Category Archives: Local Issues Page

IMG_5708 City Council

Receiving Government Benefits? Big Changes Are On The Way!

Top City Officers were recently briefed on the big changes to the way some working age people will receive benefits.

The Government has created Universal Credit as a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. Since 8 February 2016, a small number of people have been able to apply for Universal Credit.

It will eventually be available to those who claim benefits and are of working age by December 2017.

The Managing Director of The City of Wolverhampton Council has written to Councillors telling them “Universal Credit will eventually replace: Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.”

Cllr Phil Bateman said “These changes are already causing real concerns in households that currently receive these benefits, the changes to the way they will be designed and in the way that people claim them, will not be without pain for many of our constituents. I am pleased that the Chief Officers team are getting briefed now”.

20664835_1766171920061994_2784314780465747590_n Canal Fest 2017

Today Sunday 13th August – Don’t Miss Wednesfield Canal Festival!

Well we are midway through the Wednesfield Canal Festival at Bentley Bridge. Saturday was a magic day, lots of people. Sound of laughter everywhere. Huge interest in the canal, the canal crafts, the floating traders! The weather fab, no rain! Plus the musicians and the singers were belting it out to an appreciative audience.
Wednesfield Canal Festival was indeed rocking!
Here is what one visitor wrote to me last night –

“Mr. Bateman, I drove to the festival today with a 4 year old………Brilliant, the attractions were the right price or by donation and if you can keep a 4 year old happy for 4 and a half hours…..you have a happy grandad. I have a boat but did not know about this event until too late this year……will the dates for 2018 be 11th and 12th August. I have provisionally booked a week either side to enable me to get from the Trent the Bentley Bridge, can you confirm the dates please. I have told a friend from Scotland about it and he and partner are going to join me and wife for the 2 weeks for the journey.Wonderful event, please keep it going. Nickelodeon facilities fantastic and what more do you need from a retail park.”

Today Sunday 13th August we go about doing it all again.

2017 Wednesfield Canal Festival

You Can’t Miss The Wednesfield Canal Festival 12 -13 August 2017!

The Wednesfield and Bentley Bridge Canal Festival will be a great affair!

We have a wonderful list of bands and singers, aimed at the Family!

Plus if you are travelling from a distance, there is a whole range of events, and great restaurants available for all sorts of taste.

On Saturday we have the renowned Jazz /Western swing / Rockabilly band the Pete Boddis Band.
With Marilyn on hot vocals. Supported by the amazing Bethe Berwick-Lowe a 1940s/Vintage singer
think Andrew Sisters. Plus local talent showcasing.

On Sunday its Wolverhampton’s brilliant young singer songwriter Emma Swindells Band, Emma has been playing major festivals this year and recently opened for the American star Jessica Lynn at Wolvescivic Venue.

Emma Swindells is nominated this year as a Rising Star at the BCMA Awards being held in the Wulfrun Hall in Oct. ( British Country Music Association). She is supported by Katy Guy a Rock n Roll artist who has performed on the Wolvestock stage.

Plus of course the show case artists.

It doesn’t end there either there is a ‘pop up market’ of floating traders who sell goods from their beautiful heritage boats, stalls, Bouncy castles, face painting, canal craft and making dragon flies for children!

Then just add in the great resident treats that are already there – Bentley Bridge has a multi- Screen Cinema, restaurant’s, the Nickelodeon Public House, and the Hollywood Bowl ten pin bowling amusement for children, plus slot machines and arcades!

If you are a family and want an interesting day out, then this Canal Festival must be a prime place to visit. If you want to get a little closer to nature then a walk on the canal tow path will be your order of the day, count the waterfowl, identify them, look for the fish. You may be lucky enough to see the Bream or even a Pike! A Kingfisher hunts the canal as do heron’s! There will be something for everyone over this week end. Make sure you do not miss it……Wonderful Wednesfield is on show.

IMG_5708 City Council

Did You Know?! Wolverhampton is taking the lead….?

“There has been a lot said about new technology of late” said Councillor Phil Bateman ” There has been an announcement that this Government is to phase out fossil fuel driven engines. But did you know? – That the City of Wolverhampton recently hosted the inaugural summit of the UK Low Emission Taxi Scheme. Well we did and the Managing Director of the City of Wolverhampton told us what it means for the City going forward in a briefing note for Members.”

Keith Ireland Managing Director City of Wolverhampton said “Ten cities, which stretch from Dundee to London, are working together to upgrade the transport infrastructure that will facilitate the electric vehicle revolution. The City of Wolverhampton is spearheading this venture, hosting the summit to share new ideas and practical solutions between partners.

The cities are to receive funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, with the City of Wolverhampton due to receive around half a million pounds.

Council officers are currently developing proposals to deliver the scheme in the city, which will see the installation of rapid chargers and fast chargepoints. Supported by our partner cities, we are at the forefront of automotive technology, ushering in a new era of eco-friendly transportation which will drastically improve air quality and help save the environment.”

Phil Bateman added “This City is certainly hitting the highs, winning Local Government Awards, leading on local government issues both locally and nationally. There is a good energy around our city at the moment!”

Linthouse Lane 8.00am 25-11-2012

Gulley Cleansing Is An Annual Task in Wednesfield

Recently I have had a constituent enquiring about how often the highway gulley’s are checked and what was the process that was undertaken here in Wednesfield North. Mr Steve Woodward Head of Environmental Services at the City of Wolverhampton Council explains.

“Our contractor who undertakes gully checks & cleanses, will check the amount of silt in each gully on arrival. A rod is used to determine if silt is present in the bottom of the gully pot. If silt is present, it will be shown on the rod and the gully cover will be lifted and the pot cleansed of the silt. If no silt is present, the gully will be flushed with clean water only. The rod is a simple but practicable method of determining if silt is present.

Currently, gully cleansing is undertaken annually and this cyclic maintenance regime is ensuring that most gullies do not silt up significantly making sure they are running free.”

I am pleased to hear the response, as we turn from Summer looking towards Autumn.In the past we have had big issues due to rain water run off. The photograph is a reminder of what heavy rain can do to our Ward! This was Linthouse Lane after a very heavy period of rain some years ago!

City’s Top Officer Gives Reminder About Important Report!

Wolverhampton’s Managing Director Keith Ireland has reminded City Councillors that a blueprint has been created setting out development in the Black Country over the next 20 years to make it easier for people to get around.

All Councillors living in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton have been advised that you have until 8 September to have our say on how the Black Country Core Strategy should be updated.

The Black Country Core Strategy outlines how many homes are needed to be built, and how to plan for the number of extra jobs needed for a growing population.

It also decides where new homes and businesses should be located.

I know how important this document is and your three City Councillor for Wednesfield North will discuss the implications of the report, and what our response will be.

Mayor & Wednesfield Fc

Mayor Meets Wednesfield FC

Yesterday the Mayor of Wolverhampton met Wednesfield FC in the Mayors Parlour.

The Mayor Cllr Elias Mattu with his Mayoress invited newly promoted West Midlands Regional Premier League Club Wednesfield FC to meet with him, so that he could congratulate the Club personally for winning promotion

Mayor Mattu went onto state how proud he was of the teams performance, and their great disciplinary record. Going through their League games with out one Red Card!

The Mayor had certainly done his homework…He also congratulated the Club on providing organised sport for children 6 and upwards. He said he was impressed that up to 230 youngsters played their football in an organised way with Wednesfield FC.

He also said that he was disappointed to learn that the club had recently suffered a break in, and thieves had stolen the mowing equipment. He then offered the Club (from his own pocket) a donation towards the start and the replacement of the equipment….its not for me to say how much this donation was, but I felt it was a very generous act from a very distinguished man!

The Club players viewed the City Silver and appeared to enjoy the occasion greatly. I know I did and all the Wednesfield Councillors that could attend that were present, thought that it was a real nice event.

IMG_5708 City Council

Budget Reductions Looming- But Still Looking Forward….!

Whilst there are some Local Authorities around us here in Wolverhampton which have not prepared in the same way this City has done – to the ongoing Government austerity programme aimed at Local Government.

We here in Wolverhampton are still set to see a lot of pain in the forthcoming municipal year.

I give credit to Leader Roger Lawrence and the City Cabinet for steering us away from the ‘maelstrom’ that is now gripping other West Midlands Authorities. We took our action early in 2010/11, and we know how our sister authorities are feeling now, and yes we feel there searing pain of losing jobs and seeing service cuts affecting their local communities.

Wolverhampton its worth remembering had to identify budget reductions of more than £200m in response to cuts in Government funding and increased costs of and demand for our services. That was not easy and it came with a lot of pain for both the public we serve and the politicians that had to direct the budget reductions.

This is however still a forward looking administration. Yes we have our problems, and like most of us in our family lives we occasionally have fall outs!

But to the Labour Groups credit they have been very focussed on the requirements of the future as well as the exigencies of today. Politically it’s important that the Labour Party places the blame for our situation clearly where it is due.

This darn Conservative Government is still pursuing austerity measures, even when the Local Government services are more than squeaking across the UK. When the Police are so starved of resources they have to pray for rain to dampen criminal and anti-social behaviour! When the NHS is rocking badly, and when Council housing demand and the shortage of affordable housing is at an all time high.

The Wolverhampton Labour administration is currently analysing the required Budget savings of £14.8million which is now needed for 2018/19, so we can balance the budget as the law insists we do. That is a big deal now for this Wolverhampton Administration.

The current Leadership here in the City and the Labour Group whilst identifying some £12.8m of budget for reduction proposals, still requires for us to find £2.3m to set a balanced budget for next year. Then of course we have 2019/2020 year to plan for – But that is another story!

August is always traditionally a month when Committee meeting do not take place, and City Council staff and Councillors have a bit of a respite from meetings. But we are all very aware and very exercised about the future financial problems of the City Council, and we are all of us in the Labour Group here doing our very best to find a way forward. However do not think because we have hard economics in front of us, that we will not have an eye to the future. Of course we will.

We want to tackle this Government, and its imperative we do so with the full backing of the City. We need the public on our side. I also feel that I want to keep Wednesfield on our side too….!I hope that you find August warm and sunny, and that this holiday month is kind to you as families and individuals.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Reading the Signs of Progress!

The City of Wolverhampton will soon be installing ten tourist destination signs (brown signs) on key routes into the City. The new highway signage is an opportunity to improve visitors’ and residents’ awareness of the routes to our key tourist destinations. They’re aimed at attractions that have at least 100,000 visitors per year.

Some of our residents will be surprised at the size and numbers of the visitors that use these sites.

In the City we have nine tourist destinations that fit the criteria, these include: WV Active Central Baths, WV Active Aldersley Leisure Village, WV Active Bilston – Bert Williams, Monmore Green Stadium, Wolverhampton Race Course, Civic and Wulfrun Halls, Molineux Stadium, Grand Theatre and the Art Gallery.

The Managing Director tells us that the “new signage is due to be completed by the end of August and follows on from the “Welcome to City of Wolverhampton” gateway signs that are now in place.”

I very much welcome all that we can do as a City to encourage even more visitors into the City. Lifting tourism and encouraging visitors helps our city economy, and lifts our reputation. One million visitors is a great base from which to build upwards on.

Wednesfield-In-Bloom-WV11

Bentley Bridge Shopping Park – Gave £1,000 to Wednesfield in Bloom!

Last year (2016) Wednesfield entered the Heart of England in Bloom competition. We worked hard in our first competition and we won a Silver award on our very first effort!

When we come to remembering all the activities that went on in the run up to the Wednesfield in Bloom second entry this year (2017) and in the run up to this years July Inspection date. I would like to inform our Village that we received some really great financial support from the Bentley Bridge Shopping Park.

The Shopping Park is a massive and important retail site based in Wednesfield, it has a huge array of different shops, and it also has a great retail following across the City and into the region.

Aviva Investors now own the Shopping Park, they are relatively ‘new owners’ but they were quick off the mark in supporting our Village, and offered the Wednesfield in Bloom team a magnificent donation. This came in the form of a cheque for £1,000, towards the cost of providing plants for Wednesfield.

The Wednesfield ‘Bloomers’ were delighted with the brilliant donation, and the news of the financial help from Bentley Bridge Shopping Park gave all the volunteer’s an extra lift! As well as providing welcome help towards buying in some of the plants required to make Wednesfield bid for Gold feasible.

I would now like to place on record my personal thanks for the fine and brilliant way that Aviva Investors has treated Wednesfield. The Shopping Park regularly attracts between 8-10,000 visitors a week, and provides the local economy with around 500 very welcome jobs for local people!

I am delighted as is the ‘Hands on Wednesfield’ charity and their volunteers that underpins the Wednesfield in Bloom bid, for playing such a significant part in trying to make our historic Village a blooming great ‘Gold Award Village’!