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to more than �1 million. The Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury was
unveiled two years ago to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth
there of Charles Darwin. Today Shropshire Council revealed it's
lost a legal battle with the contractors which has more than
doubled the cost, making it more expensive than the Angel of the
North and landing council tax payers with a huge bill. Here's our
It's been likened to human vertebrae and a dinosaur's skeleton.
But the cost of the so-called Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury has
quite simply jumped higher than anyone expected. Least of all
Shropshire Council, which inherited the delays and spiralling costs
from the former Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council when
Shropshire became a unitary authority. Unfortunately it make
impact on some of the capital projects around the county and that
will impact on our residents. The good thing however is it will not
affect frontline services. If we had �1 million at the start, we
could have had a very famous British sculptor and nothing the
people would then accept it. The famous sculptor Anthony Gormley
was responsible for the Angel of the North statue. That cost
�800,000, much of it Lottery-funded. And �200,000 less than Quantum Leap.
I would rather it be given to charity. I think it is nice. Waste
of resources. Better spent on the NHS, I think.
The original budget was �483,000, the council paying �200,000, the
rest coming from grants. But the council bill has risen by another
�410,000, plus legal costs of �115,000, bringing the grand total
to more than �1 million. All at a time when Shropshire Council is
The sculpture was to mark the bicentenary of Charles Darwin. He
was born here. A man at the helm of a charity dedicated to the
naturalist and geologist likes the sculpture. I am pleased the town
did it. But the amount it cost, are you still pleased? I don't think I
can comment, it has cost what his has cost. You can name a figure and
he would still have the same debate. Each of these concrete ribs weighs
3 tonnes and one of the problems during construction was that they
had to be realigned to complete the arch. The contractors Alun
Griffiths from Abergavenny declined our request for an interview. A
statue of Darwin already exists here. Who knows what he would have
made of the row surrounding Quantum Leap. Love it or hate it, the
debate about how much it cost will be discussed by councillors next
week. So Quantum Leap has divided opinion.
But what about public works of art elsewhere around the region?
Whether they're donated, paid for by business or from the public
purse, Joan Cummins has been Every town and city in our region
has got public works of art but are they worth the money? Waste of
money. He should go to the NHS. A focal point for tourists, the
River Goddess otherwise known as the "Floozy In The Jacuzzi"
presides over a range of opinions in Birmingham city centre. We need
to express ourselves and have fun with it. I don't know what it means
and why it is there but it looks good. By Frederick one is at the
Bullring, the barn. That is like a statue -- my favourite one.
Art can be devisisve though. In 2003, Birmingham Forward was
destroyed by arsonists and a scuplture of Lady Diana in Walsall
caused so much controversy that its black veneer was removed and it was
totally revamped. In Stoke on Trent they've taken a different approach
to the art and built a ramp to get up close and personal with a city
father, Josiah Wedgwood. Lady Godiva knows her place in a
revamped city centre is guaranteed and has a place in everyones hearts.
I love Lady Godiva, but I think there is an awful lot of public
money going down the drains. Some of it is a bit of a pointless thing.
Sometimes there really is just one way to say exactly how much you
We're joined now by artist Tim Tolkien who's famous for creating
the Sentinel Spitfire sculpture in Castle Bromwich and also a statue
in honour of Cardinal Newman. He joins us from his studio in the
Black Country. Good evening. When everyone's cutting back so much, is
it understandable that there's anger that �1 million of taxpayers'
money has been spent on the Quantum Leap? The funding matter is a
difficult subject. A lot of problems appear to be to do with
contractors which is out of the hands of the artist or even could
not have been conceived at the start. We hear time and again, arc
plaudits come over budget. You are obviously very passionate about art
but tell us about why it is not such a luxury, why do we need it?
think good quality public at which has been devised properly, it gives
people a sense of pride and place and certainly the way I try to work
is to work with the community so it will be with the people who want it.
It should have a sense of belonging. We know that people were saying
that these are tough economic times. How his business for you bearing
up? At the moment, the product I am working on which is keeping me busy,
the money committed to that was committed over the past couple of
years so now people are not committing money so the next couple
of years it will be a bit tight but we will have to see. Were the
products are publicly funded or privately, I hope that which will
still be able for people to enjoy it in the future. We mentioned a
few minutes ago that you created the Cardinal John Newman statue,
there was a funding problem with that. How is that going? To fit in
with what you're talking about, but has been picked up by the
Birmingham City Council Heritage Department to a technically belongs
to the Museum and Art Gallery. The initial hopes to make it publicly
subscribed as a piece of work, it did not raise enough money, the
sculpture was already made by that point. Gratitude labelled for
joining us. The -- thank you for joining us.
So what do you think about public art, such as Quantum Leap? Is it
worth the money or is it too expensive at a time when public
finances are being cut? We'd love to hear your thoughts. You can e-
mail us or give us a call. Later in the programme, are things
looking up for dairy farmers after years when things looked decidedly
sour? A former Labour health minister
apologised today for what happened at Stafford Hospital. Giving
evidence to the Francis Inquiry into the failings there, Ben
Bradshaw said he had no idea how bad the problems had become. He
also said ministers felt powerless to act because they'd given a lot
of their power away to independent watchdogs. Our health correspondent,
Michele Paduano, joins us now from Stafford. To what extent did
ministers feel they weren't able to control what was going on?
Bradshaw was Minister of Health between 2007 and 2009 when the
catastrophe at Stafford Hospital was taking place and he was in
control of key areas but he said he was kept in the dark about those
areas. What was more interesting was what happened afterwards. After
the problems occurred, they tried to do things but the independent
watchdogs had the powers. For example, they wanted to take the
hospital back into full NHS ownership but they were not able to.
I asked about this but he refused twice but only made this statement.
I am desperately sorry for what happened here in the local hospital
for the families that suffered in there, relatives. I still feel
strongly from the time I spent in the department from the evidence I
have heard at this inquiry that this was fundamentally a case of
chronic local management failure. That does not mean that lessons are
not to be learned by the rest of the system. So why were ministers
prevented from sacking the chief executive? The former chief
executive Martin Yates clearly lied about what was going on what was
going on,... Ben Bradshaw said that the Minister of State -- Secretary
of State Alan Johnson was furious and said I rarely saw Alan Johnson
There was more discussion about the number of people who died, what can
you tell us about that? Even the health care commission originally
thought original there was 100 per when they got the figure of between
400-1,200, Ben Bradshaw wanted that figure published but they have had
a round table discussions and decided the figure was not robust
enough and took the decision that we would never know how many people
died at Stafford Hospital. Thank you.
A cul-de-sac in a desirable area might sound like a nice place to
live. But residents in one such street say their lives are being
made a misery by 200 lorries a day heading past their homes to a
quarry. They want a new access road to be built to take away what they
say is traffic nightmare, as Bob Hockenhull reports.
7:25am and the lorries start coming down Branton Hill Lane in Aldridge
near Walsall. And they keep on coming... And coming and coming. We
counted nearly 40 in an hour. Residents here say there's often
200 a day. The noise and the dust are the worse things, and it is not
safe. We have not got a pavement on one side of the road.
The cul-de-sac is the only access to this quarry. The quarry was
established in 1944 to extract sand to rebuild houses destroyed in the
Blitz. But since 2000 the number of lorries has risen seven-fold as the
site, which has been the subject of two public inquiries, is now also
involved in recycling rubble. Even the inspectors said that it is no
exaggeration to say the residents have suffered, it has been reduced
to a state of despair. The situation is still the same.
The inspector granted outline planning permission for a new
access road across greenbelt land and away from the houses. The
site's owner says he's ready to build it, but has spent the last
three years negotiating with planners. We have got everything we
need, we are ready to roll. would you feel if you lived on the
road? It certainly wouldn't be something I would be very happy
with. I can fully understand their frustration and I sympathise with
them. Councillors are due to discuss the
alternative route next month. will go to the planning committee
for a decision, and we are hopeful that will go through and we will do
everything we can do to make sure it happens.
If the plans are approved, residents say they'll throw a
street party, but in the meantime they'll have to carry on sharing
their road with lorry after lorry. Parents, teachers and pupils at a
school in Shropshire have lost their battle to keep it open.
Shropshire Council today voted to close the Wakeman School in
Shrewsbury, saying it was no longer viable because of falling pupil
numbers. Pupils created a mock crime scene at the Shire Hall,
where the plan was rubber stamped, claiming the decision was
"criminal". We said to the Wakeman School it was in your hands. Come
forward with a viable situation, we do not want to be closing schools
but unfortunately school or the community or the governors did not
come forward with a sustainable alternative to the proposals.
A Black Country MP is demanding urgent action to reverse the
mounting number of empty shops. New figures show that nearly a third of
shops in Dudley are vacant, compared with a national average of
one in seven. Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, is calling for
the town centre to be smartened up to help attract new stores and
fresh ideas. It's one of the biggest
regeneration projects in the UK. Rising from the ashes of the
collapsed car maker MG Rover is a new Longbridge town centre. The
latest milestone is the completion of the new Bournville College,
which has cost almost �70 million to build. Students are now
enrolling for courses, while there's plenty of activity
elsewhere on the site, as our business correspondent Peter
Plisner has been finding out. It may look a bit weird, but this
modern building promises to shape the future of higher education in
South Birmingham. Inside it's spacious, bright and students
enrolling today seem to love it. is brilliant compared to the old
college. I am very impressed. College is rubbish compared to this.
For the man in charge of the new college, it's the end of six long
years of planning. We think this will demonstrate what it is about
in Birmingham. But Bournville collage is only part
of the Longbridge regeneration story. Developer St Modwen, despite
the recession, is gearing up for even more construction. You have
got to get the heart back into Longbridge. The reason for people
to come here and to invest here. And encouraging that means more
regeneration. Soon they'll start work on a new �70 million retail
development which will also house a new hotel. Elsewhere there's more
space for living with the construction of scores of new homes.
This is another part of the site yet to be developed, the engines
used for at MG Rovers used to be made here, now 700 houses are
planned to be made here. It's all great news according to
the local vicar who also used to be the chaplin at the MG Rover factory.
We always knew it would be done cautiously but to see things
physically changing shape and people need to use these things and
it is inspiring. Despite the recession, millions of
pound is still being spent here, ultimately that should help to
create thousands of new jobs. The very striking indeed.
Still to come this evening, Shefali looks a few days ahead, could we
see a repeat of Monday night's wild weather over the weekend? Keep
watching to find out. After a tough few years, are things
looking up for the dairy industry? Farmers attending the Dairy Event
at the NEC today say milk prices have edged up towards a sustainable
level. But the news comes as it emerges an earlier attempt to pay
farmers a fair price led to a court case and multi-million pound fines
for supermarkets and dairies. Here's our environment
correspondent, David Gregory. Thousands of farmers, and plenty of
cattle of course, are expected to visit the NEC in Birmingham for the
135th Dairy Event. And it seems things may be looking up. The
crushingly low milk prices of recent years appear to be gone.
general P people are on a bit of a high. They are starting to see the
costs now and it works with farmers' lobbying people and
getting in touch with people who are sat behind those desks, drawing
up contracts and deciding what they will pay us.
But trying to increase the amount of the milk price farmers get has
landed some household names in court. An attempt to pay farmers
more at ended with an Office of Fair Trading investigation and
multi-million-pound fines for companies.
Dairy Crest was fined �7 million and Wiseman's, �3 million. Tesco is
contesting their �10 million fine at the moment. Everything is seen
as interests of the consumer but the difficulty is if you lose the
primary producer, that is not in the interest of the consumer so it
is a balance that is important. But now the picture appears rosier
with prices rising naturally. Farmers at a big event like this
tend to be commercially savvy and sensitive, but it is a sign that
there are better signs ahead for the industry.
The everyday story of country folk, that phrase has a ring to it. But
we're not talking about the Archers. No, two Herefordshire communities
have now become the inspiration for a couple of dramas on the radio.
For the past 12 months, the Rural Media Company has been working with
people in Ewyas Harold and Kington. Our arts reporter, Satnam Rana, has
been meeting some of the characters involved.
The market town of Kington is home to 2,500 people. 70 of whom have
helped bring local stories to life on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play
slot which is accompanied by a film. Later that evening, everybody
danced under those stars. "Man In Wheelbarrow" has been
inspired by Dick, the local street cleaner and school caretaker who
gathered stories and appears in the play himself. We always enjoyed
stories in the small town and there are so many of them and they are so
joyful mainly, and they go on for years.
It's all the brainchild of the Rural Media Company in Hereford
which has been working on the project for the last year along
with the BBC Radio Drama and Arts Council England. We like to work
alongside rural communities to give people chances to explore their
history is and open it to a wider world.
27 miles south in the village of Ewyas Harold, Graeme Sprackling, a
mobile librariran for 30 years, is the main inspiration for tomorrow's
play, "The Fearless Librarian Saves The Day". He retied 20 years ago. -
- retired. I am along comes Rural Media Company and almost at and I
am having to relive everything back on a mobile library. It is all the
talk of the village. It has put us on the map a little bit and it is
lovely to hear stories from the local community. Lots of lovely
places to see. The legacy of this product means the younger people in
these communities are now engaged in film-making and for the older
generation who have taken part in this project, they have been
introduced to modern media techniques. It just goes to show
that art is thriving in rural communities.
And you can tune into the second radio play on BBC Radio Hereford
and Worcester tomorrow at 2:15pm and you can find out more about The
Marches project on our Facebook The cricket season is boiling up to
an exciting finish. I always feel sad in September. With only two
games left, Warwickshire are fighting hard to win the County
Championship. Ian Westwood hit a century as they piled up the runs
against Notts. And at the opposite end of the table, Worcestershire
are battling to avoid relegation. Worcestershire have two games left
to preserve their status. Everything had gone pear-shaped in
June, they lost the first six games, rock bottom of the table and looked
doomed to treat relegation. Water transformation and one man has done
more to give them a fighting chance of staying up. Alan Richardson.
Alan Richardson is Worcestershire's most experienced player. He played
for Derbyshire and Warwickshire before arriving here from Middlesex.
He is enjoying his cricket more than ever at 36. He is the loudest
out in the pack and in the dressing room and he has got an enthusiasm
which is something for playing cricket. He had taken 62 wickets
but he did not long to make that 63 wickets and that is why he is so
popular with the Worcestershire men's. He has come to a nice County
and I think he enjoys his cricket. He cheers the players up a.
shows that there is always a place for experience and he has done very
well. Seems to be a good team player as well. A good morning for
Worcestershire, Sussex were left on 25 for two. But the cricket
commentators came out for their lunch when the players went in.
This man has followed the every ball. It is a tough time for county
cricket and Worcestershire have done well with the squad they have
done well. Steve Rose told us that if he keeps Worcestershire up this
season, it will be his single biggest achievement in his career.
Worcestershire are fighting for their lives, and Worcestershire
will... The file falling to Alan We are delighted to see him doing
so well. Warwickshire closed on 235 for 3. In Westwood court 134 not
It will be working its way up in the temperatures but feeling
autumnal. We are still seeing this rather intense area of low pressure
moving in from the West and at the rain is as bad as the winds, it
could be quite a nasty weekend. Outbreaks of rain rather than
persistent foe. Tonight is like that as well. We have got rain
moving in from the West and it is run the western parts of the region
that we will see rain moving towards the east as well. We have
got a lot of cloud so once again, quite a warm night and it seems as
if the night are better than the days in terms of temperatures.
During the morning tomorrow, this band of showers and rain retreats
to the west and then it springs back again during the afternoon and
that will form a more organised band of rain through tomorrow
evening and also tomorrow night. We will see that in a moment but
temperatures rising to 19 Celsius and breaks in the cloud where we
could see highs of 20 cells is but a warmer day than today because
through tonight and tomorrow, the winds will be easing. The rain
starts to form a more organised band and news from the south west
to the north-east say could be a wet night tonight before Friday
itself, the rain is out of the way and mainly dry, grey but also warm
and the winds are picking up as we A look at tight's headlines.
Economists say the 50p tax rate is doing long lasting damage to the
economy of. And the price tag for a
controversial sculpture soars past �1 million. Lot of e-mails as well.
Paul Williams emailed in to say he's very much into the arts yet he
doesn't think that such a large amount of money should be spent on
maintaining a sculpture in a time when arts funding is being cut.
Meanwhile, Fiona Smith from Telford asks, in this day and age when
community groups, local charities and other worthwhile projects are
struggling to keep going how on earth can such a project be
justified? Karen got in touch and says councils should come and raise
Martin got in touch from Newport in Shropshire and called to say that
the expense of these public projects is absolutely ridiculous,
particularly when we are in a time of austerity. And Jackie from
Dudley says I think if it is probably that art needs to be paid