Message from Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council. 24 May 2024.


I should probably start with the election. Rishi Sunak has announced that the country will go to the polls on Thursday 4 July. The news has surprised some people and I’ve no doubt there are party staff and activists scrambling to get things ready for what will be a short campaign.

This week will be the final edition of this message until July due to the Pre-Election Period. It’s a shame from that perspective, there’s a lot I’ve been excited to tell you about, but some of it will have to wait.

Just because our communications are restricted during this time, it doesn’t mean the Council won’t be hard at work to ensure that our residents get the best possible services for the best possible value. It’s what we do here in Solihull and what we will continue to do.

I wish candidates, door-knockers, leaflet-stuffers and banner-wavers of all stripes the best of luck as they go out to the public and ask for their vote. I hope that they are safe and politely received, even by those who disagree with them politically. Hopefully the summer timing of the election will make for pleasant campaigning weather, even if this week has proved that the rain in this country pays no heed to seasons.

I hope this election is conducted with dignity and decorum on all sides and that people are inspired to take part in our democratic process as a result. We’re incredibly fortunate to have free and fair elections, so please do listen to what the candidates have to offer and go out to vote. All the information you need about making sure you’re registered or applying for postal or proxy votes can be found here. As the country is enveloped by election speculation and predictions and proclamations fly around, we’ll be carrying on with our work here in Solihull.

Working with our partners Muse, we’ve unveiled our vision for the transformative enhancement of Mell Square in Solihull town centre. I presented the emerging masterplan alongside Maggie Grogan, Muse Managing Director, at the UK’s largest real estate investment and infrastructure forum - UKREiiF this week. It was part of a panel discussion around the challenges and opportunities of delivering projects like this in places, like Solihull, which are already thriving. I’ve had a very busy but rewarding time at UKREiiF, attending all sorts of talks and discussions and, as I do wherever I find myself, extolling the virtues of Solihull to anyone who will listen. These events are golden opportunities for leaders to get together and discuss important business and I met with many people during the week, including the new Mayor of the West Midlands.

Our plan for Mell Square will enhance the retail and visitor experience and future-proof our town centre by making sure that we find the right blend of housing, shops, restaurants and bars. People living where they work, shop, and relax will boost our evening economy and keep Solihull thriving for years to come.

On the topic of improving the town centre, Solihull and Chelmsley Wood are feeling the benefit of 88 colourful new hanging baskets. Produced from seed to flower at the wonderful Newlands Bishop Farm in Catherine de Barnes. The farm does wonderful job supporting and elevating people with learning disabilities and mental health issues into employment. The floral displays will brighten up our public spaces for the summer. This year, the project was sponsored by the Council’s environmental partner, Veolia, and I want to thank them for their generous support. We’re looking for someone to step up and sponsor the same initiative for next year, if you think your business could benefit from this opportunity, contact

Another positive bit of economic news to in our borough to report, as a leading manufacturer of high precision laser-marking systems is on track to double its turnover since opening their UK base in Solihull. Lasit Laser UK, who are based at Blythe Valley Information Centre, are one of a growing number of international companies who have chosen to headquarter their UK operations right here in Solihull. Our advanced manufacturing and engineering sector is thriving, which is fantastic as we look to ensure there are high quality jobs in growth sectors for our residents both present and future. You can read all about their Solihull success story here.

Samaritans are in need of volunteers. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the work they do, providing a listening ear and advice at the darkest moments. If you want to join the ranks of wonderful people with special skills in doing something incredibly rewarding then I’d urge you to consider it. It really is invaluable and can mean the difference between life and death for someone in need. If you have some spare time and want to do something very special with it, click here to find out more.

Finally, back on the topic of high-quality jobs, we’re running a Jobs Fair at Solihull College & University Centre’s Blossomfield Campus in Solihull on Tuesday 18 June. There are already a good number of employers signed up ready to meet talented people on the hunt for jobs, but if you’d like your business to join them then there’s still time. Please contact to find out more. On the same day, there’s a business support event run by Business Growth West Midlands (BGWM). They do a great job advising and assisting local businesses and entrepreneurs as the look to grow and develop. The event is at Cranmore Park Conference Centre, Shirley. For more information and to sign up, click here.

Thanks, and have a good weekend. Saturday might be the last nice sunny day for a little while, so get out and make the most of it if you can. I’ll be back after the election.

Councillor Ian Courts