27 May 2021 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


To continue to help you and your family and friends keep safe, we have opened a new community testing Hub on Solihull High Street, next to Halifax Bank.  You can pop in for a rapid lateral flow test or pick up a pack to test yourself at home. 

Since opening, the Solihull Hub has been very busy so we are opening a similar Hub at Chelmsley Wood shopping centre, next to the bus interchange this Saturday. The new hub will give more people a chance to grab a test when they’re out and about.

With pubs and shops open and therefore people maybe spending more time indoors, it’s even more important for people to stick to the guidelines: carry on with hands, face, space and fresh air and keep wearing face coverings when required.  We have a low number of cases in the borough, but we only have to look at other parts of the UK to see the how easy it is for the new variants to spread, and for things to change rapidly. 

As part of a careful re-opening of our high streets and centres we have released our re-opening videos to welcome you back. I hope more pubs, shops and other venues are signing up to our Business Pledge to reassure customers and staff that they are operating in a COVID-safe manner. 

The news of the sale of Touchwood to Ardent has probably concerned some residents, but this is a wholly positive story.  It shows that others view Solihull town centre as an opportunity, somewhere to invest and do business, now and in the future and I intend to do everything I can to promote that.

To quote Matt Shulman, CEO at The Ardent Companies, “Touchwood is in a particularly strong location and already has an impressive retail and leisure line up. The opportunity to work closely with top brands, with Solihull Council and the community at an exciting time for the wider area, was an important part of our decision to invest. We’re looking forward to bringing our expertise and experience to the table to continue improving the retail environment at Touchwood.” 

I have already met Ardent and was impressed with their enthusiasm, and I shared with them the Council’s strong ambitions and masterplan for Solihull town centre.

You will I hope be aware of our ambition to plant 250,000 trees over the next decade. We still need to identify larger areas where landowners would welcome tree planting.  So if you have land or maybe your school, parish or sports club has an area of land suitable for planting trees, please come forward and help us make Solihull an even greener and  more pleasant place to live.

Reducing air pollution is a key priority for Solihull and members and officers are working hard to achieve cleaner air in our borough.  We have initiatives like School Streets which tackles traffic congestion outside schools and sustainable travel options through the West Midlands Cycle Hire Scheme and our Cycling and Walking Strategy to name but a few.

As I’m sure you will no doubt know, Birmingham City Council’s Clean Air Zone goes live on Tuesday 1 June, just one of the ways they are tackling air pollution in the city.  Find out how it may affect you at the Brum Breathes website.

Keep doing the right things for you, your family, friends and Solihull.

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council