Upon locking my bicycle in Mell Square I have a habit of glancing up at the clock to check the time. Strangely it seems always to be just after twelve!
This has been happening for as long as I can remember. Assuming it’s broken and it’s the council’s responsibility, are there no resources to fix it?
Quite how councillor Jim Ryan has the barefaced gall to imply Solihull council has the interests of the conservation area, and that of the historic buildings, at heart beggars belief.
The grade II* listed Manor House is mentioned. Perhaps he has forgotten that the very existence of that building is under threat from the proposed Touchwood extension.
There is a Compulsory Purhase Order still in force to take part of the land, build a high building right up to the house at the rear, compromise the gardens and cutt off proper access. All this at the heart of the so-called conservation area.
It is heartening I suppose, that someone, a Mr James Carpenter (the council’s Head of Development Management), has at least shown some concern for this beautiful historic building and stated that a proposed new bank building on the High Street would not be appropriate. Thankfully, this has not been given the go-ahead.
Mr Ryan goes on to say Solihull council is one of the best and most enlightened local authorities at protecting its ancient buildings and monuments.
Well, I beg to differ. There are plenty of examples where this is not the case, and official vandalism rules in the borough.
The rape of Drury Lane and Mill Lane, the destruction of Touchwood Hall in 1962 to name but a few. The creation of Mell Square and the monstrosities in Homer Road are a few more.
Another example of official neglect is the area known as ‘The Cloister Walk’ in Touchwood. The garden there is completely overgrown, fenced off for some reason, and full of litter, and this is right in the heart of our town and conservation area – disgraceful. Also worth mentioning is a small area of overgrown and neglected greenery in the Square, right opposite St Alphege Church.
You’ve only got to visit a few small towns in France or Spain to see how things should have been done. There are small towns in the UK that make an effort and get it right. Locally, Lichfield and Leamington Spa to name just two. All Solihull wants to do is to knock things down and generally uglify the place with monstrosities that nobody wants.
Mr A Zimmerman
Having lived in the borough since 1962, I’ve seen many changes – including demolitions galore!
To name but a few – Touchwood Hall, all the beautiful black and white cottages in Mill Lane/Drury Lane, houses in George Road and Warwick Road, and of course the modern but much missed civic hall (which played such a big part in our lives).
Cottages went in Blossomfield Road and Marshall Lake Road and various farm houses at Monkspath. The Manor House with its beautiful garden and Shirley High Stgreet and the row of Georgian buldings nearby.
How councillor Ryan can sat that Solihull is one of the best local authorities in the country for protecting listed buildings and ancient monuments is an absolute joke. May I suggest he goes to Specsavers!
Carole C Howell
I was delighted to read your articles about the work being done on the Knowle war memorial. It is clearly a splendid project and a fitting tribute to the many brave people from the area who made the supreme sacrifice, not only in World War One, though that is the proper focus of our efforts in this centenary year of the signing of the Armistice.
As Vicar of Shirley Parish and based at St James’s, it is my privilege to share responsibility for the upkeep of the Shirley war memorial that stands in St James’s churchyard in a prominent position overlooking Stratford Road. Every year, hundreds of local residents, including many young people, gather on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to those who were killed in two world wars, including Katy Beaufoy, one of the few women to be so commemorated.
Over the past year, those same residents have joined the local branch of the Royal British Legion, the Shirley Lions and members of the congregation at St James’s to renovate and repair the monument, by providing commitment, skill and by raising funds. They were ably advised and supported by the War Memorials Trust.
The result is that the memorial will soon be restored to its original condition, to take pride of place once again in Shirley’s continuing thanksgiving for the values of courage and loyalty for which the monument stands, as we prepare with all the people of the Borough of Solihull to mark this most important of centenaries.
Rev Peter Law-Jones
Vicar of Shirley
Like Shirley Otter I remember Hall Green Parade in the Forties having grown up in Hall Green.
This type of shopping is now out of date.The days of the wife walking to the shops each day with a basket have been overtaken by personal mobility which has aided the rise of the supermarkets.This decline in local shops has been aided by greedy landlords and Councillors who have no idea whatsoever about retailing.You can see this in Solihull and the empty shops in Mell Square.Once the Jewel in the crown of Solihull retailing and now second best to Touchwood.Planners?Too too many shops!
Lack of Parking is also not helping,parking restrictions have pushed shoppers from High Streets and out of towns.
The other enemy of shops is the Internet.Look at the names of major retailers in trouble.
Hall Green is like many other places,and the situation will only become worse,Brexit produced inflation and the need to raise taxes to pay for what we want in social services,not a good outlook.