Welcome to my blog!

I am one of the three Tamworth Borough Councillors for the Mercian Ward, first 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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Secure Your Vehicle – Spate of Vehicle Thefts

Staffordshire Police are urging owners of keyless entry cars and high-performance vehicles to protect themselves from theft following a spate across the county.

Thieves are targeting high value performance vehicles such as Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Fords, which are left parked on driveways or in the street.

The majority of thefts occur overnight and the cars targeted tend to be only a  few years old.

Staffordshire Police have issued the following advice:

  • Keeping all keys out of sight and away from doors and windows
  • Installing a home security system and setting an intruder alarm at night
  • Installing and activating a tracking device on your vehicle
  • Install good outside lighting
  • Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight
  • Store your keys away from household entry points and windows. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify the signal.  Drivers are also being urged to keep both sets of keys in a faraday cage or pouch which blocks the signal from the fob

Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, and report anything unusual to the Police.

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Tamworth Residents Could Get Funding to Replace Broken Gas Boilers

Tamworth residents on a limited income could benefit from new funding for broken gas boilers, as part of the Emergency Central Heating Offer scheme.

Tamworth Borough Council is one of the few local authorities nationally to be able to access the Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO), available through the council’s Home Energy Advice Tamworth (HEAT) service.

A broken boiler during the winter months can be a chilly and stressful experience for most people.  For those in poor health, elderly, or with limited incomes, the prospect of cold related ill-health is very real and many worry about ending up in hospital.  With widespread reports of pressures on the NHS in the winter months due to cold conditions, HEAT are keen to do all they can to help householders stay warm in their homes.

A Belgrave resident phoned HEAT after their insurance company refused to repair the boiler because it had broken down five times since September.  The pensioner, who suffers with paralysis, had free boiler replacement through the scheme.

HEAT advisors also applied for the Warm Homes Discount on behalf of the resident, saving £140, checked they were on a suitable tariff and signed up them up to the Priority Services Register.  Thanks to HEAT, this resident can face the winter in a warm home.

The HEAT scheme is run by Tamworth Borough Council in partnership with Marches Energy Agency and Beat the Cold.  It offers free help and advice about staying warm.

Davina Allen, Project Manager for HEAT, said, “HEAT advisors can discuss qualifying criteria and make applications on behalf of residents over the phone, should they qualify.

“HEAT is particularly keen to hear from households where certain health conditions call for extra heat at home.  Such households can also be signed up for the Priority Services Register, a scheme run by Western Power Distribution offering extra help during power cuts.

“As well as funding for boiler replacements, the service can offer advice on insulation, energy tariffs and discounts.

“We often take calls from people concerned about neighbours or friends who are struggling either with a crisis like a broken boiler, or who face daily decisions about whether to heat or eat.

“Many people struggle on with broken or intermittent systems, unaware that they could be eligible for help.  With the new Emergency Central Heating Offer and home visit support available, we hope to be in a position to help.”

HEAT can be contacted on Freephone 0800 0432 815 or on heat@tamworth.gov.uk  Advice is free and impartial to all residents.  Funding is subject to eligibility criteria, and callers will need to provide personal information such as their household income or the benefits they receive, as part of the assessment.

More information on tackling fuel poverty is available from the National Energy Action website.

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EastEnders Safety Concerns Raised by Watchdog

The condition of the external film set used for the BBC1 soap opera EastEnders has led to health and safety concerns.

A report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) warns the outdoors set is in such poor condition that there have been delays in filming “due to health and safety concerns.”

The original set was built in 1984 and originally expected to last two years.

“Degradation has led to increasing filming delays owing to stoppages in production due to health and safety concerns, and there are ongoing maintenance costs to ensure filming can continue,” the report states.

In 2013, the BBC proposed building a temporary set, two-thirds of the size of the existing external filming site, called E20, while it constructed a new permanent set.

It expected E20 to cost £59.7 million and to be completed by August 2018, but in October 2017, the BBC reported internally that its revised plans were no longer achievable due to forecast delays and cost increases.

As a result of more realistic plans, the BBC now forecasts E20 will cost £86.7 million – 45% more than the original budget.

The report states, “The BBC considers E20 as critically important as it has the intended benefits of: maintaining EastEnders’ competitiveness; allowing new technology and high-definition filming to be used; and introducing design, structural and health and safety improvements.”

Read the Full Article

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Tamworth Residents Urged To Act Fast To Secure Their £140 Energy Bill Discount

Thousands of Tamworth residents could benefit from a £140 rebate as the Warm Homes discount scheme is rolled out to new energy suppliers.

Offered by energy suppliers, many schemes are now open and operate on a first-come-first served basis.  Many smaller suppliers are involved in the scheme this year for the first time.  Residents are being urged to contact Home Energy Advice Tamworth (HEAT) on 0800 043 2815 for more information and to apply.

The HEAT scheme is run by Tamworth Borough Council in partnership with Marches Energy Agency and Beat the Cold.  It offers free help and advice about staying warm.

The discount is available to those on a low income and in receipt of certain means-tested benefits.  Eligibility criteria for people may also include:

  • Your household energy supplier on July 8, 2018 was part of the scheme
  • A member of your household receives employment related benefits
  • You are over 65
  • You have a disability
  • You live with a child under 18
  • You spend a significant portion of your income on energy bills.

Residents who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit will once again qualify automatically for the discount.  They should have received information from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Davina Allen, Project Manager for HEAT said, “With many suppliers announcing price rises, it’s more important than ever that eligible households claim their discount to help with their heating bills over the winter.

HEAT advisors can discuss qualifying criteria and make applications on behalf of residents over the phone, should they qualify.  If you think you qualify, you should contact us without delay.

“HEAT is particularly keen to hear from households where particular health conditions call for extra heat at home.  Such households can also be signed up for the Priority Services Register, a scheme run by Western Power Distribution offering extra help during power cuts.

“As well as getting the £140 discounts, we often find there are other ways we can help, such as accessing a grant to improve heating or insulation.”

More information on tackling fuel poverty is available from the National Energy Action website.

If an eligible applicant is successful, £140 will automatically be deducted by the provider from their winter 2018-19 energy bill by the end of March 2019.  The Warm Homes Discount is a separate from, and will not affect, any Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments.

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Free Parking in Run Up to Christmas

free parkTraders, shoppers and visitors to Tamworth are being given an early Christmas present – free festive car parking and a Christmas Eve market.

Parking will be free in all of Tamworth Borough Council’s car parks on the two Saturdays leading up to Christmas – December 15 and December 22.  Ankerside Shopping Centre is also offering free parking in its car park on those two Saturdays.  Please note the offer does not apply to the NCP car park on the site of the former Gungate Precinct.

The car parking fees are being waived on these days in a bid to boost town centre trade by encouraging more people to come into Tamworth to shop.

An extra market day will also take place in the run-up to Christmas on December 24, Christmas Eve, giving shoppers a last-minute chance to get any Christmas gifts and treats.  Tuesday, December 18, Friday, December 21 and Saturday, December 22, will be normal market days.  Please note there will be no market on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

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Fazeley Remembers The Fallen

This gallery contains 8 photos.

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No Trick or Treat Leaflet

Halloween is tonight and whilst many enjoy Halloween, there are plenty who do not like having their doors knocked on at night and “No Trick or Treat” signs displayed in windows and on doors are polite reminders that not everybody wants to take part.

If you not have a “No Trick or Treat” leaflet and would like to have one to display in your property, you can click on the the one below and print it off.

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