The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.
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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.
The headlines tonight: An exclusive interview with the
Prince Charles he talks about his hopes for the future of Stoke on
Trent's pottery industry and regeneration. This part of the
world, Stoke-on-Trent, and the Potteries, has such a remarkable
place in this country's history. Travellers a step closer to being
told to leave the greenbelt site where they've been living illegally.
Calls for an English Defence League protest to be moved away from
Birmingham City Centre amid fears over violence.
And Wolves manager Mick McCarthy slams the fans who called for him
to be sacked after a string of defeats. It is cut -- destructive
and no good to me or anybody else. What I know is I will keep picking
Good evening. Welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.
Tonight, a message of hope from the Prince of Wales as he visits the
Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm his charity salvaged from closure. --
the travellers appealed but after a public inquiry earlier this year,
an inspector backed the cancer's original decision of the government
says the inspector was right to say no to the plans.
Celebrating the news they'd been longing to hear. This morning,
campaigners in Meriden were told that the Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, had backed Solihull
Council's decision to refuse planning permission on this patch
of greenbelt land for eight pitches to site eight mobile homes and
eight touring caravans. It was on April 30th last year that the
travellers, who own the greenbelt land, moved onto the site and began
developing it. We are relieved the Secretary of State agrees with
local residents and the council this is an unlawful unsustainable
development causing day leak harm to the green belt. Although they've
spoken to Midlands Today a number of times before, today they refused
to comment on the ruling. Next week will mark a year-and-a-half since
residents set up a 24 hour vigil against the development. They say
they will stay here until all the travellers have gone. The big
question now is just how many days that will take. The ruling doesn't
mean the Council can now evict the travellers. That will be a decision
for the High Court. And with the scenes at Dale Farm in Essex fresh
in many people's memories, Solihull Council are determined to make sure
everything is done to keep this situation peaceful. The situation
is very different from Dale Farm and we have continued dialogue with
the travelling community here and there is nothing like the scale of
Dale Farm. The circumstances are different. We don't anticipate
those sorts of problems and will be taking every step we can to make
sure it doesn't happen. The corks are in the champagne bottles and
will not be out until this site has been restored to green belt.
that could still be weeks if not months before it happens.
There are calls tonight for a protest by the English Defence
League in Birmingham's Victoria Square on Saturday to be moved to a
less high profile venue. Anti- fascist groups are planning a
counter-demonstration, raising fears of a repeat of the violence
during a similar protest two years ago. Our reporter Jackie Kabler is
in Victoria Square now. Jackie, is this protest still likely to go
ahead? Yes. The police told me the Sutton
and they have no plans to Madrid from Victoria Square and, of course,
it is going to be a static demonstration. They have no sort of
powers to ban that sort of demonstration. You can see Victoria
Square is occupied by these anti- corporate greed protesters and
there is going to be an anti- fascist group demonstrating as well
so there are concerns we might see some sort of trouble like we saw in
August in Telford went EDL groups and anti-fascist groups clashed
during a similar demonstration. You're still very concerned they
should move it, aren't you? I wrote to the Chief Constable and the
chairman of the city council. To have the fascist groups protesting
here in Victoria Square, the prominent Victoria Square it would
be difficult for the police to handle in light of the lack of
resources. And few resources they have. I am concerned the USAF group,
counter demonstrating, and the light of what happened last time
and the police found it difficult to keep on top of it, I will be
break-ins and they can keep it together. There will be a lot of
pressure on the police with two football matches. West Midlands
Police do is say that they will have officers deployed throughout
Birmingham to provide visible reassurance and any criminal
offences will be dealt with robustly. That is a reassuring
message from the police but it seems that protest will be going
ahead. A march to highlight the plight of
the young and unemployed arrived in Rugby today. It's tracing the same
route as the historic Jarrow March from the North East of England to
London, which took place 75 years ago It comes at a time when 234,000
people in the region are out of work. That's 8.9% of the working
population. 54,000 young people are currently claiming Job Seekers'
Allowance in the West Midlands. Andy Newman reports.
Times may have changed. Their cause has not. The latter-day Jared
jobseeker's arrived on the outskirts of rugby this afternoon,
three-quarters of a century after their four fathers followed the
same route. The original march has become an icon of the fight for
jobs in the 1930s. Today's activists may have been fewer in
number but nonetheless determined to have their voices heard. What's
your impression as you come through the Midlands of the unemployment
situation? It is as bad as it is everywhere and it is a national
question which is why we are getting the support we are. In the
Midlands it is similar as across the country with a traditional
industry being decimated. As the modern-day marchers pass through
Warwickshire, we thought we would take the economic temperature of
rugby. The unemployment rate is just over 7%, lower than the
regional and national average. The town still has more vacant shops
than it would like that stop general consensus is that the town
is doing very well. The town centre, we feel, is the area we need to
concentrate on most, and the general theme of the town has
scenes -- lacks some confident. shortage of confidence at autumn
but of installations at rugby. They make noise dampening parts for cars
and they have doubled their turnover in the last few years,
winning a �1.3 million contract with Jaguar Land Rover and
expanding their work force. From our point of view, we are busy.
Some of our neighbours are working 24 hours and we are on two shifts.
So, very good. There may be some hope for the young unemployed for
rugby. As for the marchers, then next stop is Daventry and they are
due to arrive in London on Guy Fawkes night.
Was Shakespeare a fraud? That's the controversial claim of a new
Hollywood film which portrays the Bard as an illiterate oaf who was
the front man for the Earl of Oxford. The accusation has angered
Shakespeare enthusiasts so much that they covered up a statue of
him today to let the world try and imagine what life would be like
without the world's most famous playwright. Here's our Coventry and
Warwickshire reporter Joan Cummins. It's taken four years to come to
screen and presents Warwickshire born William Shakespeare not as the
worlds greatest playwright, but a front man for the Earl of Oxford's
writing ambitions. Congratulations, you have at an epic poem published
today. In a book? I am drawn to these kinds of things went there is
something there when people could argue about. I think it is the
function that movies should have, much more than they have now.
street signs with Shakespeare's name on were covered and at first
light the iconic statue of the Bard in Stratford found itself shrouded
from the gaze of the public in protest at the impudence of
Hollywood suggesting intellectual theft. The whole thing is total
bunkum. It is just rubbish. Of course, film-makers have the right
just as novelist to twist history, just as Shakespeare did, but
anybody who is taken in by this must be bonkers. Almost five
million tourists visit Stratford every year generating �300 million
for the local economy, so is there a fear that questioning
Shakespeare's skills could reduce the town's income? Shakespeare is
Stratford and Shakespeare is such a wonderful person, and I cannot...
Cannot understand or cannot believe that anyone could doubt that he
wrote the plays. Look how many people are here. He is not a fraud.
They will be questioning Father Christmas next, won't they? It is
nonsense. Perhaps the test of Shakespeare's legacy though is that
even hidden under a sheet he was still attracting interest from
visitors. Bizarre, isn't it? Still to come in tonight's
programme. Shefali with all the weather details.
You could say we got off lightly with the rain last night after the
hammering Wales got. But next time we may not be so lucky. There's
more to come this week. Tonight, a message of hope from the Prince of
Wales as he visits the Stoke-on- Trent pottery firm his charity
salvaged from closure. The Prince's Trust rescued the Burleigh Ware
factory in the summer saving 50 jobs as part of a major restoration
and regeneration project. It's now hoped that the factory in
Middleport will become a catalyst for much needed economic growth and
job creation in the Potteries. During the visit, he spoke
exclusively to our Staffordshire reporter Liz Copper and said he
hoped it would help rebuild hope and self-confidence in an area
blighted by job losses. Arriving for this, his first visit
to medal port. As the gates opened by Prince Charles was greeted by
the Potters whose jobs he has helped to secure. He has taken a
very personal and direct interest in this factory's future. Speaking
to the BBC, he explained why he had chosen to support this private.
is a very special and unique survival here. And still incredibly
popular around the world. But I also wanted to see if we could use
this remarkable place as a means of helping to gradually regenerate
other parts of England and perhaps to spread brings further out.
unemployment is a big problem in the Potteries and in the West
Midlands as a whole more generally. How can heritage projects and
regeneration projects like this one help address that problem? At a
time like this when it is so difficult anyway, you cannot do
everything, but we can to try to make some difference here and there.
Add half the battle is to try to bring an investment from elsewhere,
and we have managed, for instance, here, to bring in private
investment. Earlier, the Prince had been shown the traditional
techniques used here, unchanged since the Victorian era. He also
had a chance to see the factory's collection of pottery moulds.
17,000 data facts, it is one of your's oldest and largest
collections. This pottery has been described by English Heritage as a
national treasure. Its workers have welcomed the Prince's support.
think it is fabulous. It is putting the heart back into the company
which is what we need. A lot of factories have closed in this area.
And I think with the Prince's Trust coming in and saving the building,
I really do think it will keep it going. We need to retrain the
younger generation, to pick up the scale, because it is one of the
last places doing this old skill. As well as preserving skills, this
product will also see the renovation of these historic
buildings. There are plans for an education centres so visitors can
see and learn for themselves about the inner workings of this unique
factory. It is hoped that will provide a spoke for new employment
opportunities. This is the street right opposite the factory.
Families living here hope the investment by the Prince's
regeneration trust will have wider benefits. He has come out and said
he will do this and that, and nobody else has, so good on him.
During his visit, the Prince spoke to every member of staff at the
factory and it is hoped this will mark the start of a long
association between the Prince and Joining us from Stoke-on-Trent is
the former mayor, Mark Meredith, now the councillor responsible for
the city's economic regeneration. Thank you for joining us. You heard
Prince Charles talking about what he will do to help regenerate towns
and cities. What are you doing in Stoke-on-Trent? You are breaking up
a little bit, but we are pleased to see the Prince here today. He has
spoken to every worker in the factory, and everybody associated,
including all the partners in the private sector. Do you see a
brighter future in the potteries as a whole, because it is a bit dismal
or around at the moment, isn't it? Yes, we are all quite optimistic.
At the moment, there is the British ceramics biennial taking place in
the potteries which is a six week- long festival of the ceramics
industry, not just of British manufacturing, which is in a
revival state at the moment, but also of new businesses that are
coming in and new young artists that are basing themselves in
Stoke-on-Trent, that are coming out of the universities and design
studios. Indeed, we have also been talking to Chinese potential
investors, and also to local pot banks that are bringing back some
of their production from places like China to produce again in the
world capital of ceramics, this great city of Stoke-on-Trent. We
are all very optimistic. Bentley for joining us this evening.
-- thank you. A pool on an industrial estate could hold the
key to the long-term survival of the increasingly rare British
crayfish. It has been almost completely wiped out in some areas
by its larger American cousin. The British version is thriving so much
in Warwickshire that it has become to's largest surviving population.
Our Environment Correspondent has been finding out more in the latest
You might imagine that when people move into an area the wildlife
moves out, but that is not always the case. Here in the Midlands,
some of Britain's rarest wildlife is to be found in some of our most
Hello. Nice to see you. I'm looking for crayfish? Yes, indeed. Around
about here? Yes, they are in the shallows of relief. We are looking
for the extremely rare native British crayfish... Oh, wait.
There's one! It turns out that in this very special Paul, they are
not so rare. That was quicker than I expected. How many are in there?
We think something like 100,000, so a massive population. But these are
really rare. These are the native crayfish. Yes, for most of the UK
they are not around, but we have got some sites which are really
special for them, and this is one of them. This is one of four main
populations in the UK. Strangely, it is surrounded by all this
urbanisation and really in an area you would not expect to find them.
But it is that urbanisation that has sealed off this pool in
Nuneaton, which also meets these crayfish are sealed off from the
invasive American signal crayfish. But how can you tell the native
crayfish from the invaders? A key distinctive feature, as well as the
coloration and size, is this ridge along here. If you just run your
finger back on that one. Big claws! It catches, little tiny spikes.
and it just catches. That is distinctive. So, as the native
crayfish struggles, this population could well help save it. At least
in a similar locations. What we are planning is to look at similar
balls elsewhere that up isolated urbanised pools, where we can move
a population from here. Again, it is a safety population, if you like.
It is like creating an ark for these animals. Well, that was
really incredible. I guess the most incredible thing is it is
urbanisation that has saved that population, Britain's largest
population of native crayfish. It is this housing estates, the
industrial estate. Without these, the American signal crayfish would
have invaded and probably killed them all off.
David joins us in the studio. He said 100,000, how does he know
that? Obviously they cannot count them all. They catch a batch, mark
them, and release them again. There may go back a bit later and catch a
second batch and see how many are caught the second time that have
the mark. That over that, with some clever mathematics, there's your
estimate. He did say between 50,100 1000. That is enough to know, for
example, that you can take some out and restock another pond. I had a
crayfish salad for lunch so I am feeling guilty. Are these the same
variety that you would get in the supermarket? You can eat them, but
there are rules. You can't do the native one because that is a rare
and we want to protect that. But the invaders, if you have a licence,
you can catch them and trap them. But you need a licence from the
Environment Agency. You need to know what you are doing because you
could inadvertently spread the disease by moving tracks between
different rivers. If you go to my blog you can find out more about my
-- about the licence that you need. Onto football, and Mick McCarthy
came out fighting today. First, the Wolves boss slammed the fans who
called for him to be sacked at Molineux on Saturday as "mindless
idiots". Then he thanked everyone else for their unbelievable support
over the past couple of days. As Wolves prepare to face Manchester
City twice this week, McCarthy has been talking to Ian Winter.
Mick McCarthy was fuming on Saturday, but now he has calmed
down. All my toys are back in the pram and I am all right. But
sometimes I have a bad day, and Saturday was one of those. I am
fine. But if he is no longer at boiling point, he is still
simmering on a low heat it is those Wolves supporters who sang, you're
getting sacked in the morning and you don't know what you are doing,
when he made his double substitution.
Do you feel that it can create a siege mentality among Store
Players? Yes, this chanting does not help. These mindless idiots who
do it, do not give them any credit for getting us playing well or
getting a result, because they don't deserve any of that. Exactly
12 months ago this week, Wahlstedt Manchester United to the wire in
the Carling Cup before losing 3-2, and four days later, they shocked
everyone by beating Manchester City in the Premier League. But the
bookies don't believe lightning will strike twice. They are quoting
odds of 130-1 against was completing a Cup league double
against City in back-to-back games this week. I hope it will be that
way so they can have a whingeing get shot of their manager. They are
not getting shot of the chairman of the players, so let's give it to
the gaffer. We are having a tough time. Give the lads some support,
don't give us aggravation. As the new stadium takes place at Molineux,
Mick McCarthy says he has done a great job over the past five years.
He talked of solidarity at the club and the unbelievable support he has
had this week from players and fans alike. Few could doubt his passion
for keeping balls in the Premier League.
-- Wolves. You can hear the full interview with Mick McCarthy on BBC
WM at 8pm tonight. Plus, full coverage of all
tonight's Football League games on your BBC local radio station.
And, while we're talking sport, there are only six days left now to
send in your nominations for this year's BBC Midlands Sports Unsung
Hero Award. For the details, go to our website or the Midlands Today
They were part of the so called forgotten army - thousands of young
men sent from the Black Country to fight the Japanese in the Burmese
jungle during the Second World War. Now their ordeal has been made the
subject of a feature-length documentary in which some of the
veterans talk about their ordeal for the first time. The film,
called For Your Tomorrow, has been six years in the making. Bob
Hockenhull reports. The untold story of the Black
Country's Burma war veterans, uncovered after 70 years by
Wolverhampton film-maker Don Clark. They were nicknamed the forgotten
army, rarely ignored by a public at home, both during and since the war.
It's estimated 17,000 Allied soldiers died. Less than 1% of
survivors from the Black Country are still alive. Don recorded 80
hours of interviews for his documentary, For Your Tomorrow. It
received its world premiere last night. George Hill and Charlie
Maber, both in their eighties, are featured. To be quite honest, I
feel ashamed of myself. I get emotional. God knows why. Charlie
was just 17 when he joined up. He flew sorties over the jungle -
back-up for the advancing troops, among them his friend, George.
I wake up some might and it is as clear as a bell. I can see their
faces, I can hear them. Other than that, I'm not doing so bad, really.
I was one of the lucky ones to come back. Arms, ammunition, food...
Wolves president Sir Jack Haywood is one of the veterans featured.
The film shows young descendants of the forgotten fighters finding out
about their brave past. These anonymous black countrymen
that we walk by in the street every day of the week had some incredible
memories that they can share with us, and I am very glad that I have
recorded these stories. Lottery did these men have to contend with
fighting the Japanese, they had to make do dense jungle, put up with
tropical diseases, and encountered deadly species like snakes and
scorpions. The documentary will be taken to film festivals around the
world, and it will be released on DVD this Remembrance Day. A fitting
tribute to the bravery of these veterans.
The brave men we will never forget. We will be alternating between two
lots of whether this week. Sunny and dry, and also cloudy and wet.
Those wins are toned down for the time being, but could whip up again
by the weekend. Today has been pretty decent. A few showers, not
many, but for those of those -- you who need them, we have more
migrating up from the south, moving north through the first part of the
night. Then you can see they move off to the north leaving all parts
dry and quite clear. Because we have got colder air coming into the
region, temperatures will fall to a minimum of six Celsius in towns and
cities. A chilly start to the Data error, but when you have clear
skies during the night, it lends itself to a sun-kissed morning.
Plenty of sunshine around first thing. Then slowly we start to see
more cloud and some showers developing through the afternoon.
More widespread than today. Most of them will be light. Temperatures at
Murrough in the north of the region any reaching highs of 12 Celsius.
Elsewhere, 13 and 14, so a touch colder than today. The winds are
slightly lighter. Through tomorrow evening, no sooner have those
showers cleared off to the north, we see the next system arriving.
More cloud from that, and we will start to see some light, patchy
rain developing as well. Heavier on Thursday. Then it starts to drive
up for Friday, but the legacy of that rain will be more cloud on
Friday, although it will become sunnier but breezier on Saturday.
A look at tonight's main headlines: David Cameron insists there is no
bad blood after the EU rebellion by his MPs.
And, here Prince Charles has visited the potteries and said he'd
do all he could to help regenerate deprived towns and cities.
Earlier in the programme we talked about the English Defence League