Quiz Night and Supper at The Memo tonight!

Looks like a great night out!

Tonight – Saturday November 21st, 2015 – there will be quiz night and supper up at The Memo in Lichfield Road, Brownhills, starting at 7:30pm.

The organiser, Julia Willett said:

Fab quiz night again. £3.50 per person. Teams of 4. Supper included and don’t forget to bring your own drinks.

If you pop down, why not comment here and let us know how you got on?

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Road accident at Sandhills – avoid if you can

Updated 12:35pm: road is now clear

Hi folks

Thanks to reader Stephen Hill, I can share the news that there’s been a road traffic collision at what appears to be the junction between the A461 Lichfield Road and Barracks/Cartersfield Lane at Sandhills , between Shire Oak and Muckley Corner.

Two vans appear to have been in collision. It’s not known if there have been serious casualties.

Stephen said:

One of the vans pulled a cross the crossing as another van was coming along the road according to witnesses and they collided the silver van rolled and landed back upright on all 4 wheels

I believe the road to be currently closed (Saturday, 21st November 2015, 12:10pm) and emergency services are in attendance.


Image kindly supplied by Stephen Hill


Image kindly supplied by Stephen Hill


Image kindly supplied by Stephen Hill


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Fantastic live music at The Chase Inn this weekend!


A wonderful dose of classic rock for a great Saturday Night.

The Chase Inn at Newtown, Brownhills goes from strength to strength – there’s not only great ale and a warm, welcoming atmosphere, but great live music most weekends, too – and there’s a great act on this weekend.

This Saturday evening (21st November 2015) you can catch popular covers act Rock of Ages Reborn from 9pm. There will be an outdoor bar and hot pork and beef rolls too!

Kim Savage from the Chase Inn had this to say:

ROAR will be gracing our stage the 21st of November! We will be having our outside bar open and be serving hot pork and beef cobs! Join us for a brilliant night of music from the Rock Of Ages tribute band

It’s free entry and there’s great ale, cider and a banging atmosphere.

The pub was in the doldrums for years, but now under new management, the buzz around the Chase Inn has been building. The recent real ale and cider festival was a real hit – it’s so good to see a local pub revived.

Why not get down there? You’re guaranteed an excellent time…

For the satnav folk, the address is: 6 Watling Street, Newtown, Brownhills WS8 6JS

You can contact the pub on: 01543 899568 or visit their Facebook page.

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Walsall Wood at home in FA Vase action against Holbeach this afternoon


Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun tonight and see some cracking football.

Saturday 21st November 2015

Walsall Wood FC at home to Holbeach United

Catch the local lads in FA Vase action!

Don’t break your Wood vows be there and be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Oak Park, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood. WS9 9NP.

Check out the club website here.


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It’s time to have your say

Untitled 9

Walsall Wood has an excellent library, and it would be very, very sad to see it close. Imagery from the remarkable Apple Maps.

As many of you will know, the cuts are ongoing at Walsall Council and in the coming year the authority faces a shortfall of another £25 million, and sadly, this is really going to impact on local services we take for granted.

There are details of the general consultation at the end of this post, and many of you may like to respond this coming weekend.

Readers may also be aware of the proposed cuts to the support of Walsall Citizens Advice Bureaux which have caused much controversy – you can find out more about that here, and join the opposition campaign here. There’s also an online petition you can sign here.

The reason I write today is to draw reader attention to the proposals for libraries specifically, under which Walsall Wood’s library is slated for closure and will move in some form to the new Active Living Centre currently being constructed at Oak Park.

Walsall Council have this to say on the matter:

Proposal 74 – Consider closure of 7 libraries and the Mobile Library Service with retention of 9 libraries and the Housebound Service

The proposal for consultation is to consider closure of 7 libraries (Beechdale, Blakenall, New Invention, Pleck, Rushall, South Walsall, with Walsall Wood book exchange relocated to Oak Park Active Living Centre) keeping 9 libraries and the housebound service as the core library service for the Borough – Aldridge, Bloxwich. Brownhills, Darlaston, Pelsall, Pheasey, Streetly, Willenhall, Central, Housebound Library Service).

The proposal would save a total of £487,912, £328,854 to be delivered in 2016/17 representing implementation at the end of July and a further £159,058 in 2017/18.

Proposal 75 – Implement Open+ technology in retained libraries to support opening hours and enable the more efficient deployment of staff

Open+ is a system which enables access to library buildings and basic facilities without the need to have library staff on site. It works with the existing library management system and will automatically control self-service kiosks, public access computers, security, lighting etc. It has the potential to extend library opening hours and save on revenue budgets by only having staff available at times that have been identified as the busiest.

This proposal would see the implementation of Open+ in those retained libraries which have the appropriate layout and thereby enable staff efficiencies and possible enhanced hours of access. In association with the proposal for the rationalisation of the library network, this would offer savings of around £349,813.

Implementation could be in 2017/18 to allow for the procurement and installation of the system.

How to have your say on these proposals

It is planned that focus groups will be held at all libraries proposed for closure.

Residents and service users can also have their say by emailing libraryconsultation@walsall.gov.uk or by telephoning Allyson Hunt on 01922 650322.

You can also have your say via our short online survey here.

There are planned consultation events you can attend at Walsall Wood Library: these take place from 2.30 to 4pm on Wednesday 25th and  Saturday 28th November 2015 – all are welcome to attend.

Events at other libraries own Walsall are listed here.

Please do take part in the consultations if you can. The cuts will massively affect not just our patch, but the whole borough and I’d like to think we can all have our say.

Walsall council have supplied the following information on the wider budget consultation:

Budget consultation – Financial Year 2016-17

Walsall Council sets a budget each year and has to decide how to allocate available money to the wide range of vital services it provides to the community. The budget setting process involves some difficult decisions, which reflect national and local priorities, as well as the needs, wants and aspirations of 270,000 residents.

Have your say on the council purpose and spending priorities here.

Have your say on proposed changes to services in the 2016/17 draft budget here.

Answer our detailed online survey on the proposal for libraries

Answer our detailed online survey on the proposal for Public Health Lifestyle Services

Answer our detailed online survey on the proposal for the New Art Gallery

Do you contribute to the cost of your care services? Answer our online survey on the proposal for community based charging

How Walsall Council delivers its services to residents across the borough is related directly to the funding it has available.  This funding is secured through two key sources; the amount of money we can raise from council tax and funding from central government (often called grants).

Since 2010, it has been well documented that funding to all councils from central government has been greatly reduced.  In fact, over the last four years, Walsall Council alone has made savings of over £84 million.  However, this persistent pressure to reduce costs is set to continue into 2020, by which time the council must save a further £85 million.


Key facts

  • Walsall Council has already reduced spending in 2015/16 by identifying efficiencies of £29.2m to balance the budget
  • Due to further cuts in funding, further efficiencies of around £84.8m will be required over the next four years
  • The latest information from government shows that national spending totals are forecasted to reduce by 40% by 2020/21. Actual allocations for 2016/17 will not be known until December 2015.

Over the last five years, Walsall council has developed its annual budget with the primary aim of preserving vital services, whilst also meeting its obligation to achieve the required savings.  Every year this task is becoming increasingly difficult.  Choices are becoming limited, because there are statutory services that the council has to protect by law such as looking after our elderly and protecting and safeguarding young people and children.  We also have a legal requirement to provide certain leisure and community services, too.   So how and where we spend money is becoming very challenging indeed.

We are now setting our budget for 2016/17 and must again draft a balanced budget proposal with £25 million less.  In this dire economic climate, now more than ever, we need your involvement as decisions made now will determine how we deliver services in the future.

Undoubtedly, these are difficult times and difficult decisions will have to be made.   The levels of Council service provision will inevitably change. Some services will no longer be available.  This is why your views are central to the final budget decisions to be made in February 2016.   As your council, we will remain committed to delivering services you need in a way that offers both value for money and preserves services for those who are most in need.

Listening and responding to the views of residents is key to our budget setting process.  No final decisions on spending have been made so far, but what is not negotiable is the total budget figure which cannot change.

Have your say on council purpose and priorities

The council will focus on the following key purpose and priorities over the next 4 years, within the constraints of decreasing resources.

Our purpose:  

Improve lives and life chances for everyone who lives and works in the Borough of Walsall and, in so doing, minimise the help that residents need from the state.

Our priorities:

  • Supporting business to thrive and supporting local people into work;
  • Improving health and well being, including independence for older people and the protection of vulnerable people;
  • Creating safe, sustainable and inclusive communities;
  • Improving safeguarding, learning and the life chances for children and young people, raising aspirations;
  • Create a modern, dynamic and efficient workforce designed around what residents need.

We now want to hear your views on the council’s purpose and priorities. Your views will be used to help finalise the council’s corporate priorities and budget for 2016/17 and beyond. You can read about the council’s spending priorities and corporate priorities here and have your say via our short online questionnaire.

Alternatively email budgetconsultation@walsall.gov.uk, write to Budget Consultation, Walsall Council, Darwall Street, Walsall WS1 1TP, call 01922 653644 or visit the First Stop Shop, Darwall Street, Walsall.

The closing date for responses is 22 November 2015.

Have your say on draft budget proposals – Service change consultation

Details of the draft budget are contained in the ‘Resource Allocation 2016/17 to 2019/20: Draft Revenue Budget for Consultation’, reported to Cabinet on 28 October 2015. This report outlines plans for future service delivery, including proposals to meet funding reductions and cost pressures in 2016/17 – 2017/18.

To inform the draft budget, services are consulting on draft proposals that involve a change in policy or service.  For ease of reference you can read just the draft proposals that involve a change in policy / service here (.PDF 370KB) (savings which total £8,270,084 in 2016/17 and £9,461,554 in 2017/18). Full details of each proposal can be found in the Cabinet report above.

Over the coming weeks services will be consulting service users and other stakeholders to understand views on the proposed changes, as well as understand the potential impact and to seek alternative solutions. Click here for details of consultation activity taking place.

Feedback from consultation will be reported to Cabinet for consideration in advance of any decisions being made, with the final budget set to be agreed on 25 February 2016.

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Shire Oak Pub reopens tomorrow!


Yes, it really is that shade of green.  Image kindy taken for the blog this morning by local resident James Foz Forsyth – thanks, James!

Just a quick note to point out that after a long and apparently very thorough refurbishment, the Shire Oak pub at the Shire Oak crossroads in Brownhills opens tomorrow, Friday 20th November 2015.

There’s a website for the pub here, and a Facebook page here with lots of pictures and information. It looks like it’s going to be a great house and a real asset to the community.

So nice to see a pub saved after so many locally have been lost.

I wish the new landlords, staff and customers all the best, and I might even pop in myself when I get five minutes. My best wishes to all.

If you take a wander up there, let me know what you think: comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Images from the Shire Oak Pub’s Facebook page.

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New Brownhills history book hot off the presses!


Ah – that toll house photo from Yesterday. Looks like a great book ! Image posted on Twitter by Walsall Local History Centre.

A little bird tells me (well, actually Walsall Local History Centre tweeted) that there’s a brand new Brownhills local history book just come out – the third from local researcher and historian Clive Roberts of Walsall Wood.

I haven’t any details yet (although from emails with Clive the contents sound wonderful) but this book – Clive’s third – is sure to be as lovingly researched and well written as his previous two, ‘Snippets of history in and around Shire Oak‘, and ‘Snippets of history in and around Walsall Wood

As soon as I can get my mitts on a copy, I’ll review it here. At the moment I know for sure it’s priced at £8 and is available from Walsall Local History Centre in Essex Street, and I’m sure when Clive spots this post he’ll list other places you can get it.

It’s arrived just in time to make a wonderful Christmas present for anyone interested in Brownhills local history.

I will repeat this until I’m blue in the face: grab these local history books while you have the chance. There are so often printed in short runs, and soon become rare. I get continual enquiries for past books, and people end up paying fortunes for them on eBay and the like once they’ve sold out.

Thanks the lovely folk at Walsall Local History Centre for letting me know, and look out for my review coming soon.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments