Welcome to my blog!

 I am one of the three Tamworth Borough Councillors for the Mercian Ward, elected in May 2011.  Do you have an issue I or any of my colleagues on Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council can help with?

Contact me by phone, e-mail or post

mobile: 07958 155 863
e-mail: Andrew-James@tamworth.gov.uk
post: c/o T.C.A., 23 Albert Road, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B79 7JS

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Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow – Lauren Bacall RIP

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RIP Robin Williams – Comic Genius

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Council Committee Calls for Better Bus Links in Tamworth

Tamworth busImproving bus services to Tamworth Railway Station and gaining a better understanding of the needs of passengers are two suggestions put forward by Tamworth Borough Council’s Aspire & Prosper Scrutiny committee.

The committee, chaired by Cllr Tina Clements, had an in-depth discussion about bus services currently operating in Tamworth and ways they could be improved in the future, after which they agreed to form a sub-group to put together a survey of bus use in Tamworth.

The committee is made up of councillors from different political parties and puts issues affecting Tamworth under the spotlight.  The new sub-group, which will draw up the bus survey, is made up of Cllr Andrew James, Cllr Pat Standen and scrutiny committee vice-chair, Cllr Joy Goodall.

Cllr Andrew James presented a report on public transport, focusing on the number of bus services operating in and around Tamworth, and looking at how many went via the railway station.

Cllr James said, “We have seen an increase in the number of buses which have a direct link to the railway station.  Ten of the 31 buses now stop there, number that has increased during the past two years – providing a valuable service for commuters.

“Despite this, there are still a number of areas which do not have a direct link.  I would be keen to find out if passengers would like more direct buses to the station and also to look at the number of people using the different services across Tamworth.”

Belgrave, Coton Green, Hockley, Kerria Centre, Perrycrofts, Stonydelph and Wilnecote do not currently have a direct bus link.

Cllr Tina Clements, Chairman of the Aspire and Prosper Scrutiny Committee, said: “Tamworth has an excellent bus service across the borough and I would like to thank the companies which provide these.

“However, we would like to look further at what is available and get feedback from those people who currently use the buses and those who do not.  We want to find out more information about what residents want from the service and how it could be improved in the future.  Public transport provides a vital lifeline for thousands of people and we want to make sure what we have available is right for our residents.”

The committee also heard that there are between 2.2 million and 2.6 million train journeys to and from Tamworth Railway Station every year – and improving bus services to the station could help residents access better employment opportunities.

This is in line with the council’s ‘aspire and prosper’ priority, which includes raising aspiration and attainment levels.  Using public transport also has a number of health benefits.

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Police ‘Owe’ Leeds United £800,000

Elland RoadLeeds United have claimed West Yorkshire Police still owes the club £800,000 for overcharging policing at home games.

The police force, which lost a High Court case in 2012, has already paid back £1.2m to the football club.  The figures emerged after the court examined the latest stage of the dispute, for charges over three seasons between 2009 and 2012.

The force said it would now work with the club to agree what money, “if anything,” remains outstanding.

Two years ago, the High Court ruled the force overcharged for “special police services” between 2009 and 2012.  Leeds United had argued policing streets and car parks near its Elland Road ground was the force’s responsibility and the club should not have to pay.

The High Court ruled in the club’s favour and West Yorkshire Police lost a subsequent appeal against the decision.  The judge, Sir David Eady, said one area of dispute remaining related to how charges should be made for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Revealing details of developments in the case in a written analysis, following a further hearing in June, the judge said both parties had failed to agree a formula to calculate the appropriate rebate.  Sir David said the force had “repaid the rebate it thought due” and “claims now that no more is owed.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said, “West Yorkshire Police has already repaid the club £1,238,816 following the original judgment.  The ruling today makes clear that the force and the club should now work together to agree what, if anything, remains outstanding.  We welcome the opportunity to now meet with the club.”

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Tamworth to Commemorate Start of First World War with Guided Walk and Church Service

FWW_Centenary__Led_By_IWM_Red rgbTamworth will mark tomorrow’s 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War with a guided tour of the town centre.

The walk will be led by qualified Green Badge Guides, who will be revealing the part Tamworth played in the conflict.  They will talk about the buildings, the stories, the heroes and the memorials to the more than 600 men of the borough who died in WW1.

The walk starts from the Tamworth Tourist Information Centre at 8pm on Monday August 4.  Tickets cost £5 each and must be booked in advance through the TIC on 01827 709618 and the tours are subject to availability and numbers are strictly limited.

Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said, “There is a hidden WW1 history in Tamworth and this is a unique opportunity to see that history for yourself.  Please make sure that you don’t miss out on this unique tour and book your tickets quickly.”

The tour will finish in time to allow people to attend the special LIGHTS OUT service being held at St Editha’s Church at 10pm.

LIGHTS OUT is a nationwide initiative, which has the backing of the Royal British Legion.  Individuals, households and organisations across the country are being encouraged to turn their lights out between 10pm and 11pm on Monday August 4, leaving only a single candle or light burning as a symbolic act of reflection and hope.

The church service is open to everyone and it is hoped that a large number of people will go along to take part in the commemorations.

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We Love Tamworth is Back for Second Year

2013's We Love Tamworth event

2013’s We Love Tamworth event

A daylong summer extravaganza is set to attract thousands to Tamworth Castle Grounds later this month, after a hugely successful debut last year.

The We Love Tamworth event will take over the Castle Grounds on Saturday August 23, promising fun for all the family.  Last year’s event attracted 7,000 visitors and it is hoped that even more will come along this year.

We Love Tamworth will run from 11am to 4pm, with scores of fun events going on throughout the day and the Castle Grounds will be alive with fairground rides, dog show, Lenny the Land Train, Tamworth’s strongest man competition, stalls and much more.

There will also be a Children’s Zone, featuring the Midsummer Magic storyteller, fairy stilt walker, petting zoo, giant games, face painting, balloon modelling and craft activities.  Entry to the Zone will be £3 per child, with adults going free.

Amington Band will be adding some musical accompaniment to the day, performing in the Bandstand between 1pm and 4pm.

Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said, “Last year’s We Love Tamworth summer event was such a huge success that we decided to repeat it again this year.  We are delighted to welcome it back to our calendar of outdoor events and hope that even more people than last year will come along to support it.”

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Tamworth Student Lands Media Job Following Experience Making Homeless Film

James WoodsTamworth student James Wood has landed a coveted apprenticeship working for two media companies, thanks to his involvement in a film aimed at tackling homelessness.

18-year-old James was at the Landau Forte Academy Sixth Form Centre and was looking for work in the media, film and TV industry – applying for work experience and media courses.

Then earlier this year, the Tamworth Homeless Education Programme (THEP) put out the call for young people to volunteer their talents to help create a film to take into the borough’s schools to spread the homelessness prevention message.

THEP is a Tamworth Borough Council initiative, which works with Tamworth schools and other organisations to help prevent homelessness.  The film was created to enhance the work already being done in schools with Year Six classes across the borough.

James was one of the talented young people who responded to the call, and worked with professional filmmakers Phenix Digital.  He was involved in writing the script, creating the characters, providing voiceovers and acting.

Filming took place across Tamworth during the Easter holidays, with the  finished 10-minute film was unveiled at the red carpet premiere at Tamworth Assembly Rooms, complete with an Oscars-style ceremony.

During the production of the film, James landed an interview with Stourbridge-based Tablet Academy and Born Communications, where his experience in the THEP film stood him in good stead, as a member of staff had previously worked with THEP and was impressed with what they did.

James has now started his apprenticeship and will be getting training from both Tablet Academy and Born Communications to widen his skills.  For Tablet Academy, he will be developing, illustrating and updating the website, while he will be involved in the production and editing of short films for Born Communications.

James said, “I’m really pleased that my experience working on the THEP film has helped me get this apprenticeship, as I have always wanted to work in film and media.  My ultimate aim is to be able to design high-quality websites and produce videos as part of a team, as well as being involved with editing.”

Cllr Michael Greatorex, Cabinet member for Housing, said, “It is wonderful that, through his involvement with the THEP film, James has been able to fulfil his potential and get a foot on his chosen career path.”

The THEP film project was funded by the Shropshire and Staffordshire Homelessness Prevention Partnership’s Innovation Fund and match funded by Tamworth Borough Council.

Anyone who would like more information on THEP is asked to contact Hazel Morgan at Tamworth Borough Council on hazel-morgan@tamworth.gov.uk, by phone on 01827 709217 or by text on 07528 630047.

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