17/04/2012 Midlands Today


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Hello, welcome to Midlands Today, with Nick Owen and Mary Rhodes. The


headlines tonight: Record financial results from


Staffordshire digger-maker JCB, as overseas demand continues to grow.


I guess if anybody can learn anything from this, think globally,


not locally, and value your customers.


Thousands of jobs in the offing, as more Black Country sites are


earmarked for industrial development. The history of the


Black Country, the quality of engineering, the skills that are


available in the workforce make this area perfectly suited.


How the drought means business is drying up on the waterways.


And breaking new ground as street dance meets ballet, to welcome the


Olympic torch. We feel really privileged and honoured that we've


been asked to do this and we just can't wait. We're just going to


Good evening and welcome to Tuesday Midlands Today from the BBC.


Tonight, record-breaking results announced for one of the region's


biggest employers. Staffordshire- based JCB say the reason for their


success is globalisation and investment in the world's emerging


The company's turnover topped �2.75 billion last year. That's an


increase of over a third on 2010. That means the company has earned


�355 million in the past 12 months, JCB sold more than 69,000 different


machines last year, an increase of more than 18,000 on the previous


year. This has helped the firm record the highest turnover in the


firm's 66-year history. Every business wants to do better and


better but a record year, we are very pleased. Please do JCB and all


of the employees. Our customers. Great news. Worldwide the company


now has 22 factories on four continents employing more than


10,000 people. A new factory about to open in Brazil reflects JCB's


commitment to the traditional markets and the important emerging


economies. First and foremost, we value our customers. We give great


product and customer service and if a customer has got a problem, they


talk to us. So if anybody can learn anything, think globally, not


locally, and valued your customers. Pedro Bianchi, from Brazil,


represents the new type of JCB customer. His building firm already


has a fleet of construction equipment worth $500 million


operating across the world but he's new to the JCB brand and keen to


see what they can offer. We are testing the equipment, as I said.


They are performing very well and our intention is to buy new


equipment from JCB. These record profits have not come without some


sacrifice. The workforce did agree to a temporary pay freeze. Now that


has been lifted and bonuses have been reinstated. Production is at a


record high. More than 60 new products go on the market at a


trade show in Paris today, including the latest 20-metre


telescopic handler, perhaps re- inforcing JCB's commitment to


continue reaching for bigger and better products and profits.


Joining us now is Dr Stephen Gruneberg, an industrial economist.


Thanks for joining us. Is it right to look at the construction


industry as a marker for the rest of the economy? Well, sometimes it


is. But sometimes it lags behind the rest of the economy. In this


case, we see the construction industry actually leading the rest


of the economy in that there is investment taking place in plant


and machinery, like the machinery JCB produces, and that shows


confidence in the future. JCB's figures are impressive. What are


they doing right? They happen to be producing investment goods, and you


need does before you can actually produce the goods that the


investment goods producer. What are those? These are goods like


buildings and plant and machinery, so you have to invest in those


before you can produce the goods people want. Unido factory to


produce cars before you can produce the cars. -- you need a factory.


What can other companies learn from them? JCB have some good practices.


They have a financial branch and they can therefore help to finance


customers who want to purchase their goods. That is a very clever


way of going about it, especially when banks are reluctant to lend.


So do you think this indicates that the economy has turned a corner?


think it shows there is confidence in some sectors of the economy


because life goes on. And as long as you have a Great Britain, you


will have a construction industry because you need buildings. Thank


you very much. Still to come in tonight's


programme, no new mosque in Dudley, as the Muslim Association is told


to sell the land back to the council.


And joined me live in Coventry as the Sky Blues battle for survival


in the championship. Thousands of new jobs are expected


to be created in the Black Country. It comes as the government-backed


enterprise zone in Darlaston becomes one of the first in the


country to be up and running. The sites which are earmarked for


development cover several derelict plots of land. Companies who move


there will benefit from a variety of tax breaks and other incentives.


Here's our business correspondent, Peter Plisner.


The i54 Business Park just outside Wolverhampton. This site clearance


work going on today will pave the way for Jaguar Land Rover's new


multi-million pound engine plant. Like other companies who move here,


JLR won't pay any business rates for five years and will benefit


from relaxed planning laws as part of government plans for a network


new enterprise zones. Although this was a site that made headlines when


enterprise zones were first announced, since then, much


lobbying has gone on to include other parts of that country,


including this derelict land close to the M6 in Walsall. 15 sites


across Darleston have been designated part of an extended


enterprise zone and business leaders are hoping they'll attract


companies who will make and supply parts into the JLR's engine plant.


The importance is that with only a seven-minute motorway journey


between the two sides, anybody coming here in this area can be on


the -- on the i54 Business Park site within a few minutes.


Estimates suggest that more than 6,000 jobs could be created at both


i54 and in Daleston within the next three years. And some development


has already started. This is another delelict site in Darleston


which is also part of the new zone. Developers are expecting many more


enquiries. Yes, there is generally a lot more appetite because of the


business rate holiday and a relaxed planning laws. Time will see but it


should be a big incentive and it is a positive move by the Government


in the current economic climate. The Darleston enterprise zone opens


for business after a decision last night by Walsall Council. It's


thought to be the first in country to approve plans which allow for


the crucial relaxation of planning regulations.


Detectives investigating the murder of a woman in Worcester have been


granted a further 36 hours to question a 51-year-old man they've


had in custody since Sunday. Jacqueline Harrison was 47 and the


mother of four grown up children. She was found at her flat in the


Dines Green area of the city on Thursday evening.


A teenager's been treated in hospital after robbers broke into


her home in Dudley, attacking her and her younger brother. Three men


forced their way into the house, on Selborne Road, in the early hours


of Saturday morning. They woke the 19-year-old victim by forcing her


from her bed, snatching a gold chain from around her neck, and


dragging her around the house. She and her younger brother were


repeatedly punched and the thieves got away with jewellery worth


around �15,000. The level of violence offered by the offenders


was completely and utterly disproportionate, and consequently,


it has had a massive impact on -- upon the person subjected to it.


Controversial plans for a new mosque on a derelict site in the


heart of Dudley look to have come to a halt. The High Court's


rejected claims that the council's acted unfairly over the project.


It's ordered the Muslims who own the land to sell it, Giles Latcham


reports. Is this the most contentious patch


of land in the West Midlands? It was bought seven years ago by


Muslims in Dudley as a site for a new mosque and community centre but


not a brick has been laid, and following a High Court hearing


today, it looks as if it never will. We are bitterly disappointed that


the judge has not found in our favour. It's a case which is very


high profile and has a lot of public interest. It has been going


on for a decade now. And for the town it's become a running sore.


Far right protestors have staged a series of demonstrations against


the mosque and it's now hugely divisive, as we found out when


filming. There you are. People walking along the other side of the


road had started shouting across at us, clearly angry at us filming or


about the prospective use of this land for a mosque. The sorry saga


has seen the council refuse planning permission, that refusal


being overturned, Muslims scaling down their proposals and at one


point withdrawing them altogether. They have got a mosque down in


CastleHill. I think they should stick with that one. They should do


something to help everyone instead of one ethnic minority in the


community. I really think they should think what is right for the


community on this site, because if you start on another comedy will be


back to square one. Today the court ruled that the council hadn't


Or does it? The Muslim Association are supposed to sell the land back


to the council within a month but say they are likely to appeal.


A Worcester City footballer is due to appear in court next month for


making alleged racist comments on Twitter. Midfielder Lee Smith has


been charged with writing racially aggravated words likely to cause


harassment, alarm or distress to the public. It relates to tweets


made on his now deleted social media account last November.


Police have released the image of a man who's suspected of forcibly


removing a Muslim woman's face covering and throwing it on the


floor. They believe the man caught on CCTV was the person who


approached the 26-year-old from behind in the Touchwood shopping


centre in Solihull on 3rd March. Police say they're treating the


incident as a hate crime. Thieves have stolen a silver plaque


from the entrance of the Birmingham Assay office. Staff arriving for


work said they were devastated when they saw the empty space. The


plaque has 18-carat gold lettering. The drought is bringing problems to


some of the region's leisure businesses which depend on water to


make their living. One marina is suffering because of falling water


levels and a build-up of silt on the River Avon. Problems, too, for


a narrowboat hire company elsewhere, as Joanne Writtle reports.


At Bredon Marina near Tewkesbury the lack of rain is playing havoc


for owners Meg Hanlon and her husband Steve. Ten of the 80


mooring spaces are out of use, meaning a loss of �7,000 in revenue.


Ironic, then, that five years ago there was too much water. In fact,


part of the problem dates back to the floods of 2007. A lot of silt


got washed into the river and that has raised the river bed and then


obviously over the last 12 months, we have had very little rain and


that means the water level has dropped, so we have very little


water and some of the birds are starting to sit on the bottom. --


the boats. They're trying to alleviate the problem themselves.


And they're also about to fork out thousands of pounds for dredging


work. We have got some dredgers booked to come in to scoop some of


the mud off the bottom and get rid of it so it makes it deeper again.


40 miles away in Warwick, there's plenty of water for people to enjoy


narrow boat holidays. But this hire company is being bombarded with


calls from people who've reserved boats and are worried, and bookings


are down. There's plenty of water out there. There is some beautiful


cruising from here with no restrictions, so, no, we don't


think we have got an issue. British Waterways say some locks are being


closed overnight in the South East to save water, like here in


Northamptonshire. But there are no plans to introduce that in the West


Midlands. A spokesman for British Waterways said reservoirs had been


refilled in the West Midlands, and as a result, the region's canals


were open for boaters to enjoy as normal. This holidaymaker said


everything was fine. No problems with the water! Back on the River


Avon, in Bredon, dredging work is due to start in the next week or


two. But despite that, it's still business as usual here, even if low


water levels mean they currently have fewer mooring spaces to rent


Our reporter has been speaking to groups who manage the region's


waterways to date. What did they make of the situation on the River


Avon? A bleak picture for the owners of Bredon Marina which is on


the River Avon. I have spoken to the Avon Navigation Trust, the


group that once -- runs the River Avon. They monitor water levels and


they say the levels are normal. They say there is no negative


effect on leisure there. Why is the Bredon Marina suffering? They say


it is because it sits in a backwater and that is wet silk


gathers and dredging is an imminent solution -- silt gathers there.


will British Waterways ensure there are no restrictions imposed on the


canal network? As you heard in the report, British Waterways have


refilled reservoirs so boaters can continue to use the canal as normal.


They are introducing a range of methods to make sure that we


conserve water. One of those is introducing a volunteer lock


keepers. They will be on various blocks around the region advising


people on how to use them. The aim is, a friendly face on the


waterways. British Waterways say they are not being complacent and


are that they will continue to modern pop -- monitor our


reservoirs over the summer. Still to come: is there such a


thing as the wrong type of rain? There could be. The problem with


downpours is the likelihood of flooding on parched ground. Could


we be at risk? If you live in Herefordshire and


want to help keep its beautiful countryside up to scratch, your


county needs you. Rehearsals have begun for a major


open-air concert to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic torch in the


West Midlands. For one Street Dance Group, the


event will mean a dream come true when they perform alongside the


Birmingham Royal Ballet -- ballet. From the classically-trained... To


the self-taught. Antics, flight lads from Birmingham will be


joining forces with the Birmingham Royal Ballet at Torch Relay Concert


in June. Hard to believe they only formed a year ago. We bring a lot


of hard hitting choreography routines and we want to show people


what we can do and make ourselves generic and show the world what we


can do. Ballet it is notoriously disciplined. It is a life of


dedication, endurance and a principle will tell you that they


never dance without pain. Street dance, well, it is notoriously


disciplined, a life of dedication... Get the picture? We go through a


lot of pain of in rehearsals and our training. We push for it


because it is worth it and we really want to give the best


performance we can give. If you are bruised and battered, fight for it.


The torch relay concern will bring a fusion of different dance forms.


The Birmingham Royal Ballet's new production has been inspired by the


Olympic motto, faster, Higher, stronger. A motto which could


equally apply to Antics. The lads have never seen a ballet class


before. Today a leading principle gave him their knowledge. We are


learning from each other. We are borrowing and trying to emulate


each other. I think maybe the attire differs sometimes and the


venue but actually I am not even sure that the audiences defer any


more. To lift his leg up so far and turn around, that was exceptional.


Thrilling. Birmingham's finest and best up and coming.


The Gloucester rugby head coach Bryan Redpath has announced he is


resigning. He will leave Kingsholm with immediate effect. He has been


linked with a move to Sale Sharks and has been at Gloucester since


2009. It is the time of year when


football fans can either start to breathe a sigh of relief or suffer


from nerves and sweaty palms as their team battles to avoid


relegation. Coventry City desperately need to beat Millwall


tonight to have any chance of playing in the championship again


next season. Tonight could be the night that the


Sky Blues take a giant step towards survival or it could be denied they


are relegated. Looking at the league table, Coventry are in the


relegation zone in the bottom three and they are four points behind


Bristol City. Coventry are here at the Ricoh Arena against the world.


If they lose and Bristol City when, it is a seven-point gap with two


games to play and the Sky Blues are relegated. It could be a dreadful


night for them. One thing we do know according to the manager Andy


Thorn is that the fans and the players will be giving it their all.


The atmosphere will be as it has been all season... The supporters


have been fantastic, right behind the team and giving loads of energy.


The boys are desperate to repay them. If they want to give them


everything, they are working their socks off. Let us get a fans' i


perspective. This season ticket holder and contributed to the


website. How nervous I you? I am now. I was resigned after the


Bristol defeat. But now I am here at the ground, nerves are starting


to kick in. It is a pivotal night. If we win, we could be just a point


behind. If we lose, we could be heading for League One. It is quite


nerve-racking. First things first, if the sky is blue is get a


positive result? They have got a lot of injury problems. All we can


do from the stands is do our bit and that the lads and give all we


can. Hopefully the team will give 100%. Let us hope they can pull off


a victory. Where has it gone wrong this season? That is the question!


Lack of investment. There have been a lot of kids who have had to play


a bit early. The size of the squad has been crucial. A small squad all


season and the injuries are starting to kick in at the working


end of the season. I think now we have got players playing with


injuries... Let us hope they can play out of their skins tonight. It


is one of those nights when you want to be glued to the radio. That


is as well as watching the match on the television. Fingers crossed.


you can hear a full match Coventry of Coventry's match against


Millwall on BBC WM. BBC Shropshire and BBC Radio Stoke


will have all match commentary of the League Two game between


Shrewsbury Town and Port Vale. Another absolutely vital one.


Memorabilia from one of the greatest historical figures of the


20th century has been sold for more than �100,000 at an auction House


in Ludlow. Gandhi it inspired millions and a everything he owned


or touched is highly prized by his followers. A few grains of the soil


upon which he fell when he was assassinated were sold along with a


pair of his classes that he bought in Gloucester and a mobile spinning


wheel. Did we hear the figure for the glasses?


�34,000 for the glasses. How you authenticate the soil, goodness


knows. Hundreds of volunteers have been


called on to help but after the countryside in one of our most


sparsely populated counties. Teams of volunteers in Herefordshire are


helping out at a time when budgets are increasingly stretched.


These people are part of what is hoped will become an army of


volunteer wardens helping to maintain Herefordshire's rich rural


idyll. Today they were clearing an overgrown footpath in the village


of Weobley near Leominster. The plan is to get enough residents to


create a countrywide movement available on request to preserve


the countryside. It is fun and you are helping somebody else. If I can


help, I will. There is a lot of satisfaction because when you see a


job finished and people are walking by and saying, look what we have


got now! We will go along and have a clear-out. The plan is to model


the Hereford to project on the Cotswolds Voluntary Wardens, formed


in 1968 to help clear foot paths, dig out ponds and repair dry-stone


walls. I was a warden. It was a great thing to do. We used to save


around 40,000 man hours of work in the Cotswolds that paid people


would have had to don't -- had to do or would not have been done. It


seemed a shame that there was not something here, a countrywide


organisation. One thing Hereford to has a lot of his orchards. With


budgets under pressure, it is hoped the volunteers can help maintain


them. The volunteers do not want to take work of -- of existing


conservation groups but Herefordshire Council says some


orchards are neglected and help would be much appreciated,


especially as their budget is less than �100,000 for the whole county.


The traditional orchards are not really economic because of the time


taken on the big trees to do the pruning and general maintenance.


They are the ones that tend to be neglected but they are vital for


the landscape and wildlife. If there is a group that is able to


help out, to take some of the work, but would be really good. Cynics


might claim it is conversation -- conservation on the cheap but the


volunteers say it is not just the countryside that gets a lot out of


it, they do to us. Anyone who wants to join them can find out more at a


meeting at the Kindle Centre in Hereford tomorrow evening.


Lovely to see beautiful Weobley near Leominster.


Now the weather. I got drenched this morning. I had to take all of


Too much detail. Rain tonight. That will be coupled with a strong winds.


We are caught in the clutches of an area of low pressure. The isobars


are still very tight. Gusts of up to 50 miles an hour tonight. By


tomorrow, we are in the centre of the low-pressure so the winds will


be light, adding to our problems because there will be slow more in


-- slow-moving showers. Tonight, the rain will arrive by midnight.


That will move up from the south- west. The cloud will thicken. It


will not reach the North of the region so that will be the driest


area tonight. A yellow warning for the south of heavy out pours --


downpours are leading to surface water. There could be some hail and


thunder in the rain as well. We have had reports of hailed today


which looked like snow. It could quite easily create a slippery


surfaces tomorrow morning. The rain will turn northwards turning heavy.


It will be followed by an army of showers. Some of those could be


quite heavy and containing hail and thunder again. Cooler tomorrow.


Fairly wet tomorrow night as well. Showers will clear followed by


another band of rain. Later in the week, although temperatures are


below par, the winds will be lighter. More showers to come.


The main headlines: Abu Qatada it could be heading back to jail as


the government prepares to deport him.


Staffordshire did the maker JCB announces record financial results


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