28 January 2022 – Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council


I was dismayed to see a headline last weekend suggesting that the Council was making Solihull Moors leave their current stadium.

The progress of Solihull Moors over the past years has been remarkable and I’m looking forward to seeing their next home game on Saturday against Altrincham.

I’ve written to Darryl Eales, the Solihull Moors Chairman, to reassure him that the Council is not eyeing up their stadium. 

Planning matters do tend to be frustratingly complex. In the Council’s draft Local Plan, we propose new employment land in the area around the ARMCO Arena and it makes sense for the stadium to be included as part of this, rather than remain as Green Belt land.

Regardless of whether the site stays as Green Belt or becomes ‘employment land’, Solihull Moors can continue to operate as they have in the past.  The Local Plan is currently undergoing an ‘Examination in Public’ before the two independent inspectors make a determination. 

But back to the football!  I’m hoping the Moors continue their current good form on Saturday and that the team see off Altrincham to make it three wins on the trot.

And keeping on a football theme, I was pleased to hear we are completely refurbishing the astro pitch at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre. I know it is well used and while there will be disruption for a few months it will result in a completely new pitch, new LED lights, new goals and equipment and new security fencing.

The pitch was constructed 25 years ago and then redeveloped in 2009, so it’s good that the Leisure Centre, which is run by Everyone Active in partnership with the Council, will have a brand new pitch ready to inspire everyone to get active during and after the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

Speaking of the Games, applications are now open for volunteers to join the cast of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  Groups and individuals based in the West Midlands, who are passionate about music, dance and can move to a beat, can apply to be part of something spectacular this summer.  

Successful applicants will perform in front of a full capacity audience in Birmingham’s newly redeveloped Alexander Stadium, and a worldwide broadcast audience of up to one billion people.  I think this truly does warrant being called a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.

Applicants can find more information and register their interest for this opportunity by completing the online application form. The deadline for receipt of applications is 23:59 on Monday 7 February 2022.

In other news I was thrilled to see the Council ranked 5th out of all 409 local authorities in the UK, and 2nd amongst single tier local authorities, for having a strong and robust climate action plan in place. Assessed by Climate Emergency UK, this is the first time all local authorities in the UK have their climate plans ranked. And as the Environment Portfolio holder for the West Midlands Combined Authority it’s brilliant that the WMCA is a top performing combined authority, ranked 2nd overall in the table.

It’s great that the Council’s plans to tackle climate change have been recognised as one of highest rated in the country, and to receive a score of 85%, almost double the UK average is a great platform to build on. Having recognised the urgency of the climate emergency and the consequences it brings we now have a meaningful action plan to guide our journey to becoming a ‘net zero’ borough by 2041.

During the pandemic COVID has shone a light on health inequalities and there is renewed focus on health inequalities nationally with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities set up on 1 October 2021 to tackle health disparities across the UK.

Solihull’s Health and Wellbeing Board is looking at how to tackle these inequalities across the borough and would like to hear your views on a proposed three-year strategy.  The aim of the strategy is to improve the lives of those with the worst health outcomes the fastest, to help them live healthier, happier, longer lives.

The strategy is a call to action to residents, community groups and local organisations to partner with the Council and NHS, to tackle health inequalities across the borough.  It focuses on what more can be done locally to close the health gap at different stages in people’s lives.

Please take time to share your views and let us know if we are focusing on the areas that matter most to you.

You can view the draft strategy and have your say via our short anonymous survey here.  The survey is open until Monday 7 February.

We all have a fundamental right to equal opportunities to be healthy, no matter where we live or our background.  This is why, the Council, the NHS and other partners, are committed to tackling any health inequalities in Solihull.

Hopefully many of you will have managed to get along to The Core to see ‘Small is Beautiful’ yesterdayThis event featured art by 22 local artists, with performances and film up until the evening. If like me, you weren’t able to attend yesterday you can still see the visual arts pieces which will be displayed at The Core during normal opening hours until 7 February.

Finally, I wish you Health, Happiness, Harmony and Hope

Oh and up the Moors!

Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council