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Sandwell or Solihull?

Woden Road Lake


The picture above was taken near my home in Wednesbury, which is part of Sandwell. Six towns make up Sandwell as part of local government reorganisation that made large Metropolitan Areas governed by Metropolitan councils. These were formed in 1974 and many people think it made things worse. Local government certainly became more ‘politically correct’.

I read this week that Sandwell is one of the most deprived areas in the West Midlands. This doesn’t surprise me. The most affluent area was Solihull and this got me thinking. I wondered how I would get to Solihull, so I could see how they made their money. I checked it out on Google maps, it 24.7 miles from here and it would take me about 31 minutes to get there. I just go down the M6 onto the M42 and turn off at junction 5. Just a minute, I went through Birmingham last time, it was a few decades ago… Why can’t I go that way? I checked…  If I go down the A34 through Birmingham it’s only 18.7 miles, but it takes 36 minutes. Why is Google telling me to do an extra 6 miles? That’s an extra litre of petrol nearly; extra quid anyway. Doesn’t Google know the price of petrol in the UK?

I decided to see if Solihull had changed much by using Street view. Well, it’s bloody cheaper than driving there! It’s still as posh, nice big houses and drives suitable for a number of cars; just as well there was a lot of yellow lines to stop parking on the roads. There were no speed humps and little traffic; hell it’s not nice like that around here. There was a lot of greenery too and I didn’t see any graffiti. I wondered for a moment what the people of Solihull do that makes them so well off. Do they make things? They’re too far from the sea to build ships and all their cars appeared to be imported. That was to remain a mystery because I remembered Chelmsley Wood, a less pleasant part of Solihull, that I seem to remember. What is it like today? I went on a Street View tour. This is what I’m used to! Cheap housing, no drive ways, cars parked on the pavement and God awful speed humps that went right across the roads! Now things were starting to look clear.

I now why we are deprived, we spend all the money on speed humps and traffic calming in poorer areas. That forces the traffic onto A and B roads causing chaotic traffic jams. Then traffic lights are installed so people can cross the roads making the traffic worse. This is why I need to do an extra 6 miles to drive from here to Solihull; the motorways are the only roads left that are hump free! But for how long? They already have spy cameras to check on speed!

I found the blog that was set up for the Chief Executive of Sandwell Council this morning; it’s for employees only and has about 1,000 subscribers. I wouldn’t have thought that many people would want to suck up! That blog has an editor who I assume gets paid and it cost over £5,000 to set up; that’s more than I spent to set up A zillion Ideas! My blog is a dot com too! I left a comment on that blog anyway, just to be nice!

Smile with tongue out

There are more blogs on the Home Page. You might like yesterday’s blog which was also about the Black Country! Please share with your friends on Facebook,  subscribe ( I don’t have a 1,000 subscribers yet) and maybe click ‘like’.

Thanks for reading…


22 responses

  1. Local government! Don’t say a word! I might lose my temper. I’m definitely having a hate hate relationship with one at the moment…. It would be so good to see common sense return and prevail…….

    Good post.

    11, March 2012 at 11:49 am

    • They get worse don’t they. They spend a fortune on pet projects while our community projects get shut down because of lack of funds.

      11, March 2012 at 4:36 pm

  2. Great post. How come “we” need speed bumps and people in more affluent areas do not? Do we have the monopoly on fast-driving fancy race cars? Last I looked, they did.

    11, March 2012 at 1:47 pm

    • I think we have more get away drivers here! 🙂

      11, March 2012 at 4:35 pm

      • True, I hadn’t thought about that particular circumstance! Heheheheh

        11, March 2012 at 5:07 pm

  3. I remember blogging about the Sandwell Blog in an old Sunday Roast when it was on Myspace. I think it costs another £4k to run each year and I commented why? Like you, I seem to do it for nothing so surely someone could do it as part of their job. How long are they blogging for each week?

    12, March 2012 at 7:30 pm

    • Hi Nick,

      My new one is self hosted and so not free but under £100 and so I would have thought the CEO of Sandwell Council could set up a WordPress blog himself; he does get paid around 100K a year! Why does he need an editor too?

      You can’t make it up can you?

      12, March 2012 at 11:35 pm

      • Mind you, Sandwell is the place where they put fake shop fronts in to make empty ones look occupied, so they’re good at making stuff up.

        13, March 2012 at 1:25 am

  4. Hi Nick,

    Sandwell are the experts at believing what they want to believe! The expressway at West Brom seems to be nearly finished. It will take traffic away from the High Street and could be better than the Broadway around Walsall; eventually. That’s really boring now. I used to go faster on my bike on the Broadway when I was in High school.

    Thanks for visiting.

    13, March 2012 at 9:06 am

  5. Dentists Solihull

    What a waste of tax payers hard earned money “pet projects” are! I have never been to Sandwell, is it as bad as you say?

    13, March 2012 at 5:20 pm

    • As the picture shows we have nice places but I think bringing back the ‘green cross’ code would be cheaper than traffic calming and we would all use less petrol!

      Thanks for visiting.

      13, March 2012 at 6:32 pm

  6. Dentists Solihull

    The picture is lovely and I think we do need more “green places”.

    I really like your blog – Very interactive!

    14, March 2012 at 9:15 am

    • Hi James,

      We try to be interactive. I go to a lot of nature reserves and I find they are now edged in new housing and this continues to encroach. Often we find there is some green space left, it’s there on the map but access is a path between modern housing. No one uses it hardly except the locals who know it’s there and they walk their dogs there. In some cases the only access left is through someone’s garden! How long before there is none left? With HS2 planned, the greed of our masters in London is even hitting the countryside.

      14, March 2012 at 10:03 am

  7. Dentists Solihull

    Hi Mike,

    Its nice to see a interactive blog – and you seem to have a good bunch of followers too!

    It will be a shame if we continue to lose more of our green areas, I grew up in a small village near Solihull and I spent most of my childhood playing outdoors – riding my bike, playing sport – the good old days with no worries! Nowadays it is a rare occurrence to see children making the most of the outdoors. It will be even harder to convince children to play outside if they keep taking these areas away!

    its such a shame for everyone if this continues!

    14, March 2012 at 10:14 am

    • There are few places where adults can feel safe now. I used to ride my bike around the canals and I went back to a favorite spot on Sunday. The woodland has a new road through it and housing and a new school for the new residents. Canal locks have been filled in and I didn’t feel too safe. There was a guy walking his dog, some cyclists in a group riding down the tow path; then a group of drunks on the way home from the pub! I also saw the kids with their spray cans who do all the graffiti too. It could be so nice, if they spent the money wisely and educated the kids. Greed everywhere spoils things for all.

      14, March 2012 at 10:19 am

      • Dentists Solihull

        its terrible the way things are going. I never understood why you would graffiti and litter the place you live! There are so many greedy people out there and I do believe it is killing our areas!

        14, March 2012 at 10:38 am

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