09/08/2013 Midlands Today


09/08/2013

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

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headlines tonight: The Public, an arts and media centre in West

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Bromwich that was controversial, costly and now closing. We will be

:00:16.:00:22.

really upset. Where do we go? comes as the importance of tourism

:00:22.:00:31.

to the economy is increasing and numbers of tourists Sara. -- are up.

:00:31.:00:34.

Tourists brought in �6 billion to Birmingham and the Black Country

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last year and this year could be better. It's essential, not just to

:00:38.:00:41.

Dudley and the Black Country but to the West Midlands as a whole.

:00:41.:00:44.

staff spread too thinly- why one accident and emergency department in

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Shropshire may shut. Wizards of the web - the youngsters cracking the

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code for business success in the future. The weather is eerily quiet.

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We have ditched the heat and thunderstorms. What is in the

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crystal balls for the weekend? Join of the line for a project that's

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cost tens of millions of pounds of public money, The Public arts centre

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in West Bromwich. Last night on Midlands Today we brought you news

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of an uncertain future, we now know it's to close. From day one it's

:01:25.:01:28.

been dogged by controversy, opening two years late in 2008 just as the

:01:28.:01:32.

recession hit. The Public was supposed to put West Bromwich on the

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cultural map but critics branded it a �70 million white elephant.

:01:37.:01:41.

Recently, though, visitor numbers have risen - 380,000 last year.

:01:41.:01:45.

Today, Sandwell Council revealed it can no longer afford �1.6 million a

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year in running costs. Here's Giles Latcham with reaction to today's

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announcement. Overly expensive and underused - the

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story of The Public is all too familiar. And now the council wants

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it shut by the end of November. Ironic, says the woman in charge,

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given visitor numbers are up. think it is a shame for all of the

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people that care and love this building, and all of those people

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that spoke out, signed petitions and did other things to save it, that

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there voice has not been heard. Opened five years ago, The Public

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came to be known as the pink elephant. A report branded it not

:02:26.:02:30.

fit for purpose. Ambitious interactive displays were plagued by

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technical problems and the council had to rescue it from administration

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as costs soared. No one from the council was available for interview.

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In a statement, they said that the decision to close the building has

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not been easy, but they cannot continue subsidising it to the tune

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of nearly �1.5 million each year. That money is council taxpayer's

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money. They say that in the face of cuts from central government, that

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cannot carry on. But supporters say it is more than an art gallery and

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the completion of a new shopping centre next door gave it a new lease

:03:09.:03:15.

of life. Ever since the square has opened, there have been bands out

:03:15.:03:20.

here. I've seen quite a lot of people. I don't think it should be

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shut down, it's a nice building and it gives a creative touch. On the

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top floor, small businesses rent space. This IT firm say the landmark

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building is a hit with their clients in the Middle East. They now plan to

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leave the borough. We purely came here because of the building. I

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think it suited our business. We decided to come here. But, apart

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from that, I don't think there is very much going on in Sandwell.

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on the ground floor the weekly knitting circle are at a loss.

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come here every Friday and meet up. We have become really close friends.

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We will be really upset, Sandwell College could yet open a sixth form

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on the site, but that's far from Sandwell Council, but no one was

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The TaxPayers' Alliance. What is your reaction to the news of this

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closure? It has been a sorry tale from beginning to end. People said

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it was iconic. As far as I can tell, it is an icon to bad budgeting and

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bad planning. A building that was supposed to cost �38 million and

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ended up costing �72 million. It is sitting there now as a white

:04:40.:04:50.
:04:50.:04:51.

elephant, seeping away �1.5 million per year of taxpayer money. Is

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�35,000 a week. Absolutely unsustainable. What would represent

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value for money for taxpayers? council has to put into the public

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domain what the options are, and ensure value for money is delivered.

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Whether that is handing over to Sandwell College or looking at an

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alternative solution to recoup as much money as possible. It is a huge

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amount of taxpayer money that has gone on this project. At a time when

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the council is having to make savings, the last thing it can

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afford is to lose money at this kind of rate. But they need to get a move

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on, because a mothballed building costs money? Of course, and they

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must get on and make a decision, and make sure it is made in the open and

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transparently, so people can see the options they are weighing up. They

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also need to make sure they make the right decision. When the decision

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was made to build this thing in the first place, it was very much the

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wrong decision. Don't the people of West Bromwich deserves some kind of

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arts facility? It had a slow start, but we had 380,000 visitors last

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year. Where do they go now? I think it was far too ambitious in the

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beginning. That is clear now. Even if visiting numbers have slightly

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risen, you cannot justify that �30,000 per week subsidy for that

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building. People will come up with their own solutions. I am sure that

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the community will come together and look at ways, alternative venues,

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where they can host events and meat. Perhaps in the longer term, they

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could look to a slightly less ambitious way of ringing people

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together for artistic reasons. The news of that closure comes just

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as tourism in the region is on the up. Our hottest summer in years has

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brought an increase in visitors, but could more be done to bring in those

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ringed tailed lemurs are up nice and early for the expected summer

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holiday visitors. While over at the meerkat enclosure, the tourist train

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has just arrived. The zoo's been here for over 70 years, but new

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generations keep arriving in their droves. In fact, visitor numbers in

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the Black Country are up by 2%. wanted to see their favourite

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animals. The animals and the train, he loves the train. Overall

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attendance has been up, we have been doing well. This year, we are up

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17%. In fact, 25 million visitors came last year. Tourism might be big

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business, but it could be bigger. Tourism has become more and more

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important to the Black Country, not least since the decline in

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manufacturing in the 1980s and '90s. And it's reached the point now where

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the visitor economy is seen as essential to the future of this

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area. Birmingham and the Black Country's working on cross

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promotion, but there are fears the region will be left behind. It is

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absolutely essential that the government gives more money to this

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part of the world to develop tourism. It's not just a question of

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developing tourism. The future of the West Midlands is at stake. We

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had to pull our finger out, get together and make sure we punch

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above our weight. The last ten years, we have been falling behind.

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Blists Hill in Telford is one of the biggest attractions in the region -

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tourism here is a big employer. They say it's important the region as a

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whole works together. Tourism has always been one of these sleeping

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giants. Recent years, with things like foot and mouth, it has helped

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people focus on the value of tourism in the local and national economy.

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It is slowly getting up there. In Shropshire, tourism is the third

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most important employer. sunshine's brought people out, but

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it's continued investment will bring the midlands out of the shadows.

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Coming up later in the programme: Coventry City's first home match of

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the season this weekend, 35 miles away in Northampton. How many fans

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will go? Another accident and emergency unit

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is under threat tonight. Health chiefs across Shropshire say it's

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unrealistic to have two in the county. They want to open up a

:08:57.:09:01.

debate about the future of health care. It could lead to the closure

:09:01.:09:04.

of an A&E department, but building a new hospital hasn't been ruled out.

:09:04.:09:13.

Here's our health correspondent, off a plan to downgrade its accident

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and emergency department. Save children's services! In 2011,

:09:19.:09:21.

Shrewsbury fought and lost children's and maternity services in

:09:21.:09:25.

favour of Telford 2013. And health chiefs have begun yet another debate

:09:26.:09:29.

about the future of health care in Shropshire and haven't ruled out a

:09:29.:09:36.

single hospital. We need to design a model that is fit for the future,

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really. We haven't come up with any decisions as regards what that model

:09:41.:09:46.

looks like, whether it is two or one hospital. We have been clear on the

:09:46.:09:49.

consultation process. It needs to be clinically led. If an accident and

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emergency were to be lost, Telford is the most likely because it is

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less remote. They have been trying to find a solution for over a

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decade, and it is not going to be easy because Shropshire is such a

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large county. Both A&E departments are rammed to the gunwales. There

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are 110,000 patients passing through each year and both are struggling

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with capacity. But a �70 million new children's and maternity unit is

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being built in Telford. Can that be safe without emergency cover?

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we want to do is actually look at the way we provide services for

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urgent care in a different fashion. Perhaps we need to stop thinking

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about traditional A&Es. There are a whole group of people that could

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come into the inpatient assessment areas and not go anywhere near A&E,

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and that is the best care for them. The people of Shropshire just seem

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frustrated by the need to fight. can just get on to politicians to

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see if it helps, but will it help? We are near to Telford, so I would

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be pretty upset. The reality is there isn't enough money or doctors

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- but making services safe here will prove one of the hardest challenges

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in our region. The body of Daniel Pelka, the

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four-year-old who was abused and then murdered by his mother and her

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partner in Coventry, has been released to his family. It follows

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the end of the court case last week. Daniel's father Eryck has now been

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given custody of his body and is said to be planning a funeral in

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Poland. Six men have been convicted of a

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range of violent offences committed during a birthday party that ended

:11:27.:11:31.

with the death of a 16-year-old boy. Ben Morutare died in July last year

:11:31.:11:36.

after he was stabbed in the leg. He'd been at a party at the Old

:11:36.:11:38.

Comrades Club in Smethwick. An 18-year-old admitted his

:11:38.:11:41.

manslaughter, a 19-year-old pleaded guilty to violent disorder, while

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four other men were convicted on the same charge earlier this week.

:11:48.:11:51.

The veteran Birmingham heavy metal band Black Sabbath are to be named

:11:51.:11:54.

as living legends at a music ceremony hosted by a rock magazine

:11:54.:11:58.

later this year. Frontman Ozzy Osbourne is expected to attend the

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event in London with fellow band members Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi

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in November. The group has recently enjoyed being top of the charts with

:12:07.:12:12.

the album 13. They're also in the running to be named Band of the

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Year. Coventry City Football Club are

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facing millions of pounds in lost ticket sales while they play home

:12:19.:12:24.

matches in Northampton for the next three seasons. The first one is on

:12:24.:12:27.

Sunday. Attendances are likely to fall from close to 11,000 per game

:12:27.:12:33.

to as low as 2,000. The club claim leaving the Ricoh Arena and building

:12:33.:12:36.

their own stadium is vital to their long-term financial future. But

:12:37.:12:41.

large numbers of fans are refusing to go with them. Nick Clitheroe has

:12:41.:12:45.

spent the day with one of those supporters. Buying tickets to watch

:12:45.:12:48.

Coventry City this weekend, but Michael Orton won't be travelling to

:12:48.:12:52.

Northampton to see the first team. Instead he'll be at the Ricoh to

:12:52.:12:57.

watch a team of club legends play a charity match. Michael is one of

:12:57.:13:01.

thousands of fans of the Sky Blues planning to boycott their home games

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this season. So this morning I took Michael on the 70 mile round trip to

:13:06.:13:09.

Northampton to dig further into why feelings are so strong among the

:13:09.:13:13.

fans about a plan which would see Coventry City play in Northampton

:13:13.:13:16.

for at least three years, while the club build a new ground near

:13:16.:13:19.

Coventry. Football clubs should be kept in their community, with all of

:13:19.:13:23.

the traditions. This is what it feels like, going somewhere very

:13:23.:13:29.

different. This is not Coventry, this is not our home. Michael wasn't

:13:29.:13:32.

comfortable going into the ground, so we moved to the heights

:13:32.:13:36.

overlooking Sixfields dubbed Jimmy's Hill by the fans. There is no future

:13:36.:13:39.

for a Coventry City team in Northampton. It is as simple as

:13:39.:13:43.

that. The very future of our club is in danger. If we want to keep

:13:43.:13:47.

Coventry City, our club and our team, we need to get it back into

:13:47.:13:55.

commentary. At a fans Forum, Tim Fisher revealed his best and worst

:13:55.:14:01.

case scenarios for the move. team does really well, and people

:14:01.:14:04.

like to watch winning football. We look at comparable is, other teams

:14:04.:14:14.
:14:14.:14:15.

have done it, you could get between 6000 and 7000 following. If the team

:14:15.:14:25.
:14:25.:14:26.

doesn't do so well, we could get that number as low as three. From

:14:26.:14:32.

the numbers we have seen, 2000 could be optimistic. When they run out, it

:14:32.:14:39.

will start a new chapter in the club's history, but maybe not one

:14:39.:14:42.

that many will want to remember. You've been getting in touch about

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what Coventry City fans should do. Lee Clark wrote on Facebook that he

:14:46.:14:49.

wouldn't be renewing his season ticket as he feels cheated by the

:14:49.:14:52.

club. Rob Knowles said that, while he respected the decision of those

:14:52.:14:56.

fans who'd be travelling to see the match, he wouldn't be. And he's

:14:56.:14:59.

hating the divide the changes have caused. Mo Farooq got in touch via

:15:00.:15:03.

Twitter to say it was worthless to travel to another county for a home

:15:03.:15:07.

game. Kelly Brown emailed to say she too won 't be going to Northampton -

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she'll only take her family if they Our top story tonight: The Public -

:15:15.:15:18.

an arts centre in West Bromwich that was controversial, costly and now -

:15:18.:15:23.

closing. Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly. Also in

:15:23.:15:26.

tonight's programme, recycling Godiva. Coventry's celebration of

:15:26.:15:31.

the Olympic spirit heads home after a revamp. And from Premier League to

:15:31.:15:37.

non-league. Why this ex-Spurs star is turning out for nothing for a

:15:37.:15:47.
:15:47.:15:47.

Hundreds of young people from all over the country are spending the

:15:47.:15:51.

weekend in Birmingham for a massive "code camp" - a chance to come

:15:51.:15:55.

together and create websites and phone apps, fuelled by pizza. The

:15:56.:16:00.

idea is to inspire a generation of young computer programmers and our

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Science Correspondent David Gregory-Kumar is with them now. So,

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David, tell us more. This spring out of an idea in 2009, when volunteers

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thought they would hold a camp. They threw open the Google headquarters.

:16:18.:16:22.

They had space for 50 young people and only three were interested in

:16:22.:16:26.

turning up. Clearly, something had gone wrong. Given that programming

:16:26.:16:32.

is so important to the economy, it looked like the UK was in trouble.

:16:32.:16:35.

Fast forward to today and things look much healthier. All week,

:16:35.:16:38.

hundreds of kids have been working away at projects in centres across

:16:38.:16:42.

the country. This one is at BBC Birmingham. It is a great

:16:42.:16:45.

opportunity for teenagers to come out, work together, learn some code

:16:45.:16:50.

and, at the end of it, have a project they can be proud of having

:16:50.:16:55.

developed. It is not just teaching is about code, it's a lot about the

:16:55.:16:58.

actual environment we will be going into if we go into development as a

:16:58.:17:01.

career. The young developers are encouraged to work with data that's

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available for free on the internet and come up with interesting ideas

:17:05.:17:08.

for it. So, for example, one group has been playing around with online

:17:08.:17:11.

maps and police crime data to produce a very different kind of

:17:11.:17:21.
:17:21.:17:22.

satnav. It is a snippet of Google maps, which shows on the website. It

:17:22.:17:29.

shows where the high crime rate places are. So you can choose the

:17:29.:17:33.

safest route and also get directions to it. And these programmers of the

:17:33.:17:36.

future have already acquired the trendy internet hatred of vowels in

:17:36.:17:46.
:17:46.:17:52.

is a bit noisy with hundreds of children in there. With me is Emma

:17:52.:17:55.

Mulqueeny from Young Rewired State. There is a big history of people

:17:55.:17:59.

programming in their bedrooms and setting up big video game companies

:17:59.:18:04.

for example. When did we fall out of that? It just became too easy, the

:18:04.:18:08.

smart phones became too exciting and easy. It became much more simple for

:18:08.:18:13.

these kids to interact with a game as a consumer, rather than creating

:18:13.:18:15.

their own entertainment. It was forcing themselves to create their

:18:15.:18:19.

own entertainment all of those years ago that made them invent those

:18:19.:18:24.

wonderful games. Going back a bit, I remember programming with my mates,

:18:24.:18:29.

but we were spotty young boys. Is that starting to change as well?

:18:29.:18:33.

certainly is, there are a lot more girls interested. The whole thing is

:18:33.:18:39.

becoming more mainstream. The spotty nerds thing is really stopping. You

:18:39.:18:42.

can see from the children that we have a lot of different types of

:18:42.:18:45.

children. Girls, definitely, are starting younger. They are learning

:18:46.:18:50.

to code when they are seven or eight years old, with their parents, or

:18:50.:18:55.

they are getting the idea from their friends at school. Getting them in

:18:55.:19:00.

earlier is baking a big difference. Thank you very much. As well as free

:19:00.:19:07.

pizza, there is also a free ice cream van. It is geek heaven here.

:19:07.:19:13.

If I do and have to work, I would be here as well. The details will be on

:19:13.:19:17.

the Facebook page. -- if I didn't have to work.

:19:17.:19:21.

One of those coders, Lily, was just ten. Amazing.

:19:21.:19:23.

Last minute preparations are underway for Coventry's Olympic Lady

:19:23.:19:27.

Godiva to make a triumphant return to her home city tomorrow. The 18

:19:27.:19:30.

foot puppet was pedalled to the capital by a team of cyclists last

:19:30.:19:34.

year to represent the region as part of the cultural celebrations for

:19:34.:19:37.

London 2012. Joanne Writtle caught up with them at a secret base

:19:37.:19:42.

outside Coventry. A spectacular Lady Godiva puppet

:19:42.:19:45.

wowed crowds from Coventry to London in 2012, in a dress designed by

:19:45.:19:51.

Zandra Rhodes, and a coat by local artists. Today, though, at an

:19:51.:19:53.

undisclosed location outside Coventry, efforts were being made to

:19:53.:19:58.

cover her. Lady Godiva was looking as she did when she famously rode on

:19:58.:20:08.
:20:08.:20:09.

horseback through Coventry in protest against high taxes. Naked.

:20:09.:20:13.

We are just putting Godiva's dress on, to give her some modesty well we

:20:13.:20:16.

take her out. Last year the weather battered her. So in preparation for

:20:17.:20:26.

her return to Coventry, she's had a make over: She had a hair do, she

:20:26.:20:30.

had her feet painted, she has a new neck because she got whiplash. Roger

:20:31.:20:33.

Medwell led a mechanical team from 17 engineering companies in

:20:33.:20:40.

Coventry. It's always very busy, maintaining the bikes, Lady Godiva,

:20:40.:20:43.

it's a bigger job cleaning her and keeping her ready to go at all

:20:43.:20:46.

times. Some of the cyclists who pedalled her to London will take

:20:46.:20:48.

part in her theatrical homecoming celebrations tomorrow. Others are

:20:48.:20:51.

new. Jane McGaffney started cycling just three years ago, Market Drayton

:20:51.:21:01.
:21:01.:21:03.

is famous for gingerbread, sausages I learned to ride a bike and then

:21:03.:21:09.

did 400 miles for charity. How much are you looking forward to tomorrow?

:21:09.:21:14.

I can't tell you how delighted I am. More than 1500 people are expected

:21:14.:21:16.

to follow Godiva around the country ring road tomorrow. There will be an

:21:16.:21:23.

bikes, unicycles, roller-skates or simply on foot. -- they will be on

:21:23.:21:32.

bikes. Market Drayton is famous for gingerbread, sausages and as the

:21:32.:21:36.

home of Robert Clive - Clive of India. But not famous - so far,

:21:36.:21:40.

anyway, for its football. Our reporter Ben Sidwell is in the

:21:40.:21:43.

Shropshire market town for us tonight. Ben is that all about to

:21:43.:21:53.
:21:53.:21:54.

fields, the home of Market Drayton. It could be a bumper crowd for the

:21:54.:21:59.

visit of Stoke city. Many of them will be coming to see the former

:21:59.:22:03.

Tottenham, Wigan and Blackburn Rovers player Pascal Chimbonda, who

:22:04.:22:13.

is now playing for all here, for The Gingerbread Men. London, population

:22:13.:22:16.

8.4 million. Home of Premier League Tottenham Hotspur. Market Drayton,

:22:16.:22:25.

Shropshire. The relation 11,773. Home of division one South side

:22:25.:22:31.

Market Drayton Town. In footballing terms, miles apart. But there is a

:22:31.:22:36.

link. This man. Pascal Chimbonda. has been good, you know? To have 90

:22:36.:22:42.

minutes, every time I play a game, that is good. The fitness, it

:22:42.:22:47.

improves, you know? If I want to play again at a high level, I need

:22:47.:22:53.

to have a game like this and training. A French international

:22:53.:22:56.

with 143 Premier League games under his belt, nobody expected him to

:22:57.:23:00.

turn out for a club still four promotions away from league

:23:00.:23:08.

football. Does everybody won his shirt? I suppose you can't afford

:23:08.:23:12.

too many? If people want to pay for his shirt, we would be happy to give

:23:12.:23:16.

it. But I don't think the directors would be happy about me giving them

:23:16.:23:22.

away for fun. What is more, he is not being paid to play. I think I

:23:22.:23:27.

need to pay them back, because they let me train and have some fun.

:23:27.:23:33.

the dressing room, still shock at their team-mate. What he has done,

:23:33.:23:38.

the World Cup, it's fantastic, it gives the lads a big boost. It gives

:23:38.:23:42.

us a massive lift and gets the fans wanting to watch, just to see him in

:23:43.:23:47.

a Market Drayton shirt. It's huge. With an average attendance of 75

:23:47.:23:51.

last season, they will be hoping to hang onto their star player for as

:23:51.:23:57.

long as possible. Well, Pascal Chimbonda is with us now. You are

:23:58.:24:02.

still only 34, just a couple of years ago you were playing in the

:24:03.:24:06.

Premier League. Great fun, but I bet there is something more, you want to

:24:06.:24:10.

play at a high level? I want to be at a high level, because that is

:24:10.:24:17.

where I belong. I hope to go up, and I will enjoy every time I spend

:24:18.:24:23.

here, I will enjoy it. Hopefully in the future I will be in a good team

:24:23.:24:27.

and enjoying my football again. have to let you go, the manager has

:24:27.:24:32.

told me you have to get changed. Thank you for joining us. Let's

:24:32.:24:36.

speak to the vice-chairman. This is publicity money cannot buy?

:24:36.:24:41.

Absolutely, fantastic for the club and the town. It's great watching so

:24:41.:24:46.

may people here, hopefully watching a great game of football. There must

:24:46.:24:50.

be a real buzz around, to have somebody like this? I've been in the

:24:50.:24:55.

pubs and the town, people have been talking about it, enjoying a great

:24:55.:24:59.

day of football. Do you think you can keep hold of him for a while?

:24:59.:25:04.

hope so, for a few more games. have got the programme here. I have

:25:04.:25:09.

had a sneaky word with the manager. Between you and me, exclusive team

:25:09.:25:14.

news, he will start the game today. A lot of bands here are very happy

:25:14.:25:21.

to see that. -- fans. They are opening their clubhouse. There are

:25:21.:25:25.

huge celebrations at Market Drayton town. What a surprise, he is going

:25:25.:25:35.
:25:35.:25:36.

to start! eyes on the weather forecast. This

:25:36.:25:42.

one is not working to shabby. There will be some usable weather. I saw

:25:42.:25:46.

yesterday's rain clearing this morning, giving a good sprinkling

:25:46.:25:49.

for the gardens. Behind that, a ridge of high pressure settling down

:25:49.:25:53.

nicely. We will be keeping that quiet weather into tomorrow. Mostly

:25:53.:25:58.

dry through tomorrow. Quite a lot of cloud around at times, but some

:25:58.:26:01.

brighter bits in that cloud and spells of sunshine. It will feel

:26:01.:26:06.

warmer, with the wind a lot lighter. The wind has been gusty with a bit

:26:06.:26:10.

of sunshine here and there. But it is looking like a fine evening. The

:26:10.:26:14.

cloud will melt away for a time this evening. The cloud will be

:26:14.:26:18.

thickening up later in the night. Quite a lot of cloud. But despite

:26:18.:26:23.

that it will be fairly nippy. Temperatures down to 11 or 12

:26:23.:26:26.

degrees in the towns. They could nip down into single figures for rural

:26:26.:26:32.

spots. We could start the day at about eight or nine degrees. A

:26:32.:26:36.

bright start, with some sunshine around early on. The small chance of

:26:36.:26:40.

a shower clipping northern parts of Shropshire and Staffordshire. Even

:26:40.:26:45.

those will be fading away later on. A dry and brighter picture, the

:26:45.:26:51.

cloud will come and go. Temperatures are disappointing, but feeling a

:26:51.:26:55.

little bit warmer with lighter wind. Sunday, we have weather fronts

:26:55.:26:59.

creeping up on Sunday. We might be lucky and get them nipping us into

:26:59.:27:03.

the morning on Sunday. In general, I think we are looking at the greater

:27:03.:27:08.

chance of a shower on Sunday. Even those could fade away. Try and

:27:08.:27:12.

brighter bits. Feeling cooler and fresher, with highs of 90 degrees.

:27:12.:27:16.

The chance of a shower on Monday and Tuesday, but warmer and brighter

:27:17.:27:22.

Let's recap tonight's top stories: An investigation begins into the

:27:22.:27:24.

Government's controversial posters telling illegal immigrants to 'go

:27:24.:27:29.

home'. And The Public - an arts centre in West Bromwich that was

:27:29.:27:32.

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