Councillor Phil Bateman said, “Today I received a Business Briefing Note from National Express. It was a very interesting document, and I have published it here. If you rely on safe effective and efficient public transport. You will be keen to see and read the information published here. So please take your time and read it. I was delighted to be informed that National Express has been named the “World’s safest public transport operator.”

I want to congratulate them on this accolade.That is an immense piece of news, you cannot underestimate the importance of safety, when you are carrying the huge numbers of passengers that National Express has. This news from the company will do much to build confidence in the company standards and safety procedures, amongst public transport users. Well done National Express”

David Bradford Managing Director of National Express West Midlands writes “Its Hello and welcome to the final business brief of 2019,Thank you to everyone for helping make it such an incredible year.We’ve been named the world’s safest public transport operator. We’re growing patronage across the West Midlands and carrying more happy passengers; while elsewhere in the country bus use is declining.We’ve welcomed 600 new colleagues, saving jobs and vital services by launching NEAT. And we’re investing heavily in our people to make the best even better.
And 2020 is shaping up to be even better still. We’ll enter the new year with many fares frozen for a third year running (compare to Manchester which has its fifth year of inflation-busting increases); backed up by our biggest-ever marketing campaign.We’re taking our Alliance with TfWM to a new level: helping tackle congestion and introducing new bus priority.And our first electric buses are nearing completion, and will be on the streets of Solihull from February. This optimistic mood was present at our Master Driver award ceremony yesterday, when 71 drivers received their coveted blue ties to recognise their exceptional driving and customer service standards. We were delighted to welcome two distinguished visitors to the event. Nick Denton is the Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands. He is one of just eight TCs covering the UK, and regulates driver licencing and maintenance standards. He paid tribute to the professionalism of all NX drivers and engineers, and how much he enjoys travelling on our routes 7 and 50. Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, was delighted to come and speak about the importance of buses to our communities. As well as our drivers being the safest people on the road; we’re all providing a vital public service which lets people access jobs, education, families and healthcare.

The Mayor (West Midlands) was also excited that new government figures show bus use in the West Midlands is growing faster than any other city region. In fact, the growth here is more than all the other metropolitan counties put together. TfWM’s press release about our partnership is driving ‘rocketing bus passenger numbers’ is here. We’ve had Santas out across our services this week, spreading Christmas cheer from Dundee to Dudley, and Walsall to Warwickshire. Tony Hawkins, our Wolverhampton Santa, was interviewed on route 5 by Radio WM. You can hear him on Monday’s breakfast show. Finally, on safety, we’ve gathered all four of our British Safety Council ‘swords of honour’ together for a photo shoot to celebrate our record-breaking audit score. It’s no exaggeration to say that there are people alive and healthy today because of your dedication to health and safety. It’s a reminder to stay safe over the festive season, and never be complacent. We look forward to breaking more records next year.Have a great Christmas break, and once again many thanks for all your work over the year,David Bradford.”

Councillor Phil Bateman added “Many of you will remember that, I worked for National Express previously, I am still very interested in how they operate and perform.”

TJ Hairdressers IMG_1238There is a real excitement on the Ashmore Park Shopping Parade as a new shop is opening on the 28th October. That will be when a new Management team takes up the scissors and hair dryers – at the former Elle -Leighs Hair Studio.

A peek through the shop window quickly frames new owner Tracey Trickett and Manager Kieren Greenways, as they busied themselves getting ready to launch their new venture – TJ Hair Studio.

Its exciting times for Tracey Trickett – She admitted to me that it was a “thrilling times for me, I have worked in the industry for a very long time.”

She added “This venture will be my very own Studio and that is a first for me. I am so excited about being able to bring in new ideas of my own. I am also pleased that Kieren has agreed to take up the Managers position, together we are a trusted team of hairdressers! As a team together we have more than 30 years of experience in this trade, all of which we will be offering our customers both old and new.”

Councillor Phil Bateman said “It’s great to see new business opening on this Shopping Parade, it is very much a thriving district centre, it attracts a lot of footfall. Plus, from Monday it will boast an exciting new business, with a top team that Is brimming with great ideas about developing new custom and great new hairstyles. I wish them the very best of luck in their new business venture.”

In the First Week of May 1981 – Thirty-Eight Years Ago-I Was First Elected for Wednesfield!

It was a friend Dr John Fletcher himself a former West Midlands County Councillor, that contacted me recently to point out that 38 years ago, I stood for election to the now abolished West Midlands Metropolitan County Council. The election took place on 7th May 1981

I was the Labour candidate and standing in the Ward of Wednesfield North & South. Wolverhampton Number 10 Ward.

My election agent was my friend and workmate on the railway Mr Joe King. Joe was a Labour Party stalwart. We both served in the National Union of Railwaymen, and then when the Union changed its name, The Rail Maritime and Transport Union.

Joe lived in Darlaston at the time he became my agent, because he was such a Labour Party veteran all we did when we met in the mornings before we started our work as Rail Parcels drivers was talk Labour politics. Looking back, it was the best thing I could have done at that point. There were no takers for being agent in the two Wednesfield Labour Party’s. I am not sure if it was me? Or the job that they didn’t want!

But I had already got my agent in my head, and Joe didn’t need to be cajoled too much before he agreed to do the job. Joe had a young family, he lived in the Borough of Walsall he had family commitments. But he was a tremendous guy, sadly no longer with us. I owe such a lot to Joe he was a great inspiration.

I set about the campaign with Joe in great gusto. What wasn’t on the public information about the candidate at that time ,was that I was still recovering from testicular cancer. In honesty I thought that I would have a short life! It was an immense strain on our family and on Mary in particular when the disease was first diagnosed. That was in 1977, in fact I went to the 1977 Labour Party conference still having treatment. But I spoke three times at conference, once on Vietnam and on Nuclear Free Zones.

This election for the West Midlands County Council was a hard-fought affair.

Transport was a key platform, and the County Labour Party prepared a vote winning manifesto. The Labour Party delegates from Wolverhampton played a central role in its development. I was proud to stand by it. In my Union role I was always talking up the need for good and modern public transport. Take a look at the personal address it majors heavily on bus services rail links and good roads!

Travel Our Way 1981IMG_6348

The Chairs of both Wednesfield North and South are and were, prominent local people. Clarice Nicholls in Wednesfield south was a former Wolverhampton Councillor and Mayoress. As was Margaret Benton. Margaret was a former school teacher of mine at Wards Bridge, and she later became Mayor of Wolverhampton. Looking back what doyens of socialist politics these two icons were!

At the time of my election I was still involved in sporting activities with Local Football and Angling with Wednesfield Social angling Club.

The election came on the 7th May 1981 – I remember the days in the run up to the election. They were hectic days, trying to control some Maltese Labour Party visitors, who in Malta painted the streets literally! Trying to persuade me that we should do it on Ashmore Park, that scared me to death! I had one of the Maltese Labour Party members stay at my house for a few days. I remember taking a call at home in the week before the election and it was Dom Mintoff the Prime Minister of Malta trying to connect with his Education spokesman Joe Grech who was in our spare bedroom at Bargery Road. Great memories, great experiences.

The election was a truly memorable occasion for me. It was the first time I was elected into a seat, and 4,544 Wednesfield folks turned out and voted for me, which equated to a massive 62.1% of the vote.

That election day returned 10 Councillors that went to Birmingham to represent Wolverhampton …Eight were Labour Councillors and just two were Conservatives.

If there is more interest in this bit of Wednesfield social history I will write a little more. However please read the information here and let me know or ask questions…happy to help If I can….

IMG_2366 Fat Scottie Commentator

IMG_2367 Speedway 4 Steph

This was a very good project all part of the #Stuff4Steph! events that are taking place right across Wednesfield and elsewhere in honour of our own Steph Clarke who we lost from our great community last year.

Steph was a great community worker with vast amounts of energy. Wednesfield Aces put on a charity event last week for  #Stuff4Steph!  This short video is a taster of the event held.

I also want to pay my own tribute to Scottie who commentates on the video, he really brings the whole event to life with his humour, facts, and general enthusiasm as he belts out in his commentary. All of which adds to the sense of occasion!



There was a Wednesfield North PACT meeting last night, Tuesday at the Hub on Ashmore Park. The meeting was not particularly well attended. Both Councillor Rita Potter and I were a little late attending due to the fact that we had been delivering Labour literature for the City & Parliamentary elections on Coppice Farm Estate. The meeting again chose to have speeding and ASB at the bottom shops as amongst its priorities.  It would be good to have the Local Police Crime Plan presented so that residents can have sight of the higher priorities that are being suggested to combat crime over a larger strategic area. Wednesfield North continues to be a ‘low crime area’.