07/09/2011 Midlands Today


07/09/2011

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to more than �1 million. The Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury was

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unveiled two years ago to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth

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there of Charles Darwin. Today Shropshire Council revealed it's

:00:07.:00:10.

lost a legal battle with the contractors which has more than

:00:10.:00:13.

doubled the cost, making it more expensive than the Angel of the

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North and landing council tax payers with a huge bill. Here's our

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It's been likened to human vertebrae and a dinosaur's skeleton.

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But the cost of the so-called Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury has

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quite simply jumped higher than anyone expected. Least of all

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Shropshire Council, which inherited the delays and spiralling costs

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from the former Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council when

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Shropshire became a unitary authority. Unfortunately it make

:00:47.:00:49.

impact on some of the capital projects around the county and that

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will impact on our residents. The good thing however is it will not

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affect frontline services. If we had �1 million at the start, we

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could have had a very famous British sculptor and nothing the

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people would then accept it. The famous sculptor Anthony Gormley

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was responsible for the Angel of the North statue. That cost

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�800,000, much of it Lottery-funded. And �200,000 less than Quantum Leap.

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I would rather it be given to charity. I think it is nice. Waste

:01:30.:01:34.

of resources. Better spent on the NHS, I think.

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The original budget was �483,000, the council paying �200,000, the

:01:37.:01:40.

rest coming from grants. But the council bill has risen by another

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�410,000, plus legal costs of �115,000, bringing the grand total

:01:42.:01:45.

to more than �1 million. All at a time when Shropshire Council is

:01:45.:01:55.
:01:55.:02:00.

The sculpture was to mark the bicentenary of Charles Darwin. He

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was born here. A man at the helm of a charity dedicated to the

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naturalist and geologist likes the sculpture. I am pleased the town

:02:09.:02:15.

did it. But the amount it cost, are you still pleased? I don't think I

:02:15.:02:19.

can comment, it has cost what his has cost. You can name a figure and

:02:19.:02:23.

he would still have the same debate. Each of these concrete ribs weighs

:02:23.:02:26.

3 tonnes and one of the problems during construction was that they

:02:26.:02:31.

had to be realigned to complete the arch. The contractors Alun

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Griffiths from Abergavenny declined our request for an interview. A

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statue of Darwin already exists here. Who knows what he would have

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made of the row surrounding Quantum Leap. Love it or hate it, the

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debate about how much it cost will be discussed by councillors next

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week. So Quantum Leap has divided opinion.

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But what about public works of art elsewhere around the region?

:03:04.:03:07.

Whether they're donated, paid for by business or from the public

:03:07.:03:17.

purse, Joan Cummins has been Every town and city in our region

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has got public works of art but are they worth the money? Waste of

:03:21.:03:25.

money. He should go to the NHS. A focal point for tourists, the

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River Goddess otherwise known as the "Floozy In The Jacuzzi"

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presides over a range of opinions in Birmingham city centre. We need

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to express ourselves and have fun with it. I don't know what it means

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and why it is there but it looks good. By Frederick one is at the

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Bullring, the barn. That is like a statue -- my favourite one.

:03:51.:03:55.

Art can be devisisve though. In 2003, Birmingham Forward was

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destroyed by arsonists and a scuplture of Lady Diana in Walsall

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caused so much controversy that its black veneer was removed and it was

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totally revamped. In Stoke on Trent they've taken a different approach

:04:04.:04:08.

to the art and built a ramp to get up close and personal with a city

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father, Josiah Wedgwood. Lady Godiva knows her place in a

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revamped city centre is guaranteed and has a place in everyones hearts.

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I love Lady Godiva, but I think there is an awful lot of public

:04:24.:04:34.

money going down the drains. Some of it is a bit of a pointless thing.

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Sometimes there really is just one way to say exactly how much you

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We're joined now by artist Tim Tolkien who's famous for creating

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the Sentinel Spitfire sculpture in Castle Bromwich and also a statue

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in honour of Cardinal Newman. He joins us from his studio in the

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Black Country. Good evening. When everyone's cutting back so much, is

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it understandable that there's anger that �1 million of taxpayers'

:05:03.:05:13.
:05:13.:05:16.

money has been spent on the Quantum Leap? The funding matter is a

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difficult subject. A lot of problems appear to be to do with

:05:19.:05:27.

contractors which is out of the hands of the artist or even could

:05:27.:05:31.

not have been conceived at the start. We hear time and again, arc

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plaudits come over budget. You are obviously very passionate about art

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but tell us about why it is not such a luxury, why do we need it?

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think good quality public at which has been devised properly, it gives

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people a sense of pride and place and certainly the way I try to work

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is to work with the community so it will be with the people who want it.

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It should have a sense of belonging. We know that people were saying

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that these are tough economic times. How his business for you bearing

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up? At the moment, the product I am working on which is keeping me busy,

:06:16.:06:21.

the money committed to that was committed over the past couple of

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years so now people are not committing money so the next couple

:06:24.:06:30.

of years it will be a bit tight but we will have to see. Were the

:06:31.:06:36.

products are publicly funded or privately, I hope that which will

:06:36.:06:39.

still be able for people to enjoy it in the future. We mentioned a

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few minutes ago that you created the Cardinal John Newman statue,

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there was a funding problem with that. How is that going? To fit in

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with what you're talking about, but has been picked up by the

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Birmingham City Council Heritage Department to a technically belongs

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to the Museum and Art Gallery. The initial hopes to make it publicly

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subscribed as a piece of work, it did not raise enough money, the

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sculpture was already made by that point. Gratitude labelled for

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joining us. The -- thank you for joining us.

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So what do you think about public art, such as Quantum Leap? Is it

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worth the money or is it too expensive at a time when public

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finances are being cut? We'd love to hear your thoughts. You can e-

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mail us or give us a call. Later in the programme, are things

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looking up for dairy farmers after years when things looked decidedly

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sour? A former Labour health minister

:07:45.:07:53.

apologised today for what happened at Stafford Hospital. Giving

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evidence to the Francis Inquiry into the failings there, Ben

:07:56.:07:59.

Bradshaw said he had no idea how bad the problems had become. He

:07:59.:08:02.

also said ministers felt powerless to act because they'd given a lot

:08:02.:08:07.

of their power away to independent watchdogs. Our health correspondent,

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Michele Paduano, joins us now from Stafford. To what extent did

:08:10.:08:20.
:08:20.:08:20.

ministers feel they weren't able to control what was going on?

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Bradshaw was Minister of Health between 2007 and 2009 when the

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catastrophe at Stafford Hospital was taking place and he was in

:08:27.:08:31.

control of key areas but he said he was kept in the dark about those

:08:31.:08:35.

areas. What was more interesting was what happened afterwards. After

:08:35.:08:39.

the problems occurred, they tried to do things but the independent

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watchdogs had the powers. For example, they wanted to take the

:08:43.:08:46.

hospital back into full NHS ownership but they were not able to.

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I asked about this but he refused twice but only made this statement.

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I am desperately sorry for what happened here in the local hospital

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for the families that suffered in there, relatives. I still feel

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strongly from the time I spent in the department from the evidence I

:09:04.:09:08.

have heard at this inquiry that this was fundamentally a case of

:09:08.:09:12.

chronic local management failure. That does not mean that lessons are

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not to be learned by the rest of the system. So why were ministers

:09:18.:09:24.

prevented from sacking the chief executive? The former chief

:09:24.:09:31.

executive Martin Yates clearly lied about what was going on what was

:09:31.:09:39.

going on,... Ben Bradshaw said that the Minister of State -- Secretary

:09:39.:09:42.

of State Alan Johnson was furious and said I rarely saw Alan Johnson

:09:42.:09:52.
:09:52.:09:53.

There was more discussion about the number of people who died, what can

:09:53.:09:58.

you tell us about that? Even the health care commission originally

:09:58.:10:04.

thought original there was 100 per when they got the figure of between

:10:04.:10:07.

400-1,200, Ben Bradshaw wanted that figure published but they have had

:10:07.:10:11.

a round table discussions and decided the figure was not robust

:10:11.:10:14.

enough and took the decision that we would never know how many people

:10:14.:10:17.

died at Stafford Hospital. Thank you.

:10:17.:10:20.

A cul-de-sac in a desirable area might sound like a nice place to

:10:20.:10:27.

live. But residents in one such street say their lives are being

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made a misery by 200 lorries a day heading past their homes to a

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quarry. They want a new access road to be built to take away what they

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say is traffic nightmare, as Bob Hockenhull reports.

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7:25am and the lorries start coming down Branton Hill Lane in Aldridge

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near Walsall. And they keep on coming... And coming and coming. We

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counted nearly 40 in an hour. Residents here say there's often

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200 a day. The noise and the dust are the worse things, and it is not

:10:58.:11:02.

safe. We have not got a pavement on one side of the road.

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The cul-de-sac is the only access to this quarry. The quarry was

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established in 1944 to extract sand to rebuild houses destroyed in the

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Blitz. But since 2000 the number of lorries has risen seven-fold as the

:11:11.:11:14.

site, which has been the subject of two public inquiries, is now also

:11:14.:11:24.
:11:24.:11:25.

involved in recycling rubble. Even the inspectors said that it is no

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exaggeration to say the residents have suffered, it has been reduced

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to a state of despair. The situation is still the same.

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The inspector granted outline planning permission for a new

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access road across greenbelt land and away from the houses. The

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site's owner says he's ready to build it, but has spent the last

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three years negotiating with planners. We have got everything we

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need, we are ready to roll. would you feel if you lived on the

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road? It certainly wouldn't be something I would be very happy

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with. I can fully understand their frustration and I sympathise with

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them. Councillors are due to discuss the

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alternative route next month. will go to the planning committee

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for a decision, and we are hopeful that will go through and we will do

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everything we can do to make sure it happens.

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If the plans are approved, residents say they'll throw a

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street party, but in the meantime they'll have to carry on sharing

:12:28.:12:33.

their road with lorry after lorry. Parents, teachers and pupils at a

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school in Shropshire have lost their battle to keep it open.

:12:37.:12:39.

Shropshire Council today voted to close the Wakeman School in

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Shrewsbury, saying it was no longer viable because of falling pupil

:12:42.:12:50.

numbers. Pupils created a mock crime scene at the Shire Hall,

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where the plan was rubber stamped, claiming the decision was

:12:53.:13:01.

"criminal". We said to the Wakeman School it was in your hands. Come

:13:01.:13:07.

forward with a viable situation, we do not want to be closing schools

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but unfortunately school or the community or the governors did not

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come forward with a sustainable alternative to the proposals.

:13:15.:13:17.

A Black Country MP is demanding urgent action to reverse the

:13:17.:13:25.

mounting number of empty shops. New figures show that nearly a third of

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shops in Dudley are vacant, compared with a national average of

:13:28.:13:31.

one in seven. Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, is calling for

:13:31.:13:35.

the town centre to be smartened up to help attract new stores and

:13:35.:13:36.

fresh ideas. It's one of the biggest

:13:36.:13:39.

regeneration projects in the UK. Rising from the ashes of the

:13:39.:13:42.

collapsed car maker MG Rover is a new Longbridge town centre. The

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latest milestone is the completion of the new Bournville College,

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which has cost almost �70 million to build. Students are now

:13:53.:13:55.

enrolling for courses, while there's plenty of activity

:13:55.:13:57.

elsewhere on the site, as our business correspondent Peter

:13:57.:14:01.

Plisner has been finding out. It may look a bit weird, but this

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modern building promises to shape the future of higher education in

:14:03.:14:05.

South Birmingham. Inside it's spacious, bright and students

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:14:15.:14:16.

enrolling today seem to love it. is brilliant compared to the old

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college. I am very impressed. College is rubbish compared to this.

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For the man in charge of the new college, it's the end of six long

:14:27.:14:33.

years of planning. We think this will demonstrate what it is about

:14:33.:14:37.

in Birmingham. But Bournville collage is only part

:14:37.:14:40.

of the Longbridge regeneration story. Developer St Modwen, despite

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the recession, is gearing up for even more construction. You have

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got to get the heart back into Longbridge. The reason for people

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to come here and to invest here. And encouraging that means more

:14:58.:15:01.

regeneration. Soon they'll start work on a new �70 million retail

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development which will also house a new hotel. Elsewhere there's more

:15:03.:15:10.

space for living with the construction of scores of new homes.

:15:10.:15:14.

This is another part of the site yet to be developed, the engines

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used for at MG Rovers used to be made here, now 700 houses are

:15:19.:15:23.

planned to be made here. It's all great news according to

:15:23.:15:29.

the local vicar who also used to be the chaplin at the MG Rover factory.

:15:29.:15:33.

We always knew it would be done cautiously but to see things

:15:33.:15:37.

physically changing shape and people need to use these things and

:15:37.:15:39.

it is inspiring. Despite the recession, millions of

:15:39.:15:42.

pound is still being spent here, ultimately that should help to

:15:42.:15:52.
:15:52.:15:52.

create thousands of new jobs. The very striking indeed.

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Still to come this evening, Shefali looks a few days ahead, could we

:15:55.:16:03.

see a repeat of Monday night's wild weather over the weekend? Keep

:16:03.:16:11.

watching to find out. After a tough few years, are things

:16:11.:16:14.

looking up for the dairy industry? Farmers attending the Dairy Event

:16:14.:16:17.

at the NEC today say milk prices have edged up towards a sustainable

:16:17.:16:20.

level. But the news comes as it emerges an earlier attempt to pay

:16:20.:16:23.

farmers a fair price led to a court case and multi-million pound fines

:16:23.:16:25.

for supermarkets and dairies. Here's our environment

:16:25.:16:28.

correspondent, David Gregory. Thousands of farmers, and plenty of

:16:28.:16:32.

cattle of course, are expected to visit the NEC in Birmingham for the

:16:32.:16:40.

135th Dairy Event. And it seems things may be looking up. The

:16:40.:16:46.

crushingly low milk prices of recent years appear to be gone.

:16:46.:16:55.

general P people are on a bit of a high. They are starting to see the

:16:55.:16:59.

costs now and it works with farmers' lobbying people and

:16:59.:17:03.

getting in touch with people who are sat behind those desks, drawing

:17:03.:17:05.

up contracts and deciding what they will pay us.

:17:06.:17:09.

But trying to increase the amount of the milk price farmers get has

:17:09.:17:15.

landed some household names in court. An attempt to pay farmers

:17:15.:17:21.

more at ended with an Office of Fair Trading investigation and

:17:21.:17:23.

multi-million-pound fines for companies.

:17:23.:17:26.

Dairy Crest was fined �7 million and Wiseman's, �3 million. Tesco is

:17:26.:17:35.

contesting their �10 million fine at the moment. Everything is seen

:17:35.:17:38.

as interests of the consumer but the difficulty is if you lose the

:17:38.:17:42.

primary producer, that is not in the interest of the consumer so it

:17:42.:17:46.

is a balance that is important. But now the picture appears rosier

:17:46.:17:52.

with prices rising naturally. Farmers at a big event like this

:17:52.:17:57.

tend to be commercially savvy and sensitive, but it is a sign that

:17:57.:18:02.

there are better signs ahead for the industry.

:18:02.:18:06.

The everyday story of country folk, that phrase has a ring to it. But

:18:06.:18:08.

we're not talking about the Archers. No, two Herefordshire communities

:18:08.:18:11.

have now become the inspiration for a couple of dramas on the radio.

:18:11.:18:15.

For the past 12 months, the Rural Media Company has been working with

:18:15.:18:18.

people in Ewyas Harold and Kington. Our arts reporter, Satnam Rana, has

:18:18.:18:24.

been meeting some of the characters involved.

:18:24.:18:27.

The market town of Kington is home to 2,500 people. 70 of whom have

:18:27.:18:30.

helped bring local stories to life on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play

:18:30.:18:40.
:18:40.:18:41.

slot which is accompanied by a film. Later that evening, everybody

:18:41.:18:44.

danced under those stars. "Man In Wheelbarrow" has been

:18:44.:18:47.

inspired by Dick, the local street cleaner and school caretaker who

:18:47.:18:56.

gathered stories and appears in the play himself. We always enjoyed

:18:56.:19:00.

stories in the small town and there are so many of them and they are so

:19:00.:19:03.

joyful mainly, and they go on for years.

:19:03.:19:06.

It's all the brainchild of the Rural Media Company in Hereford

:19:06.:19:09.

which has been working on the project for the last year along

:19:09.:19:16.

with the BBC Radio Drama and Arts Council England. We like to work

:19:16.:19:21.

alongside rural communities to give people chances to explore their

:19:21.:19:23.

history is and open it to a wider world.

:19:23.:19:26.

27 miles south in the village of Ewyas Harold, Graeme Sprackling, a

:19:26.:19:29.

mobile librariran for 30 years, is the main inspiration for tomorrow's

:19:29.:19:39.

play, "The Fearless Librarian Saves The Day". He retied 20 years ago. -

:19:39.:19:49.
:19:49.:19:55.

- retired. I am along comes Rural Media Company and almost at and I

:19:55.:20:02.

am having to relive everything back on a mobile library. It is all the

:20:02.:20:06.

talk of the village. It has put us on the map a little bit and it is

:20:06.:20:10.

lovely to hear stories from the local community. Lots of lovely

:20:10.:20:16.

places to see. The legacy of this product means the younger people in

:20:16.:20:21.

these communities are now engaged in film-making and for the older

:20:21.:20:25.

generation who have taken part in this project, they have been

:20:25.:20:28.

introduced to modern media techniques. It just goes to show

:20:28.:20:34.

that art is thriving in rural communities.

:20:34.:20:38.

And you can tune into the second radio play on BBC Radio Hereford

:20:38.:20:41.

and Worcester tomorrow at 2:15pm and you can find out more about The

:20:41.:20:50.

Marches project on our Facebook The cricket season is boiling up to

:20:50.:21:00.
:21:00.:21:03.

an exciting finish. I always feel sad in September. With only two

:21:03.:21:05.

games left, Warwickshire are fighting hard to win the County

:21:05.:21:08.

Championship. Ian Westwood hit a century as they piled up the runs

:21:08.:21:11.

against Notts. And at the opposite end of the table, Worcestershire

:21:11.:21:21.

are battling to avoid relegation. Worcestershire have two games left

:21:21.:21:24.

to preserve their status. Everything had gone pear-shaped in

:21:24.:21:30.

June, they lost the first six games, rock bottom of the table and looked

:21:30.:21:35.

doomed to treat relegation. Water transformation and one man has done

:21:35.:21:40.

more to give them a fighting chance of staying up. Alan Richardson.

:21:40.:21:46.

Alan Richardson is Worcestershire's most experienced player. He played

:21:46.:21:49.

for Derbyshire and Warwickshire before arriving here from Middlesex.

:21:49.:21:55.

He is enjoying his cricket more than ever at 36. He is the loudest

:21:55.:22:00.

out in the pack and in the dressing room and he has got an enthusiasm

:22:00.:22:04.

which is something for playing cricket. He had taken 62 wickets

:22:04.:22:09.

but he did not long to make that 63 wickets and that is why he is so

:22:09.:22:13.

popular with the Worcestershire men's. He has come to a nice County

:22:13.:22:16.

and I think he enjoys his cricket. He cheers the players up a.

:22:16.:22:21.

shows that there is always a place for experience and he has done very

:22:21.:22:26.

well. Seems to be a good team player as well. A good morning for

:22:26.:22:32.

Worcestershire, Sussex were left on 25 for two. But the cricket

:22:32.:22:36.

commentators came out for their lunch when the players went in.

:22:37.:22:42.

This man has followed the every ball. It is a tough time for county

:22:42.:22:48.

cricket and Worcestershire have done well with the squad they have

:22:48.:22:53.

done well. Steve Rose told us that if he keeps Worcestershire up this

:22:53.:22:57.

season, it will be his single biggest achievement in his career.

:22:57.:23:02.

Worcestershire are fighting for their lives, and Worcestershire

:23:02.:23:12.

will... The file falling to Alan We are delighted to see him doing

:23:12.:23:19.

so well. Warwickshire closed on 235 for 3. In Westwood court 134 not

:23:20.:23:29.
:23:30.:23:31.

It will be working its way up in the temperatures but feeling

:23:31.:23:39.

autumnal. We are still seeing this rather intense area of low pressure

:23:39.:23:42.

moving in from the West and at the rain is as bad as the winds, it

:23:42.:23:48.

could be quite a nasty weekend. Outbreaks of rain rather than

:23:48.:23:52.

persistent foe. Tonight is like that as well. We have got rain

:23:52.:24:02.
:24:02.:24:02.

moving in from the West and it is run the western parts of the region

:24:02.:24:07.

that we will see rain moving towards the east as well. We have

:24:07.:24:11.

got a lot of cloud so once again, quite a warm night and it seems as

:24:11.:24:15.

if the night are better than the days in terms of temperatures.

:24:15.:24:19.

During the morning tomorrow, this band of showers and rain retreats

:24:19.:24:22.

to the west and then it springs back again during the afternoon and

:24:22.:24:26.

that will form a more organised band of rain through tomorrow

:24:26.:24:30.

evening and also tomorrow night. We will see that in a moment but

:24:30.:24:34.

temperatures rising to 19 Celsius and breaks in the cloud where we

:24:34.:24:38.

could see highs of 20 cells is but a warmer day than today because

:24:38.:24:44.

through tonight and tomorrow, the winds will be easing. The rain

:24:44.:24:49.

starts to form a more organised band and news from the south west

:24:49.:24:52.

to the north-east say could be a wet night tonight before Friday

:24:52.:24:57.

itself, the rain is out of the way and mainly dry, grey but also warm

:24:57.:25:07.
:25:07.:25:09.

and the winds are picking up as we A look at tight's headlines.

:25:09.:25:13.

Economists say the 50p tax rate is doing long lasting damage to the

:25:13.:25:15.

economy of. And the price tag for a

:25:15.:25:25.
:25:25.:25:27.

controversial sculpture soars past �1 million. Lot of e-mails as well.

:25:27.:25:30.

Paul Williams emailed in to say he's very much into the arts yet he

:25:30.:25:33.

doesn't think that such a large amount of money should be spent on

:25:33.:25:36.

maintaining a sculpture in a time when arts funding is being cut.

:25:36.:25:39.

Meanwhile, Fiona Smith from Telford asks, in this day and age when

:25:39.:25:42.

community groups, local charities and other worthwhile projects are

:25:42.:25:45.

struggling to keep going how on earth can such a project be

:25:45.:25:55.
:25:55.:25:57.

justified? Karen got in touch and says councils should come and raise

:25:57.:26:07.
:26:07.:26:10.

Martin got in touch from Newport in Shropshire and called to say that

:26:10.:26:14.

the expense of these public projects is absolutely ridiculous,

:26:14.:26:18.

particularly when we are in a time of austerity. And Jackie from

:26:18.:26:22.

Dudley says I think if it is probably that art needs to be paid

:26:22.:26:26.

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