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

Posted in Andrew James

I’ve Signed Christopher Pincher’s Hopwas Wood Petition, Have You Signed it Too?

Hopwas Wood

Hopwas Wood

In response to the announcement that LaFarge Tarmac want to quarry in Hopwas Wood, Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher, has set up an online petition asking if you are in favour or against the plan.

At the time of publishing this post, 1,517 have signed Chris’ petition and 99% of the signatures oppose the plans to quarry in Hopwas Wood and I am one of the signatures opposing the plan.

Have you signed the petition yet, if not you can by clicking here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Christopher Pincher Stands Up for Hopwas Wood

Hopwas Wood

Hopwas Wood

Tamworth and Hopwas MP, Christopher Pincher, has spoken up on behalf of objectors to the proposals for a quarrying site in Hopwas Wood.

He has written to Staffordshire County Council making his objections clear and has delivered hundreds of surveys to local residents in Hopwas to ensure that they make their concerns clear.

Mr Pincher said, “I am hugely concerned about these proposals which will do great damage to our local landscape around Hopwas Wood if they are ever implemented. I have already written to the County Council about their Minerals Local Plan and have sought meetings with County officials.

“I know that there has long been quarrying in our part of the world, and some local people are employed by the quarries, but the scale and impact of the extension towards Hopwas woods is just not acceptable. The proposals must be rejected. The woods, some of which is ancient, could be ruined and their loss is irreplaceable.

“I encourage everyone to give their clear opinions to the County Council, which is running a consultation on its Minerals Plan, to ensure the idea is rejected. Residents can do this by contacting the County direct or by writing to or emailing me, and I will pass on their concerns.

“I will also raise my concerns with fellow Members of Parliament, with ministers and in the House of Commons. I am pleased my colleague and local County Councillor Alan White has spoken out too.”

The current site option is also located less than 200m from Hopwas village which is where owners LaFarge Tarmac want to quarry. You can object by writing to Staffordshire County Council directly using the details below.

Email: planning@staffordshire.gov.uk

Write to: Planning, Policy and Development Control, Staffordshire County Council, Wedgewood Building, Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2DH

Tel: 01785 277275

You can visit the consultation online:

The deadline for County consultation submissions is Friday 5th December 2014.

If you would like to make clear your objections to the proposals on my website, please follow this link and I will make sure I send your objection to the County.

Posted in Borough / County Council, Community, Enviroment, History, Parliament, Staffordshire | Tagged , , , , , ,

Tamworth’s Mayor is looking for Nominations for Christmas Hampers

Christmas puddingTraditional Christmas hampers are once again being given out by the Mayor of Tamworth to spread some festive cheer.

The Mayor will be distributing 250 hampers to elderly and disabled residents in Tamworth this year, and is now asking for nominations.

Age UK, local church groups and ex-service groups will be helping to deliver the hampers filled with traditional Christmas favourites. The Mayor will also personally deliver as many as he can.

Cllr Richard Kingstone, Mayor of Tamworth, said, “While we are looking forward to Christmas and spending time with loved ones, I want to make sure we give a thought to those who may not have friends and family to spend the festive period with.

“This time of year should bring people together and remind them that they are not alone. If anyone knows of someone who would like to receive a hamper, please get in touch.”

To nominate someone to receive a hamper, please contact Democratic Services on 01827 709265, or write to Lin Street, Democratic Services, Marmion House, Tamworth, B79 7BZ. The closing date for entries is Monday November 24th.

Hampers will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and anyone nominated must live in the borough of Tamworth. Delivery of hampers will start in the week beginning Monday December 1st.

Posted in Borough / County Council, Community, Tamworth | Tagged , , , , , , ,

UK Will Not Pay £1.7bn EU Bill Next Month

EU cashDavid Cameron has angrily insisted the UK will not pay a £1.7bn bill demanded by the European Union by 1 December.

“If people think I am paying that bill on 1 December, they have another thing coming,” the Prime Minister told reporters in Brussels. He said the EU demand was “totally unacceptable” and no way for the organisation to behave – and he want to examine how they arrived at the amount.

EU Finance Ministers have agreed to the UK’s request for emergency talks.

Mr Cameron told reporters in Brussels that the British public would find the “vast” sum of money asked of the EU was “totally unacceptable.” He said that he first heard about the EU’s demands on Thursday but acknowledged that the Treasury knew about it last week.

He interrupted a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels to express dismay at the demand for the UK to pay more into the EU’s coffers on 1 December. He told Commission boss Jose Manuel Barroso he had no idea of the impact it would have, Downing Street said.

EU leaders discussed the issue for an hour in Brussels on Friday. Mr Cameron told Mr Barroso, who steps down next month, that the problem was not just press or public opinion but was about the amount of money being demanded.

The surcharge follows an annual review of the economic performance of EU member states since 1995, which showed Britain has done better than previously thought. Elements of the black economy – such as drugs and prostitution – have also been included in the calculations for the first time.

The UK and the Netherlands are among those being asked to pay more, while France and Germany are both set to receive rebates. The UK is being asked to pay the most.

Several Conservative MPs have said the UK should refuse to pay the sum, describing it as “illegal.”

EU diplomats told Reuters that Finance Ministers would meet to discuss the issue, while Downing Street is pressing for “a full political-level discussion” well before 1 December. It is not clear whether there will be a separate meeting or whether the issue will be discussed at a scheduled meeting of EU finance ministers next month.

Chancellor George Osborne said the Treasury had first learnt about the “totally unacceptable” financial demand last week. The UK and other member states had been given “no warning” that the sum was due by the end of next month and the UK was now “looking at its options” in consultation with its allies in Europe.

Mr Osborne said, “This is not the way an organisation like the European Union should act.”

Posted in Community, England, Parliament, Political, UK

Tamworth’s Local Plan Events Set to Take Place

house buildingPublic events giving residents the chance to look at development plans for future housing and employment opportunities are set to take place across Tamworth.

Tamworth Borough Council’s Local Plan proposes where future development for employment and housing up until 2031 will be located.

A six-week consultation outlining these proposals will now take place, starting on October 22nd and running until December 3rd. A number of events to give the public a chance to look at the plans will take place at:

  • Tamworth Library: Tuesday 28th October, 9.30am to 3.30pm
  • Ankerside: Saturday 1st November, 9.30am to 3.30pm
  • Glascote Library: Friday 7th November, 10am to 2pm
  • Tamworth Library Tuesday 11th November, 4pm to 7pm
  • Wilnecote Library Wednesday 19th November, 4pm to 6.45pm
  • Ankerside: Tuesday 25th November, 9.30am to 3.30pm

Any representations made to the Local Plan consultation should follow the guidance set out by the Council. This means any comments need to comply with the tests of soundness, legal compliance and the duty to co-operate.

For example, if someone objects to a planning policy, they must set out why it is not sound – based upon one of the four tests: effective; justified; positively prepared and in conformity with national guidance.

The first round of consultation took place during the spring, where more than 300 people attended eight drop-in sessions across the borough. As a result of these, 133 people and interested parties, including Staffordshire County Council, Natural England and the Environment Agency, responded to Tamworth’s Draft Local Plan.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Economic Development said, “Tamworth is expected to experience a high level of growth in the next few years, and we need to be able to identify and provide the necessary housing, employment, infrastructure and retail to allow the borough to fulfil its full potential.

“These events will help people to see what is included in the Local Plan. It is vital for the future growth and development of Tamworth that we have this in place which can meet the needs of the borough.”

The evidence base for the Local Plan shows that Tamworth has a need of at least 6,250 new homes over the lifetime of the plan, but due to development constraints, such as Green Belt and extensive flood zones, only 4,250 can be accommodated within Tamworth. This is approximately 170 new homes a year.

Work has been ongoing with Lichfield and North Warwickshire Councils for them to help provided 2,000 new homes needed for Tamworth outside of the borough.

  • The Local Plan is a blueprint for development until 2031, containing proposals and policies for employment and housing sites
  • The plan focuses on four over-arching themes: A prosperous borough; strong and vibrant neighbourhoods; a high quality environment, and a sustainable town
  • More than 60 sites across the borough underwent in-depth studies to assess their suitability for future housing, which was reduced to 24 potential sites
  • There are eight proposed sites for employment development
  • The three strategic housing sites: Anker Valley: capacity 500 dwellings; Golf Course: capacity 1100 dwellings; Dunstall Lane: capacity 700 dwellings
Posted in Borough / County Council, Community, Enviroment, Tamworth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Women Prosecuted for Separate Waste and Littering Offences

fineTwo women from Tamworth have been prosecuted by the courts for separate waste and littering offences.

A Wilnecote woman who passed her rubbish on to a third-party who later fly-tipped it has had to pay a total of £435 after she pleaded guilty to a waste offence.

Joyce Hodgson, who lives in Falcon, attended Stafford Magistrates Court on Wednesday October 15 where she pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Duty of Care under Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The court heard that Mrs Hodgson had given her rubbish to a collector to dispose of in May, but had not recorded any details of the collector.

The rubbish was later fly-tipped at Laundry Lane in Shuttington and was traced back to Mrs Hodgson because it contained utility bills with her name and address on them.

Magistrates fined Mrs Hodgson £65, as well as ordering her to pay £350 costs and a victim surcharge of £20.

In a separate case, a woman who dropped a cigarette end in Tamworth town centre ended up with a bill for £482.16 after she was prosecuted by Tamworth Borough Council.

Lara Bartin, 30, of Wandsbeck in Belgrave, was spotted by a street warden dropping the cigarette end on May 9 this year.  She was given an £80 fixed penalty notice for littering, which she failed to pay.

Ms Bartin was found guilty of littering in her absence at Stafford Magistrates Court on October 15.  She was fined £200 for the offence of littering, ordered to pay costs of £262.16 and a victim surcharge of £20.

Cllr Michelle Thurgood, Cabinet member for the Environment and Waste Management, said, “Littering and fly-tipping are unacceptable and are criminal offences.  We will always take action against anyone caught failing to dispose of their waste correctly, fly-tipping or dropping litter in Tamworth.

“Residents may not be aware that if they pass their waste on to someone who goes on to dump it unlawfully, then they run the risk of being prosecuted for duty of care offences themselves, or if they leave items out for scrap men go on to dump them unlawfully.

“The borough council spends almost £1 million every year cleaning up fly-tipping and litter; money that could be used to provide more beneficial services.  Prosecuting and publicising such cases will, we hope, make individuals aware of the penalties that they can face as the result of their careless actions.”

Since April 2013, the following penalties have been issued:

  • 12 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued and paid for littering from cars
  • 28 FPNs issued and paid for littering in the street
  • 5 prosecutions for littering and waste offences after non-payment of FPN
  • 26 juveniles carrying out litter picks instead of paying a FPN

Anyone who spots an act of fly-tipping or littering is encouraged to report it by contacting Tamworth Borough Council on 01827 709709.

  • Tamworth Borough Council provides 750 street litter bins
  • These bins are emptied by Street Scene staff 2,282 times per week
  • Street Scene staff collects on average 200 bags of litter per week
  • This is roughly 215 tonnes per year – the equivalent of 50 African elephants, 430 Minis or 215,000,000 drinks cans
  • It costs approximately £1 million per year to manually clean litter in Tamworth
Posted in Borough / County Council, Community, Enviroment, Tamworth

Free Parking Scheme Extended at Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals

Good HopeFree car parking has been extended to 30 minutes for motorists dropping off patients at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s Hospital sites.

The Trust is to provide an extra 15 minutes free parking from this week for visitors to the Trust’s Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals.

The change has been implemented in response to feedback from patients and visitors, and coincides with the Secretary of State for Health, The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP’s policy statement on car parking standards and new guidelines brought out in August 2014.

As well as an extended period of free drop-off parking Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust also provides a range of discounted multiple day tickets, including passes for those attending particular wards on a regular basis and concessions for anyone visiting the Trust’s Hospital sites for more than one day, providing visitors a number of ways to reduce their parking costs.

Chris Davies, Head of Facilities at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We are committed to offering our patients and visitors safe, cost effective parking facilities. By continuing to offer favourable concessions, and by extending the drop-off free parking period, we hope this will ease the burden of car parking charges for many patients and their friends and family.”

Further information and details regarding our car parking can be found on Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust’s website at www.heartofengland.nhs.uk/parking-fees.

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