Groups of hard-working and dedicated volunteers often work quietly behind the scenes, supporting our local communities, something which those of you who regularly follow my column will know I often refer to. Their impact is huge, and even the smallest contributions can collectively make as big difference. The local Aldridge Volunteer Gardeners, together with all those who have collectively been working as part of the In Bloom team, are an excellent example. Their hard work and effort is to be admired and commended and I wish them all the best in this years competition. Whatever the outcome, and we will have to wait until later in the year to hear, I am sure we can all agree that the Village looks splendid once again this year, and it shows community spirit at its finest.
It is therefore frustrating that across our area we continue to suffer the incursions of Travellers who do not share this respect for neighbours and the local environment, leaving behind a trail of rubbish and mess for others to clean up. This is a matter I have raised both locally and at Westminster and will continue to do so as quite clearly more needs to be done to tackle this issue.
It may be recess but there is still much to do and much going on. The four Black Country Authorities including, Walsall Council, have recently commenced their Black Country Core Strategy Consultation. It is a document essentially about planning for our future, including Housing, Employment, Environment and Transport.
Importantly for us, the consultation looks at housing needs up to 2036, and seeks to identify future growth areas within the Aldridge-Brownhills constituency. I have always taken the view that we need a ‘Brownfield first’ approach to housing and development, allowing us to protect our precious Green Belt. It is absolutely vital that the views of residents from right across the constituency are heard. If you want to take part in the consultation it runs up to 8 September and details can be found at: www.blackcountrycorestrategy.dudley.gov.uk
Locally the decision by Walsall Council to buy the Sadler Centre in Walsall town centre for the staggering sum of £13.8 million when earlier this summer the Council closed the doors of libraries in Pelsall, Rushall and Walsall Wood and have failed to provide any strategy or vision for Ravenscourt in Brownhills, demonstrates a breath-taking lack of reality of the needs of residents in our area. It is now incumbent on Walsall Council to develop a strategy for action on Brownhills High Street.
This was first published by the Walsall Advertiser on 17th August 2017.