15/03/2017 Midlands Today


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15/03/2017

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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And we will ask why so many more people over the age of 65 are

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Good evening. getting married these

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The future of Wolverhampton has gone on show on the French Riviera.

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It's hoped businesses attending an international property convention

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in Cannes will help to regenerate the city and create 2,500 jobs.

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It's part of a multi-million-pound redevelopment of Wolverhampton.

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As our Black Country reporter Ben Godfrey has been discovering,

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the investment has been a long time coming.

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Wolverhampton, busy, sharing in the prosperity of the Midlands, this old

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market town is now a flourishing centre.

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You have to go back a long way to hear people

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talking up Wolverhampton as a place of prosperity.

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But after years of failed regeneration, of missed opportunity,

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A staggering ?3.7 billion is currently being invested

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It's the largest investment in over 50 years.

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Proving Wolverhampton is coming out of the economic doldrums.

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Grim old market buildings are making way for a massive retail

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corridor on the Westside, and the decaying railway station

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will be rebuilt as part of a ?130 million transport interchange.

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And this is i9 - a prestige office development, occupying 50,000 square

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feet of land near the historic Chubb buildings.

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Today, the plans went on show in Cannes, where international

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recession, Wolverhampton was hit the same as other people.

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We had a big retail development ground to a halt.

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The last few years, we've been moving into

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Now we're into the really confident phase where

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Around 2,500 jobs will be created in the city centre

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when the Wolverhampton interchange is complete.

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There's some brilliant work being done about how

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Those that can retain the 20, 35-year-olds, if you keep the

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publicity the city will naturally regenerate and businesses will move

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here. But for many Wulfrunians,

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large scale regeneration like this is decades overdue,

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so you can forgive some cynicism. You've got places like

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Bentley Bridge, St John's retail centre, you can actually

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do your shopping without You have people who live

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on the street and that is not good You have to take

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care of your people. With a growing student population,

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the city is becoming one Investment brings new challenges

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then, and here the demand for affordable homes has

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never been higher. Ben Godfrey, BBC Midlands

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Today, Wolverhampton. Staffordshire Police have become

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the 12th force to have sent files to the Crown Prosecution Service

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as part of investigations into allegations of overspending

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during the general election in 2015. They're looking into whether strict

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spending limits in target seats were breached

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during the Conservatives' The CPS will now decide

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if charges should be brought. Unemployment in the region

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has bucked the national trend and is on the rise,

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according to new figures. The jobless total in

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the West Midlands rose by 9,000 in the last quarter -

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meaning 160,000 people That's the equivalent of 5.6%

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of the working population - BMW workers at the Hams Hall engine

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plant in Warwickshire could be going out on strike

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in protest at the car maker's plans BMW wants the current scheme

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to close at the end of May. Workers say they stand to lose

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thousands of pounds. Hands off our pensions!

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Hands off our pensions! They've never protested like this

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before, but then there's never That's what they reckon they'll lose

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if BMW push through with a plan to end the current final salary

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pension scheme by May of this year. Last year, BMW recorded record

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profits of ?6 billion. In fact, industrial relations

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are said to be at their most fraught They say they are proud

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of what they call excellent pension provision in the past,

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but, crucially, they want to ensure and protect pension

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provision in the future. With an ageing population, though,

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some argue that big companies like BMW can't afford final salary

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pensions any more. Profitable companies,

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it's part of the package they offer. Our members have actually given up

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some of their pay in the past to make sure this pension

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scheme operates properly. Many of the 600 staff

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here transferred from BMW's Steven McWilliams was one of them.

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The agreement was that when we came over here

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they would keep our And we feel let down

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that they haven't done that and honoured that agreement

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for when we did come over here. Because they needed skills to come

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into this factory from day one. A ballot for industrial action

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will close at the end of March. Unions say a strike is imminent

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unless BMW do a U-turn. Sarah Bishop, BBC Midlands

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Today, near Coleshill. 261 motorists have been

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given new, heavier fines for using mobile phones

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while driving in the West Midlands. In a week-long clampdown,

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offenders included 30 lorry drivers, a driving instructor,

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and a driver accessing mobile All those caught have

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been fined ?200 Fundraisers trying to keep a rare

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piece of Wedgwood pottery in Stoke-on-Trent have been given

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until July to find the money. Yesterday's deadline

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was extended after a ?90,000 But a total of ?482,500 is needed

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to stop the First Day's vase from going abroad,

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rather than being returned An eco-dome has been built up

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in the grounds of a stately home in Warwickshire as part

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of a thought-provoking Hundreds of so-called caretakers

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have volunteered to live without modern comforts

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and technology in the structure It's set across the lake

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from the mansion of Compton Verney. In a forest clearing

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in the Warwickshire countryside stands the Clearing - a creation

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of environmental art facing the I know they seem quite different,

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if you look over the river, yes, they are very, very different,

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but actually they really balance of the landscape and the mansion

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house with something that actually is very 21st century -

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for me is really, really important. Built with temporary

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planning permission, scrap metal and recycled industrial

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plywood, the ?60,000 Heritage Lottery-funded dome will be

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in place for three years. But can the experiment

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with other people's What we're trying

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to do is we're trying to do a project

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about climate change. It's the idea that if this world

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without traffic jams and central heating and Kim Kardashian

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and big supermarkets - is that actually a nightmare or is it

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actually an opportunity to live in a Capability Brown

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carefully designed this Now it is hoped the people

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of the 21st century will get a You don't have to like it -

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art's always like that, isn't it? If you make art that pleases

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everyone, it's really rubbish art. So, yeah, we're not even

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trying to please everyone. We're confident that we've

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made a good thing here. From next week, a series

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of volunteer caretakers will live in the dome for a week at a time,

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turning their back on the comforts of home for a once-in-a-lifetime

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experience. I think there's plenty

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of people that put their names down to be caretakers,

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so we're one of the lucky ones, There's everything

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here you need, so... To survive, anyway,

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let's put it that way. When you live in a space

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like this you make with what you have and you appreciate

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everything you have, so it's an exercise of...it's

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almost a social experiment If you fancy a peek

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at an artistic life off the grid, the dome opens

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to the public this weekend. Finally, on Midlands Today tomorrow

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at 6:30, we'll meet Herefordshire's

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champion jockey Richard Johnson as he prepares for

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Friday's Gold Cup. Johnson will be on the joint

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favourite Native River He last won the Gold

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Cup 17 years ago. That horse, Looks Like Trouble,

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lives at Johnson's home For me the Gold Cup

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is the race of the year. The Grand National is a fantastic

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race, but for me, the Gold Cup, if I could win any race in the UK,

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any season, that would be the best Obviously, the Championship

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is what I set out every year to try and do, but the Gold Cup

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is the blue riband. It is called the Gold Cup and it is

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the biggest race of the year. It has been a glorious start to the

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festival. We should see lows of around five

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Celsius and that cloud continues to picking up continually from the

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West. Cold front draped across the north and west of the country

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driving in that cloud and it will give us a little bit of drizzle as

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we enter the day tomorrow. It will be a cloudy start to the day. A

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touch better for a time but very limited sunshine and by the end of

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the day, we start to get that drizzle pushing its way down across

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the North and west of the region. Temperatures are starting to

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struggle a little bit for that. Sunshine certainly not getting back

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up to 17 Celsius. We will still be into double figures. Rain is

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arriving on Friday, wet and windy. More information on

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been. The outlook, rain around, if it stays dry I will be surprised.

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Here is Nick with the national headlines.

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For large parts of Wales and England there was blue sky and warmth.

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Warmest day of the year, a clumsy way of saying the UK had the highest

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temperature

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