West Midlands and they have told me that this is what the true situation is….Transport for West Midlands have told me

“ from monitoring and our damage reports and repair orders. We’ve noticed an increase of damage along Lichfield rd and are monitoring this closely with our colleagues from the Safer Travel Police Team. – There have been 370 incidents of vandalism at 178 Shelters in Wolverhampton since 1 January 2016. -The cost to clean, make safe, repair or replace glazing for these incidents comes to £56,550. – There have been 63 panels damaged at 27 shelters on the 59 bus corridor since 1 January 2016. -The cost incurred on this corridor is £9,450. TfWM provide weekly proactive cleaning and auditing of all shelters within the West Midlands. They also offer a 24/7 fault reporting service for their customers and partners to inform TfWM s of cleaning or damage issues by using the ‘Fix it’ service.  Information about using ‘Fix it’ is displayed at every stop and shelter. They tell me that they have a reactive maintenance team who provide daytime and out of hours service to quickly respond to issues.”

I don’t know what you think but I think that figures quoted are horrendous. So if anyone does see or who find out who these vandals are please report the, Not only are they destroying our environment and this activity is so costly to every single person who pays Counciltax.

Finally before the light went totally Mary and I drove to Bentley Bridge to have a look at the work the scouts had done with the old boat Mary and I had sourced for Wednesfield in Bloom….It was worth it! You Wednesfield Scouts have done a cracking job! We salute you!

And another day slips by!


Happy Canada Day – Canadians Everywhere!

Today is Canada Day – Wolverhampton has a long association with Canada.

Through family ties, through trade and commerce, through vacation and holidays, food and drink! Who doesn’t like maple Syrup on their pancakes????!!! So today I wish all Canadians living here in Wednesfield or in Wolverhampton, The Black Country or back in their native Canada a very great Canada Day!

Viking War Boat with a modern Wednesfield twist!36397010_1943141562417682_6230159120104685568_n

A Day In The Life Of Your Councillors – Saturday Yet Another Scorcher!

A Day In The Life Of Your Councillors!!


Saturday another scorcher again..and so the great weather continues. But this time next Saturday the Inspectors will have been to Wednesfield and will have inspected the Wednesfield in Bloom entry in to the Heart of England in Bloom competition. We are again chasing the Gold Award to go with the Silver Award in 2016, the Gold Award in 2017! We are not greedy but the Wednesfield in Bloom team are very enthusiastic..

We will not know the results of that inspection until September.

But what I can tell you is that the volunteers who have been working on this project this year have been truly fantastic. The place has been awash with energy, as people have been transforming our Village with flowers, giving it a great tidy up, and just feeling good about the location they live and work in!

Saturday was an extra level of endeavour. Mary and I added our flower beds with more flowers, we also made a quick visit to the Ashmore Park beds too. I spent five hours in Wednesfield, before nipping off and getting my I –Pad fixed by a Wednesfield Business, and also getting my hair cut- again by a Wednesfield business.

I was blown away with how the scouts had transformed the old boat that Mary and I procured from Pendeford Mill into the most brilliant Viking War Galley with a modern twist! This additional Wednesfield in Bloom trick adds the Village history into the Wednesfield in Bloom bid…if you haven’t seen it live yet – visit the boat which is located next to the canal at Bentley Bridge….

Thanks goes to Mark Welsby from Land Securities that own the Bentley Bridge Leisure Park for giving the permissions and sponsoring the In Bloom activities yet again, by taking part in the great attempt to turn Wednesfield from ‘Grey to Green’!

Whilst doing the Wednesfield in Bloom activities, both Mary and I continued to be accessible to our constituents. You wouldn’t believe the case work we picked up on Saturday…!


Ashmore In BloomIMG_1362

Friday – Another Great Weather Day In Wednesfield!

Friday was yet again another great day in Wednesfield for the weather!

Wall to wall Sun and high temperatures, certainly not going to bemoan the weather.

But it makes it hard for all our great volunteers that are working like Trojans to ensure we get a great result when the Inspectors come to look at the results of the 2018 Wednesfield in Bloom actions.

Keeping the flowers and the plants has been a major headache as the water has to be carried to all the flower beds. The Severn Trent Water restrictions will have an impact over the last week. No hosepipes will hit hard!

Yesterday Mary and I watered the flower beds in the Village that we adopted when we decided in 2016 to enter the Heart of England in Bloom competition. I did a bit of weeding and planted a few more Marigolds.

We also tended the three flower beds outside the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade last night, watered them before we attended the Wednesfield North Labour Party Meeting at The Hub at 6.00pm.

The Ashmore Park beds look good, and we were both complemented by residents, as the flowers are indeed very much welcomed and do brighten the shopping parade. Thinking caps on folks for next year’s entry for Heart of England in Bloom competition?!

Yesterday I met with Wolverhampton Homes at their Wednesfield Offices to speak with them about housing casework I had. The Officers were very helpful.

On Wednesday/Thursday the Wolverhampton Homes offices in the Village were burgled causing a mess and a closure of the offices to the public, whilst a clean up took place. I just hate it when crime strikes.

Just to update you.

I am now in contact with Wolverhampton Homes officials regarding the idea I have floated to turn a disused piece of land in Millbank street into allotments. Yesterday I continued to work on this project. 

Finally here is ‘a did you know’ item?

Did you know that there is a strong likelihood that in every purse or trouser pocket that contains ‘change’ there will be a link with our great Village of Wednesfield?

Did you know that nearly all the 1p 2p 5p and 10p coins now in circulation in the UK are processed in Wednesfield by steel made in Port Talbot.

Just another reason to be proud of Wednesfield, and proud of the people that work here making our City of Wolverhampton the unique place it is!



Local Road Closure – Peach Road

 Western Power Distribution is to dig a road up in Wednesfield North to deliver new power.

Residents should be aware that Western Power Distribution is to close Peach Road in both directions from its junction with Gandy Road for approx. 125 metres – between 10th July and the 16th July. Please note that  this work may cause local inconvenience.

The Vehicular diversion route will be via : Peach Road, Wyvern Close, Gandy Road and vice versa



High Street

Vanishing Cash Machines….

Rural communities worst hit by vanishing ATMs
Consumer group Which? has warned that more than 300 cash machines are being removed each month from Britain’s high streets, with rural communities the worst hit.

The issue is linked with the wider break-up of Britain’s banking system that has also seen hundreds of community branches closed. The ATM Industry Association says as many as 25,000 to 30,000 cash machines are likely to disappear from the UK’s current network of 55,000 free-to-use ATMs over the next few years. Which? and the Federation of Small Businesses have launched a campaign which urges the Payment Systems Regulator to conduct an urgent review to fully evaluate how the changes will affect communities and consumers.

Councillor Phil Bateman said “Luckily here in Wednesfield we still have access to two local Banks. This is an important facility for our High Street, as the Cash Machines they have on their sites generate footfall, and that is important to the other small independent traders, and the market.”

IMG_7608 Corpus Christi

Thursday 28th June 2018 – The Sun is still scorching Wednesfield!

Thursday 28th June 2018 – The Sun is still scorching Wednesfield!

I had an appointment at Corpus Christi School on Thursday, and I met the new Executive Head of the school Miss Craig. Corpus Christi School is part of the Pope John XXIII Catholic Multi Academy Company, a Private Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status.

I had arranged to attend the school following a change of Head, and the poor results from their latest Ofsted Inspection. Ofsted gave the school an Inadequate result.

However the changes are being made at double quick time. The new Executive Head Miss Craig is a person with great energy, and is hugely impressive. I had a tour of the school, the children were hard at work, and they looked a very happy bunch.

I have no doubt that the Corpus Christi School will be in a very different position next time Ofsted Inspect the school. They are expecting a new Head of School to be in situation soon, which will again strengthen the teaching staff.

My next visit was to The Hub at Ashmore Park, where I had conversations with the great volunteers that run The Hub.

It was the Scrutiny Annual Work Planning Event at the Civic Centre in the late afternoon, Mary and I attended this event.

It was primarily for outlining where the City Scrutiny should go next!

We left the Civic about 6.15 just in time to visit relatives and watch the England v Belgium World cup game where England lost 1-0. But we are still in the next round and up against Columbia! This Summer is still exciting!

Finally here are the dates and times of the Police and Community Meetings here in Wednesfield –

Friday 20th July 10:00 am Ashmore Park Hub

Thursday 6th  September 6:30 pm Ashmore Park Hub

Friday 23 November 10:00 am Wednesfield library

Monday 28th January 6:30  pm  Ashmore Park Hub

Friday 29th march 10:00 am  Wednesfield library