Call for Pub Closures to Halt EDL Violence

Walsall’s leading Labour councillor is calling for police to use powers to shut pubs on August 15 when the EDL intends to hold a demonstration in the town. His call comes as more>

Drugs and prostitution; Residents’ Fears

Residents in Palfrey are demanding action by the police and Walsall Council over an alleyway that is being used by prostitutes and drug users. The footpath, that runs behind homes and businesses, more>

Road Safety Report Given Green Light

Plans to increase road safety and ease traffic congestion in Caldmore’s business centre are to go ahead after councillors backed a report by transport officers; despite opposition by local traders. The proposals more>

Spot Fines for Irresponsible Dog Owners

Street cleaners and park wardens in Walsall could be empowered to hand out £100 spot fines after councillors backed a Labour plan to tackle irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after more>

Setting Reading Challenge for Youngsters

Parents in Darlaston are being urged to sign up their children to a Big Reading Challenge to help them improve their literacy skills during the school summer holidays. The fun activity will more>

Voting for Walsall’s Best Interests

Councillors should put the interests of Walsall people first when they decide tonight who will run the borough for the next 12 months, council leader Sean Coughlan has said. His call for more>

More Improvements to Darlaston’s Bus Services

Public transport users in Darlaston are to get another boost to their services following the recent announcement of £120,000 investment in the town’s bus station. Two services are to be merged in more>

Remembering Tim Oliver

On the first anniversary of the death of the former leader of Walsall Labour Group, Tim Oliver, I would like to mark the passing of my friend and colleague who did so more>

Community Focus is Key to Council Success

Labour members of Walsall Council have laid out their plans for the future, in talks which will decide who will run the authority for the next 12 months. The “Community Focused” strategy more>

New Cash for Darlaston Transport and Road Safety

Shoppers and residents in Darlaston will be safer as £120,000 is invested in upgrading the town’s bus station and improving pedestrian crossings. Local councillor, Doug James, has welcomed the investment which he more>

Call for Pub Closures to Halt EDL Violence

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council's Labour group.

Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council’s Labour group.

Walsall’s leading Labour councillor is calling for police to use powers to shut pubs on August 15 when the EDL intends to hold a demonstration in the town. His call comes as the police prepare for another visit by the right wing group whose last appearance in September 2012 resulted in violent disorder and numerous arrests.

On that day, and in follow up operations, nearly 50 men were arrested and convicted for offences of throwing missiles at police officers, including concrete slabs, bricks and pieces of wood. In total, courts handed out sentences amounting to 60 years.
At trial, Robin Allen, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service said the EDL were fuelled by ‘hate and alcohol’ and police officers faced the ‘worst violence that they have been subjected to in a public order situation.’

Calling for pubs to be shut, Cllr Coughlan, said there are powers available to the police to close premises if there is a likelihood of disorder. “The EDL’s intention is to provoke hate and fear of our neighbours, to spread lies and stoke distrust among communities and undermine the good relations between those of different backgrounds and faiths. I don’t want to disrupt the trade of local businesses but there is a clear link between the violence of the EDL and drink. Bizarrely, the EDL blame the police for the violence their drunken members caused when they came to Walsall.

“So for the protection of the public and police officers I think we should look at closing pubs in the town centre, at least those in close proximity to the demonstration.” He added: “There is one more advantage of pubs closing, if enough of them stay sober long enough; they will learn that the people of Walsall don’t want them here.”

Darlaston’s Bus Station Improvements on Track

Corrie Halford and local councillor, Doug James,welcoming the improvements to Darlaston Bus station

Corrie Halford and local councillor, Doug James,welcoming the improvements to Darlaston Bus station

Work to ensure shoppers and residents in Darlaston will be safer has begun as £120,000 is invested in upgrading the town’s bus station and improving pedestrian crossings. Local councillor, Doug James and community activist, Corrie Halford were on site to welcome the investment which will improve services for bus users and road safety at the St Lawrence Way station which serves Darlaston’s shops.

The improvements are a joint project between Walsall Council and Centro. The cash will improve existing bus shelters and the installation of digital information boards will tell passengers when their bus service is expected to arrive in real time. The money will also see the building of a new pedestrian crossing while an existing crossing at the junction of Dorsett Road and King Edwards Street will be upgraded.

Cllr James said: “I’ve been working with Walsall Council and West Midland’s transport authority, Centro, along with local residents for sometime and it’s pleasing to see how hard officers from both organisations have worked to get this project off the ground.” Corrie Halford added: “It’s very difficult nowadays to get money for any project so this response to the needs of local people is great. The investment will improve the facilities and road safety for local residents, shoppers and passengers.”

Work on the improvements is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Drugs and prostitution; Residents’ Fears

local resident Mr Matloob Hussain, left, and Cllr Allah Ditta holding used syringes and drugs paraphernalia left by drug users

Local resident, Mr Matloob Hussain,  and Cllr Allah Ditta holding used syringes and drugs paraphernalia left by drug users

Residents in Palfrey are demanding action by the police and Walsall Council over an alleyway that is being used by prostitutes and drug users. The footpath, that runs behind homes and businesses, has now become a no go area for local residents at night because they are too afraid to use it.

Labour councillor, Allah Ditta, has now joined in the demands for action after seeing for himself the problems of discarded needles and drug paraphernalia that are left scattered on the ground. Local people fear if nothing is done that children could be harmed by used syringes, and teenagers could be drawn into drug use.

Mr Matloob Hussian, who has lived in the area for over 40 years, said the problem is getting worse by the day. “The alleyway is a public footpath that connects Wednesbury Road and Corporation Street West. It is used by prostitutes at night and drug users who inject heroin. If you walk down here in the morning you can always find the needles and syringes they throw away,” he explained. “As soon as it gets dark local people don’t use it, they are too afraid.”

He added dealers sometimes meet at its entrance which has prompted fears youngsters will be drawn into the drugs trade.

Cllr Ditta said he would be calling for gates to be installed at both ends of the alleyway which could be locked at night and increased police patrols but feared public spending cuts in the council and police could delay action. “Walsall Borough Safety Partnership has responsibility for combating crime and it is good at the paperwork but because of cuts, in reality they are doing nothing.

“When I contact council officers with concerns, I am told that the decision has to be taken by a cabinet member. That takes time and means you have to go begging to the portfolio holder for action. You shouldn’t have to do that”

Road Safety Report Given Green Light

Cllr Lee Jeavons

Cllr Lee Jeavons

Plans to increase road safety and ease traffic congestion in Caldmore’s business centre are to go ahead after councillors backed a report by transport officers; despite opposition by local traders. The proposals to introduce one way traffic system along the Caldmore Road were given agreement by a full meeting of Walsall council after rejecting claims that problems were the fault of too many buses using the road

The approval means the council will continue with the scheme which will start at Vicarage Place to Caldmore Green in the heart of the area’s shopping centre. Local traders claimed it would kill off passing business.

In defending the proposals, former portfolio holder for transport, Labour’s Councillor Lee Jeavons said congestion was so bad vehicles were forced to drive on the pavements. Local councillors Eileen Russell and Aftab Nawaz warned that if nothing was done a fatal accident was sure to happen.

The £200,000 scheme won approval when Councillor Adrian Andrew, the newly appointed portfolio holder for transport, said he would urge Conservative members to support the report’s recommendations.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Jeavons said: “I am pleased that following my plea to councillors for action to be taken to protect pedestrians from a very real threat from vehicles mounting the pavement, the current portfolio holder has agreed that something needs to be done quickly and that a one way scheme is probably the way to go.

“This issue has been discussed in some shape or form since 2007 and I believe residents and pupils at the nearby school will welcome action from the council to resolve the problems that exist along the whole length of Caldmore Rd.”

Spot Fines for Irresponsible Dog Owners

Street cleaners and park wardens in Walsall could be empowered to hand out £100 spot fines after councillors backed a Labour plan to tackle irresponsible dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets. Members of all parties voted through the measure at Monday night’s full council meeting after hearing that dog fouling was a major issue for residents when using open spaces such as parks.

The meeting also decided to give council workers the power to issue fines to people who litter in public areas. If offenders don’t pay, they can be taken to court and face a penalty of up to £1000 if they lose their case.

Councillor Ian Robertson, who moved the plan, said dog fouling was a major problem for residents and park users. “I am so pleased councillors have backed our call to get tough on this issue. In the past, the council has tried to educate dog owners about the health and anti-social consequences of not cleaning up after their pets. The majority of owners are responsible but some simply don’t take any notice or just don’t care.

“Apart from being an unpleasant nuisance if you step in it or fall in it, dog mess can also be a health hazard. Small children are at risk from Toxocariasis, a parasite in faeces, which can result in partial or total loss of sight.”

ENDS