22 July 2022 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


I hope you all managed to get through the level 4 heatwave unscathed. Having grown up in what I have always understood to be a ‘temperate’ climate, it was astonishing, and of course worrying to see, so suddenly, parts of the UK hit 40oC.

Climate change in action, the weather forecasters tell us extreme conditions like this are likely to become more common, all pointing to the need for steps to be taken, globally, and on a global scale.

After all the planning, the preparations and the millions of words written about it, it’s finally here; Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 starts next Thursday 28 July.

We can get into the spirit of the Games as we have the honour of hosting The Queen’s Baton Relay next Tuesday 26 July. The route of the baton relay covers most areas of the borough, so please do get out and support the Baton Bearers as they step by step carry the baton closer to its host City. For those working or needing to get around the borough please be aware of road closures for the Baton Relay – the full list can be found here and the plan here.

I’m looking forward to the Queen’s Baton Relay and Musical Extravaganza on Tuesday evening and meeting the hundreds of residents lucky enough to have got tickets from the ballot.  It really does look like a fitting finale to the day’s relay. 

I hope to catch a number of the sports at the NEC and pop into the events being run across the borough as part of Solihull’s support for the Commonwealth Games festival. Do take a look at Visit Solihull to find out what’s happening and how you and others can get involved.

Continuing the physical activity and sport theme, we’d like to hear your views, attitudes and perceptions of physical activity and leisure in Solihull.  We know that keeping active has real benefits to both our fitness levels and our mental health and we want your opinions to help us develop and improve the leisure activities within the borough.

Help us shape the services and activities that are available, tell us what you think by completing a short questionnaire here - all responses are anonymous. And as a thank you, you could be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Amazon voucher.

Last week my Cabinet colleague Cllr Ken Hawkins received a report about the £98 million we can potentially spend on road improvements across the borough through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) programme. 

This government funding which had to meet fairly strict criteria will allow us to tackle a number of important junction and road improvements as well as bus and cycle priority schemes. Working with West Midlands Combined Authority we now need to submit detailed plans and costings to draw down the money for each scheme. 

This is fantastic news - £98 million is a huge and welcome investment into our transport network which will keep the borough moving. 

The funding will also allow Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to deliver the Sprint phase2 along the B425 Lode Lane and to extend the car park at Whitlocks End railway station. Again welcome outcomes from the CRSTS programme.

I know my deputy Cllr Grinsell has been promoting the new Shirley Heritage Trail.  It’s a nice way to find out more about the place where you live, shop or visit. 

You can download the Shirley Heritage Trail information sheet from the Visit Shirley pages on the Visit Solihull website and I understand there are also free printed trail guides available at Shirley Library and The Shirley Institute. 

We’re always keen to hear your views to ensure that we can plan and develop the services you need in the future. In this case we want to hear what you think about local pharmacy services in Birmingham and Solihull.

Your views will help inform what we call a “Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment” (PNA). This will look at health needs in Birmingham and Solihull, how easy it is to get to pharmacy services and how these will be maintained and advanced in the future.

There’s a short survey we’d be grateful for you to complete (the closing date is Friday 29 July). 

Finally, I had the pleasure of attending the official launch of the Knowle ‘Parklet’ on Monday as we baked in 36oC temperature. It’s a lovely little place to have a sit down and chat with friends over a coffee.

I want to congratulate Visit Knowle for getting the funding and then making it happen.  It’s a lovely addition to the High Street and I’m sure it will get lots of use in the coming years by shoppers, visitors and residents alike.

Have a great weekend

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council