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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Meet Your Mercian Ward Councillors in November

Mercian ward surgery November

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New Plans for Former Golf Course go on Show

Tamworth golf courseA blueprint for new housing, open space, additional parkland, a new school and a nature reserve on the former golf course were unveiled this week at a number of public events.

The draft plans reveal approximately 40% of the site will be green open space; it will feature Tamworth’s first community woodland, which is as big as eight rugby pitches or the size of the Castle Grounds, and Hodge Lane Nature Reserve will be extended by 7 hectares.

And the plans also show that trees will screen the new development from existing homes; in some parts of the site these will be up to 40 metres wide, helping to protect existing residents’ views.

The drop-in sessions in Amington and the town centre were held to showcase the draft master plans for the former golf course, encouraging people to leave feedback and also ask questions of the consultants who have helped draw up the plans.

As well as showing what the new development could look like, the events also revealed the benefits the project could bring to Tamworth, including creating up to 200 full-time construction jobs; increased spend in Tamworth of up to £26 million, a third of which would be spent locally, helping to support health, education, retail and leisure services.

As well as asking people for feedback, the events aimed to allay residents’ fears that the land would be over-developed. The plans are also featured on the Council’s website and include a facility to feedback online until November the 2nd.

Other benefits include:

  • 2.6 miles of new cycle paths and pedestrian access connecting the development to the town and into the countryside
  • 10.4 hectares of green networks
  • A new primary school with associated fields and facilities
  • High quality homes including in the region 200 affordable homes
  • Screening for existing homes with green corridors along the outside and through the site
  • A new commercial centre with potential for a shop, pub/restaurant

All feedback received will all be taken into consideration before the planning application is submitted.

A number of documents were also available to people attending such as the environmental study, information on the colliery site, draft highways studies and noise reports. These were all done by independent organisations and not carried out by Tamworth Borough Council.

The events were part of the ‘pre-application’ process; they are not formal plan or options for the site, but a master plan to show what future development could look like.

All residents living in the vicinity of the former golf course and local businesses were sent a letter to inform them and invite them to the three events taking place.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said, “These events are a fantastic opportunity for people to see the draft plans for the redevelopment. The master plan shows very clearly how the site could be laid out; with parkland, a nature reserve, housing and also cycle paths throughout.

“I hope these events help to reduce people’s concerns and give a better idea of what we are hoping to do.

“At this stage no planning application has been submitted and no developer chosen. When we do submit the official outline planning application, residents and other interested parties will get six weeks to have their say on the proposals.

“It is important for residents to remember that Tamworth Borough Council will be putting certain conditions on the site when we sell it. This will ensure any developers will have to adhere to these, including providing open space and parkland for Tamworth residents to enjoy.”

  • An outline planning application is likely to be submitted towards the end of this year or spring 2015
  • At this stage, the public will be consulted for a further six weeks to comment on the plans before it goes to Tamworth Borough Council’s Planning Committee
  • The plans and associated reports for the pre-planning stage can all be seen on Tamworth Borough Council’s website. www.tamworth.gov.uk
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Lafarge Tarmac Withdraws Hopwas Woods from Minerals Local Plan

Hopwas Wood

Hopwas Wood

Lafarge Tarmac has asked Staffordshire County Council to withdraw Hopwas Woods from the Minerals Local Plan, which is currently under public consultation.

Stuart Wykes, Director of Land and Natural Resources, Lafarge Tarmac said, “Following dialogue with stakeholders and partners we have asked Staffordshire County Council to withdraw the Hopwas Woods proposal from the Minerals Local Plan.  We pride ourselves on working in harmony with local communities and want to do so at Hopwas.

“We want to work with local stakeholders on the stewardship of Hopwas Woods and we are willing to fund an independent study on its long-term sustainability.  This could include issues such as public access and environmental protection.

“We are committed to managing and enhancing the local habitat everywhere we operate.  We did not have firm plans to develop Hopwas but intended to use the public consultation on the Minerals Local Plan as an opportunity for dialogue to agree a way forward.”

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UK’s Number 1 Cover Version

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Community Safety Day Aims to Help Residents Stay Safe

Tamworth Community Safety PartnershipA community safety day aimed at giving safety advice and information is being held in Ankerside next month and Tamworth residents are invited to drop in during the day.

The Tamworth Community Safety Partnership is holding the drop-in event at the empty shop unit opposite Clintons Cards from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday November 25 and is urging as many people as possible to come along for advice on issues including home and shed security, how to thwart bag snatchers and purse thieves and staying safe in your own home.

Visitors to the event will be able to meet their local neighbourhood police officers and raise any crime and safety concerns relating to their community. Other members of the partnership who will be on hand to offer help during the day include Tamworth Street Wardens, Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch, Pathway Project and T3.

Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cabinet member for Community Development, said, “This event is a valuable addition to all the other hard work which goes on in Tamworth to make it a safe and secure place to live. It gives us a chance to show people how all the partners are working together to ensure their safety.

“It is a good opportunity for the public to talk to representatives from various organisations and pick up vital personal safety advice. All the help and advice is completely free of charge and I would encourage people to come along and get help to stay safe.”

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Countdown to Tamworth’s Question Time

Tamworth question time 2014There is now less than a week to go until members of the public get the chance to hear their questions answered by a panel of leaders at this year’s Question Time event at Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

The Tamworth Borough Council-run event is taking place next Monday 3rd November and will once again be chaired by Tamworth Herald editor Gary Phelps, who will be putting questions to the four-strong panel.

This year, the panel being put under the spotlight is made up of: Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Cook; Tamworth Borough Council’s chief executive, Tony Goodwin; Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis and Aliko Ahmed, Director of Public Health at Staffordshire County Council.

Last year almost 150 people attended the event, which saw a lively debate take place about a range of subjects important to Tamworth residents. Local radio station TCRFM will also be broadcasting the entire event live on the evening, so those who are unable to attend can tune in.

This year’s Question Time event will be split into themes looking at: healthier communities, safer communities and regeneration and growth.

The Assembly Rooms will open at 7pm and the Question Time event will start at 7.30pm.

Tickets, which are free of charge, are still available. They can be obtained from the Tamworth Information Centre, located in the Philip Dix Centre. Alternatively email tic@tamworth.gov.uk or telephone 01827 709618 to reserve a ticket. Tickets are limited to 250 for the event.

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Tamworth’s MP Attends Good Hope Services Meeting

Good HopeLast Friday Heart of England Foundation Trust officials came to the Holiday Inn Express in Tamworth to talk to local people about proposed changes to services provided at Good Hope hospital.

Two information sessions were held on the day with Tamworth’s MP, Christopher Pincher who persuaded HEFT to hold the event, in attendance at the morning session.

Each session featured a presentation by the Trust on its proposals, a short video and a Question and Answer session with clinicians. Their object is to create a “centre of excellence” in surgery in each of their hospital sites so that patients receive a better outcome.

Mr Pincher said afterwards, “First of all I am pleased that Trust officials and surgeons made the time to come to Tamworth to outline their proposals in a very clear and I think transparent way. Their approach is an object lesson to other Trusts in how to engage with people.

“The proposals will see services such as orthopaedic and thoracic (chest) surgery moved from Good Hope to Heartlands. However the Trust was keen to point out that only the surgery element would be moved with all pre and post-operative care and support taking place locally such as at Good Hope.

“My key concern is to ensure that as they aim to improve quality of care, the Trust does not lose sight of the importance of access to care. Heartlands is a notoriously difficult hospital to get to and we must ensure that any change does not make it more difficult or more costly for patients, and importantly their families, to get to hospital.

“The doctors and officials made clear they are aware of this and promised to ensure that transport options will be provided for the surgery element of care when those patients need to go to Heartlands. I will keep a careful watch on this issue as getting transport right is crucial to these proposals.

“But I was pleased to learn that some new surgery services will be moved into Good Hope such as urology and some gastro intestinal surgery. That means for some local patients, they will now be able to get their operations done at Good Hope and will not have to travel as far as they do now.

“My biggest concern however is to ensure that both HEFT and the Burton Trust are talking to each other so that the cumulative effect of their individual proposals at Good Hope and the Sir Robert Peel do not reduce care services for my constituents. I was pleased to hear that HEFT is planning to have detailed discussions with the Burton Trust in the next two weeks and I have asked that they keep me in touch.”

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