22/02/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today with Suzanne Virdee and Nick Owen.


The headlines tonight: Boost for jobs - the greenfield site that


offers hope for up to 2,500 thousand workers.


Businesses that want to design, work with local universities, take


advantage of local schools, want to come here.


A man's charged with the murder of retired teacher Betty Yates. Jess


Varnish dreams of Olympic glory, but few of her family will have


tickets to see her. My view is they need to go to the


people who have really supported them.


And the Polar explorer stopped in Good evening, welcome to


Wednesday's Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight: The hi-tech fightback in the battle


against soaring unemployment. Work's set to start in September on


a new business park in Staffordshire which could create up


to 2,500 jobs. The new park will be aimed at the research and


technology sector and follows the announcement of Jaguar Land Rover's


major new plant in the county. Here's our business correspondent


Peter Plisner. Just a field north of Stafford but within a couple of


years this site could be helping to create thousands of much needed


skilled jobs. Close to the M6 it's earmarked for


a research and technology park and is being planned by Staffordshire


County Council. Real interest from manufacturing businesses. Some


great success last year. JCB off back to full-strength. -- are back.


A neighbouring site has already been developed and has attracted a


number of high profile businesses including this plumbing and a


heating firm. Its managing director says it's an ideal location. We are


a national distributor, need good transport links, being a minute


away from the M6 is the perfect location. We are within an hour and


a quarter of London on a fast rail link. And despite the recession


even here new jobs are being created. Lesley Bateman was made


redundant from her last job, now she's the company's new HR manager.


It is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters. We have got the


University, colleges, all within a 50 mile radius. It is the best


thing that could happen to this region. Jobs of many business parks


are seen as vulnerable to the ups and band of the technology but jobs


on technology parks are seen as much more sustainable because what


will be produced here will be exported to countries that are


continually growing giving workers much more Dock -- job security. But


will the jobs coming here actually be new? NXT, new jobs, jobs


relocating, also from abroad -- a mixture. We have a lot of those


will have local employment. Great skill set, a good customer service


reputation and good value Labour. Plans for the business park follow


Staffordshire's success in attracting Jaguar Land Rover's new


engine planned. It's due to be built at the I54 site near


Wolverhampton. And Peter joins us now. Obviously, ambitious plans in


Stafford. How realistic is it that those 2,500 jobs will be filled?


The site has space for seven major businesses and that figure is only


a projection. It's based on experience elsewhere in the county


where new business parks have been created. Have to say maybe more


could also be jobs in the supply chain in the wider region to the


companies based there. But not all will be new jobs. As you heard the


councillor say in the film, some jobs will be relocated from


elsewhere as companies are attracted to the site because of


it's location and perhaps a need to expand.


More positive news from Jaguar Land Rover? Tata, the Indian owners


planning to double the amount they're investing in the Midlands


brands, said 1.5 billion a year to fund new models both here and


abroad. The cash could mean thousands of new jobs. Some money


used for plans to begin producing vehicles in China. Details of a


joint venture with a Chinese car maker are said to be imminent. Not


clear how much of that money will be spent here. But research and


development work on those new models will be done in the Midlands


Police have charged a 47-year-old man with the murder of a better


Yate. She was found at a remote cottage on the banks of the River


Severn on January 2nd. Steven Farrer has also be charge of the


murder of a South Gloucestershire vicar. -- been charged.


The clergyman and Betty Yates it was stabbed to death in Heron Homes.


Steven Farrer, 47 years old, has been charged with murdering them


both. But Yates lived alone in a house beside the River Severn in


Bewdley. She was found dead days before his 77th birthday. She had


been stabbed and beaten with her and a walking stick. It was six


weeks after Betty was found here that there was another murder at,


at 70 miles away in the neighbouring county of


Gloucestershire. Police started to think there may be a link. The


Reverend John Stoddard's body was found just over a week ago in the


vicarage of the town of Cornbury. He had been stabbed many times. He


had moved to this small, quiet market town last summer. Before


then he worked in Essex where he was filmed for the BBC. Both have


been described as pillars of their community. Candlelit vigils and


memorial services have been held for both of them. Police believe it


was the same man who took both of It's a controversial police tactic,


the right of officers to stop and search people in the street who


they believe may be breaking the law. It can lead to resentment


among young black people, who are seven times more likely to be


stopped than white people, according to official figures. In


Birmingham tonight, a new Civil Rights Card is being launched by a


lobbying group for the African and Caribbean community. It explains to


young people why they might be stopped and what they can do if


they are. Giles Latcham reports. Stopped and searched - important


powers say the police but their use can anger and antagonise. I know


you were detained when you are arrested. Daniel's been stopped and


searched several times, he thinks the power's used disproportionately


against people of a certain colour or background. Just because people


are from lower-class backgrounds doesn't mean they are aiming for a


life of crime. To be in the area and just tarnished with the same


brush as your neighbour is not right, everybody is an individual


and has the right to do what they want. A So how about those rights?


The officers who stop you have to give their names and stations,


explain the grounds for suspicion and provide you with a written


record if you want one, rights explained in this pocket sized


guide produced here in Birmingham. It's the work of solicitors


involved in a campaign group for the African and Caribbean


communities. Relationships between the police and community will never


improve whilst there is a disproportionate and improper and a


lawful use and exercise of these powers. The latest figures for


England and Wales show that per 1,000, 125 black people are stopped


and searched. Compared to less than 50 Asians. And about 20 white


people, making black people seven times more likely to be stopped.


The man who oversees West Midlands Police says the force must be


mindful of the harm the misuse of stop and search can do. It needs to


carry the public with it on any aspect of policing organisation it


carries out. Stop-and-search is contentious, necessary, but needs


to be used appropriately and sensitively. There's anecdotal


evidence that anti-police sentiment during last summer's riots was


exacerbated by anger about stop and search. The reality is its use in


the West Midlands has decreased drastically in recent years, but


for some it's a power which tests to breaking point the concept of


policing by consent. Let's talk now to Dr Robert Beckford, author,


academic and supporter of the civil card scheme who joins us now from


it's launch event in Birmingham. Good evening. What do you hope


these cards will achieve? A to empower people within the Community


to know their rights if they are stopped by the police and to


encourage the police to do their job, observe the legal framework in


which they are meant to be working in. How realistic is it that young


black people will bother to carry one though? We hope it is snazzy


enough and a portable enough for young people to carry it, given the


gravity of the situation. It is not really a matter of choice, it is a


matter of necessity. We need to insure their good police and


community relations and we feel this will go some way towards


improving the situation. I have got one here, it is wallet sized.


Police say stop and search is necessary, it cuts the drug and


knife crime, do you agree? course it is necessary. But when


you have a situation where African- Caribbean young people are seven


times more likely to be stopped in comparison to their white


counterparts, and in addition 150% increase in stop-and-search amongst


African Caribbean men, that is not just about police doing their job,


that is harassment. What effect is that having a young people you talk


I think it makes you people fear the law in a negative way. Rather


than having respect for the Lord they fear that the law is corrupt.


This kind of thing used to happen in apartheid South Africa, you


don't expect it to see it happening in a modern, democratic society


like Britain in 2012. Obviously it upsets people, frustrates them.


Police do say using stop-and-search, they are using it a lot less, what


is your view? It is not so much about the quantity, it is about the


quality. It is about having informed approaches to stop and


search which is intelligence based, rather than racially pro felt based.


The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has paid tribute in the House of


Commons to a Worcestershire teacher who was killed in a coach crash in


France at the weekend. Peter Rippington died when the bus he was


travelling in with a group of schoolchildren plunged to the


bottom of a motorway embankment on Sunday. A number of children from


Alvechurch Middle School were injured in the accident. I know he


was much respected in the local community and at the school, and


will be hugely missed. The thoughts and seedier -- sincere condolences


of everybody in the house will be with his constituents and everyone


affected. Our consular staff in France continue to provide support


to all those in France. Our ambassador has visited passengers


in hospital and is liaising with local authorities and will do


everything he can with a fridge or The father of one of our top medal


hopes at the London Olympics has hit out at ticketing allocations


for families at this summer's games. Bromsgrove cyclist Jess Varnish is


gunning for gold, but her family are only allowed two tickets to


watch her in action. And Jess has four grandparents and two sisters.


There's nothing better than celebrating a triumph with your


loved ones and on Friday night Jess Varnish was able to do just that


after winning gold at cycling's World Cup in London. A minibus full


of friends and family had travelled down from Bromsgrove for this test


event for the new Olympic velodrome and they weren't disappointed.


Jess's blistering start set the stage for Victoria Pendleton and


together they smashed the world record for the team sprint. Great


memories for Jess's dad Jim but there's no guarantee he'll be there


again if the 21-year-old wins Olympic gold in London this summer.


Because they didn't get any cycling tickets in the public ballot and


competitors are only allowed two tickets each for friends and family.


I am using just as an example, but I am sure it is the same for all


the athletes. They have got a family, appeared at her parents,


some have got husbands and wives, what about grandparents, sisters


and brothers? Two tickets on allegation, it isn't really enough


when the need to be getting a hide our athletes. -- behind. In a


statement London 2012 said "We believe that it is important that


those people who have supported the athletes are able to share in their


However we also want to ensure that the public has the chance to cheer


on these athletes, so we have to strike a balance on ticket


availability." On the day there may be vacant seats. I believe you can


go to certain double-agent and buy a package to go to the velodrome as


long as you buy a nice hotel. -- travel agent. My view is that


tickets need to go to the people that really deserve them, the


people who have supported athletes through their career. So if Jess


gets the chance to go for gold again at the Olympic velodrome in


August her family are desperately hoping they'll be there to roar her


on. I do hope so. The thought of her family not being able to see


her. You can find all the Olympic


information you need on the BBC 2012 website. Later in the


programme, just what the doctor ordered, an explosive storyline for


the popular BBC1 series made in Birmingham.


And things are certainly looking up for tomorrow but could the same be


said of the weekend? I'll have a full update for you later.


A Coventry man who hoped to become the first person to trek solo to


both poles has revised his route because of the "unpredictable"


nature of the Arctic. Mark Wood travelled 612 miles in 50 days to


reach the South Pole last month. But instead of skiing to the North


Pole from Canada later this year, as he was planning to do, he has


had to change his plans. Kevin Reide reports. Back home in


Coventry Mark Wood's still recovering from his epic solo ski


across the South Pole. In seven weeks he covered 612 miles.


Q really have to live for the them back. Take every day as it comes.


Mark had no human contact for 50 days filming himself with a camera


on the end of a large pole. And he spent Christmas day in his tent


letting his imagination run wild on this audio blog.


Hello? My word, it is Father Christmas. I had a visit from


Father Christmas in my tent. I did, I pretended he came I visited me or


my own in the tent. With being away so long Mark's fridge is looking


pretty sparse but he has got one thing in here, some water all the


way from the South Pole. He collected Antarctic water by


thawing snow into his flask and hopes to do the same in the Artic,


he's setting off for that leg of his epic journey in a few weeks


time. It's a harsher place than the south because it's all water and


ice, and he recently decided to travel outwards from the pole


rather than towards it to take advantage of the natural ice flow.


He'll also prepared for the added risk of polar bears. I am fully


aware it is their environment and the last thing I want to put one


down, but if one attacked me for whatever reason you need the last


line of defence so I do carry a shotgun. He has received many


letters of support including this one from the Prime Minister and his


adventure begins in mid-March. He can find out much more on the


face but page. Not sure I could do Christmas they


are my own at the sample. -- Football, and Birmingham City moved


another step closer to the Premier League by beating Barnsley last


night. It was their 15th match without defeat, and means they're


now third in the Championship. Walsall also secured back to back


victories, but Shrewsbury Town suffered a setback in their bid to


win promotion from League Two. Birmingham City are brim full of


confidence. Their last defeat was just before Christmas. But they


knew a midweek trip to Barnsley would be a tough test of their


promotion credentials. And the Blues rose to the challenge. An


early own goal from Rob Edwards set the ball rolling. But when Barnsley


equalised ten minutes later Birmingham fought back strongly.


Keith Fahey, who's on top of his game, rifled in their second. And


it was no more than they deserved when Nathan Redmond wrapped up a 3-


1 victory 12 minutes from time. Blues are now lying third after 15


games without defeat. At the foot of League One Walsall moved out of


the bottom four with a vital victory over one of their


relegation rivals Scunthorpe. Florent Cuvelier on loan from Stoke


settled the match in the first half. It was feisty affair at the top of


League Two. Matt Richards gave Shrewsbury a first half lead at


Swindon. But this was the key moment. Terry Gornell looked to be


fouled, but the referee said no penalty and no red card. Swindon


went on to score twice in 12 minutes to go top of the table


above Cheltenham who drew 0-0 against Wimbledon. Frustration all


round for Shrewsbury and their manager Graham Turner who was left


fuming with the referee. That looked a definite penalty, it


drives you mad. It promises to be a highlight of


the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, a flotilla of 1,000


boats travelling along the Thames. And taking part will be a


narrowboat currently being restored at the Black Country Museum.


It's steam powered, it's called The President and it'll be representing


Staffordshire at the pageant and it'll take three weeks to travel


the 336 miles from the county to London. Bob Hockenhull reports.


Dating back to 1909 The President is one of 31 steam powered narrow


boats built by Fellows, Morton and Clayton at Saltley in Birmingham.


It's the only one that survives and at its permanent home at the Black


Country Living Museum, enthusiasts are restoring the vessel for the


jubilee celebrations. Staffordshire businesses are paying for the


refurbishment so the county can be represented at the Diamond Jubilee


flotilla on the Thames. The it is the only coal-fired steam powered


narrowboat left in its original position. It is part of the


National Historic fleet. Other boats on a late victory, could


It'll start out from Stoke in April on route inviting interested


onlookers aboard as it makes its way to the Capital. If you look at


it it is in excess of 100 years of age but it was breakthrough


technology in its era. He we are now, going through the county, and


it has more miles of canal and any other county in the country, so


another reason why we are proud of There are still quite a lot of


maintenance to be done before it is ready to meet the Queen, but the


crew are confident everything will be ready by April, so the boat can


make its journey to London 336 miles in a very sedate three miles


an hour. The space taken up by the boiler


meant there was limited room for the cargo, so narrowboats like this


were reserved for specialist, highly priced goods. One of the big


contracts for this boat was being date and spices to HP sauce in


Birmingham. And then taking it back to London. It brought here up from


the docks, a very valuable cargo and easy to get there quickly. For


those who drive on the M1, quickly, London to Birmingham was 56 hours


non-stop. In contrast the journey to London


in the spring will be much more leisurely taken over several weeks


but its cargo of good wishes for Her Majesty will be just as


As the countdown to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations continues,


we'd love to hear your stories if you've ever met the Queen. Email us.


Next month it'll be 12 years since television audiences were first


introduced to the fictional West Midlands town of Letherbridge, and


its medical centre. More than 2,000 episodes later and Doctors still


has a regular afternoon slot on BBC1.


Produced by our colleagues at BBC Birmingham, the drama's gearing up


for a dramatic storyline. And today was an explosive one for crew and


cast. Lindsay Doyle joined them on


location. A cold, grey morning in Birmingham,


forget glamour, this is hard graft, the start of filming of what's to


be one of the most powerful storylines Doctors has run in its


twelve year history. I can tell you that it is very bad. It is a life-


changing situation, a life-changing accident. The BBC drama which tells


the story of the staff and patients of a fictional practice in the


fictional town of Leatherbridge, has never been afraid to tackle


dramatic and sometimes controversial storylines. With 220


episodes each year it isn't often able to film on such a major scale


but it is embarking on one of his biggest story lines ever and this


is one of the most expensive episodes they have every shot.


have got five camera operators, to sound recordist, camera assistants,


a crane in play, specialist crew who have come to fit up the stud


vehicle, still scored later, ambulance, fire engine, a lot of


people. Centred around leading character


Julia Parsons the lead up to today's stunt begins with an


argument then disaster. The driver who happens to be a new love


interest that is coming into her life, about time too. I know you


all agree. She needs a man in her life and terriers, he nearly kills


her, or we do know whether he does, he might? Some cot comes out of the


side road and there is a terrible No, that would be telling. All will


Quite a way to park. The steaming angry at the foot ball and worried


about Julia. And the Doctors episode which Lindsay saw being


filmed will be shown on the 14th May.


You did appear in doctors didn't you. One episode.


Let's talk sensibly and look at the We have done quite well with the


temperatures over the last couple of weeks but everything comes to a


head tomorrow. Hopefully you will feel the difference as we sit in


this one sector. On Friday this called for a start to move through,


cold air filtering in behind it. High pressure takes over by the


weekend and back to square one. Back to the cold and also back to


eat night frost. It will be quite cold. One drawback is that we have


all cloud today and we hang on to it tonight. The rain will gradually


die away. With that cloud it is quite mild. Temperatures exactly


the same as during the day. Very mild. Tomorrow we haven't got a


long way to go to achieve this temperatures, quite cloudy to start


with. The breeze will start to pick up tomorrow. That will help to


break up the cloud, producing brighter, sunny spells. Generally,


across the board, looking at 14 or 15. Not a bad day. Fairly cloudy.


Some sunny spells. Tomorrow night, almost identical to tonight. The


temperatures only a degree also lower. A lot of cloud. It will be


dry. Friday, we have a front heading down from the north so we


could see some rain perhaps but it is a generally dry picture, quite


cloudy, still in the warm sectors are still quite mild. During the


weekend, high pressure takes over. The colder air sinks in a rickety


temperatures back to normal with A look at tonight's main headlines:


A Sunday Times journalist is among dozens of civilians killed in the


Syrian city of Homs. Marie Colvin was covering a two week assault by


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