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“Always interested in what Labour was doing on public transport”

Looking back in time- Here I think we were at Perry Barr we had Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock MP visit.

Neil was always interested in what Labour was doing on public transport here in the West Midlands County. We had frequent high powered visitors.

Peter Snape MP for West Bromwich East was also present with the Chief Officers of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive.

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Looking Back at Transport History- Leader Neil Takes the Wheel!

Here we see Neil Kinnock MP – Leader of the Labour Party. Neil was always very supportive of what we were doing here in the West Midlands he was a frequent visitor. I enjoyed his company and I had a really interesting time talking to him about transport policy.

Here he looks like he could take the bus into service! Sadly he never quite made it to Prime Minister….

 

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Looking Back at Transport History- The Metro Bus!

The Metro Bus was a bus that got me into trouble!

When we took office in the West Midlands County Council. It was during one of the worst recessions the UK had seen. Jobs were being haemorrhaged as Thatcher closed pits and steel works right across the West midlands.

The Labour Group on the West Midlands County Council, vowed to do all we could to protect jobs and service.

We made a conscious decision to buy locally made buses being manufactured in Birmingham by Metro Camel l Weymann. Instead of Leyland’s that was the biggest fleet name at the time.

This caused up roar and I received a legal document delivered to my home by a chauffeur in a Rolls Royce. The document was addressed to me, and was delivered to my home in what was then Bargery Road by Leyland’s.

I was flabbergasted at the time….But we didn’t collapse indeed we bought Metro buses, and they became the great work horse of the WMPTE fleet for decades.

The photo records the day we went to MCW met the chairman who was speaking from the front entrance of the bus.

Even though I looked disinterested in this photograph. The fact is that the MCW bus was a great buy for the West Midlands, and we helped them survive a little bit longer, providing local jobs for local people.

In the photo is Eric Jenkins-Engineer Mr Sutton Director of Operations Next comes Phil Bateman Cllr Malcolm Speake, Cllr Eric Hirons, Director General James Isaac, and Gordon Morgan, Leader of the WMCC standing alongside the Chairman of MCW.

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Looking Back In Transport History – Working With Phil Cool!

In the 1990’s I became the Chairman of the transport body that took over from the Passenger Transport Committee of the old County Council, after Prime Minister Thatcher abolished the County Councils.

The West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive became Centro and it came with funky new colourful image. Here I am working with comedian Phil Cool to promote the new Centro Card!

Phil was a brilliant laugh, great mimic and could create some fab faces!

I well remember this day for the fun that came with working with him.

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Looking Back In History – The Leadership of the WMCC

The West Midlands County was a Metropolitan County Council. Not much has been written about it. I had the pleasure and the experience of serving on the WMCC as the County Councillor for Wednesfield North & South, from 1981 until its abolition by Margaret Thatcher.

Here is picture of Councillor Gordon Morgan Leader of the WMCC and Chief Executive – Mr Derrick Hender.

 

Right of Way! Walsall to Brum on the half hour!

Looking Back at Rail History -Walsall to Birmingham

Phil Bateman Chair of the West Midlands County Councils- Passenger Transport Committee on the 20th November 1984 gave the ‘Right of Way’ to the very new half hourly service between Walsall and Birmingham.

This was an important development  and was part of the County Labour Party’s great efforts to modernise Public Transport in the West Midlands County. It was a great decision at the time.

The rail line has gone from strength to strength. I was very proud of our County Council manifesto.

 

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Looking Back In Time! – Mayor Morey Launches Bus Service.

This is a picture of the first bus service on to the new Coppice Farm Estate.

I was Chair of the West Midlands County Council Passenger Transport Committee at the time and my Wednesfield colleague was Councillor Arthur Morey, Mayor of Wolverhampton, who launched the service.

This was in 1983 and the new bus service was launched to give Coppice Farm residents a local links bus service.

The first time I met Arthur Morey was in the very early 70’s, I asked him what his trade was? His response was “Well I am a bit of a Boffin!” I have never forgotten those words.

Arthur was a very good Local Councillor who went on to become Mayor of Wolverhampton in the 1983 /84 mayoral year. He represented Wednesfield North on the Borough Council for many years.

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Wednesfield North – Not a Hot Spot of Violent Crime!

Knife crime is making all the news. I wanted to find out the latest information as it affects Wednesfield North.

I wrote to Chief Inspector Beth Bridges. I have yet to receive the full details I requested, but I do think that this interim response gives an indication that Wednesfield North is not a ” hotspot area for knife and violent crime.” Here is what Chief Inspector Bridges states to me in correspondence.

Councillor Bateman,

I have forwarded your email to Sgt Dalton who will be able to provide the data that you require with some context supporting it. However, you have hopefully seen via media outlets that Wolverhampton, along with the rest of West Midlands Police, have been focussing on knife crime for a sustained period of time.

I share your concerns regarding the incidents that we are currently seeing and we have responded by amending our patrols, increasing resources in key areas and working with schools and other partners to raise awareness of the dangers of carrying knives.

This area remains a priority for us and we will continue this work with partners, families and the wider community to work to make Wolverhampton a safe place to live and work.

Again, Sgt Dalton can discuss the specifics within your Neighbourhood but you are not one of our hotspot areas for knife and violent crime. Chief Inspector Wolverhampton Neighbourhood Policing Unit.

Councillor Phil Bateman added “When I have the full information from Sgt Dalton I will of course publish it, for residents to see.

 

 

 

 

 

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Battle Lines Drawn – As City Declines Request!

I had been requested by some residents to source a durable bench from the Wolverhampton City Council, to be fitted on the Green Walkways that link Ashmore Park with Coppice Farm .

The walkways were constructed during the 1980’s so that walkers and ramblers could be linked from Essington and the South Staffordshire Green Belt with the Black Country’s own  Dudley Castle. Our Part of the ‘link’ became known as the ‘The Black Path’. It is much used for local journeys between locations in the surrounding areas of Walsall and Wolverhampton. I am not sure if many ramblers use the footway. But I know it is popular with City residents living in Wednesfield ,Ashmore Park, and Coppice Farm. It also links Essington with local shops and a frequent bus service on Ashmore Park.

Now I have written to the Wolverhampton City Council about the bench. But the response has been that there is no budget, and that there will be no budget created for this equipment.

I have pressed the request as I am sure you would expect me too. But I am keen to see what kind of local support it would engender if it gets into a bit of a battle.

Walking is of course a healthy lifestyle the City Council is keen to promote, and that means for youngsters as well as other family groups and senior citizens. I know the walkways are popular as a short cut to the schools. Both St Albans and Coppice High School are linked via the ‘Black Path’.

School children are safer to walk as well as they do not have to cross busy roads. Lots of residents enjoy the great varieties of birds that are drawn there as the Green Space is a very valuable resource for our large housing estates. The walkways are pleasant and in this brilliant summer, the senior citizens in our community would have a valuable amenity in which to sit and take it all in!

I am keen to hear residents and others views. It looks like we will have to fight for the resource, so I want to see what the strength of support is like…..let me have your views on here!

 

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Looking Back at History! -Arguing the Case for Rapid Transit.

I have long believed in having a rapid transit system for Wolverhampton and the West Midlands. I have done a lot to create the conditions and the arguments over decades for the construction of a Light Rail System.

This was taken at the Labour Party Conference back in the early 80’s.

I was lighter and younger, then, and that could be said of John Prescott MP!

Also in the picture is Ken Longmore of the WMPTE – Ken was a great man. I learned a lot from him. Former journalist, a conservative by nature. But a very loyal and brilliant Press Man the right person to have at your side in a difficult position. We had lots of difficult times. But Ken always lightened the mood with an awful joke or story!

I got on very well with John and in later years went to work with him for a few months after I lost my seat in 1992. We remain friends to this day.