17/12/2013 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: 22 years


after she went missing in Coventry, three people are arrested over the


disappearance of Nicola Payne. We'll be hearing what the family


have to say about this latest development after more than two


decades of torment. Also tonight: Plans for a second


runway at Birmingham Airport are put on hold for nearly 40 years as


expansion's recommended at Heathrow or Gatwick.


We would like Birmingham to grow but we don't think it is likely to be


the solution to the problem of command in London and the


south`east. As the construction industry gets


moving again, bosses warn of a "skills time bomb" ` not enough


young people are being trained. Celebrating with concerts just a few


hundred yards apart, the bands that brought us two of our best loved


Christmas songs exactly 40 years ago. It has become and injuring


thing for the public. We are part of people's Christmas. `` in during the


thing. And a photograph today of calm and


serenity at Millennium Park in King's Norton. But there's a storm


brewing and it's heading our way soon.


Good evening. Police investigating the disappearance of a young mother


22 years ago have arrested two men on suspicion of her abduction and


murder. Nicola Payne was 18 when she went missing after she set off to


walk to her parents' home in Coventry in December, 1991. Joan


Cummins is in Coventry now, close to where Nicola was last seen alive.


What more do you know about the arrests? What we know is that these


two men are both 49, were arrested early this morning at addresses in


the city. We understand that detectives are also questioning at


51`year`old woman on of perverting the course of justice. Nicola


disappeared in the area behind me 22 years ago this weekend.


Nicola Payne was a young mother with a baby and her whole life ahead of


her when to disappeared in December, 1991. Despite a massive


search, police reconstructions and numerous searches around the city


over the last 22 years, Nicola's whereabouts have remained a


mystery. Speaking just days after she first went missing, her mother


said she feared the worst. I feel she is lying dead somewhere, I


really do. Everybody says it's wrong, but I believe it. Nicola


disappeared on this path on a foggy day in 1991. Today, her father spoke


to the BBC and he said they're not their hopes up. They've been here


before. But they still remain optimistic that finally they will


find out the truth about their daughter. Today's arrests at a


number of addresses in the city has been keenly followed by people in


the community who now Nicola's family and once the mystery is


solved forever. At Christmas it is different because it is a part of


the year that everybody is getting ready and they think, how does my


mum feel? We are a community and we feel for our own. Most people are


shocked by her disappearance. People in the area she lived were shocked


to say the least. We are trying to build up the confidence of people in


that area. The police reveal that a number of items are being analysed


using cutting edge technology. We can't begin to imagine how difficult


this continues to be fun Nicola's parents. Have they said anything


about today's development? Today the family have said they don't want to


do any television interviews. Speaking to the BBC on the phone,


her father said this was obviously a difficult time for the entire


family. He said the police had been keeping them informed of every


development. But there was a word of caution. He said there have been


arrests before and nothing happened. Now they simply want to know what


happened to Nicola Payne. Coming up later in the programme:


The Premier League footballers delivering Christmas cheer on a


hospital ward as their club continues the search for a new head


coach. Plans for a second runway at


Birmingham to expand UK airport capacity are tonight on hold. New


runways at Heathrow and Gatwick are among the options that have been


short listed instead by the Airports Commission. In a moment we'll be


talking to Birmingham Airport's chief executive and a West Midlands


business leader. But first here's Ben Godfrey.


Passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport today caught a glimpse of


its runway extension, close to completion. But you won't see them


turning the soil for a second runway until at least 2050, if at all. The


Government`appointed Davies Commission wants to restrict further


growth here for now in favour of expansion at Heathrow and Gatwick


airports. We would like Birmingham to grow but we don't think it is


likely to be the solution to the problem of demand in London and the


South East. If there's any bitterness,


Birmingham Airport isn't showing it. Today they described their role as


an integral piece of the long`term aviation puzzle. What's puzzling to


some is that a second runway's needed at all. The need for a second


runway is only so it is a kind of like a motorway where you can use


the hard shoulder in a rush hour. It is there to help the airport to get


traffic for these mythical business flights. It is not going to happen.


Each year, nine million passengers pass through Birmingham Airport.


When the new runway extension's completed in April, it will create


capacity for 36 million passengers a year. The airport says a second


runway would bring 70 million passengers and support 250,000 jobs.


Last year the airport was given special permission to display the


Olympic rings on its new control tower. It symbolised a desire to


switch from regional hub to international gateway. This is a


city in growth mode. We are seeing record numbers of visitors. The key


is that had we been high up the priorities it might have accelerated


the process. Local businesses are also


frustrated. This automotive parts supplier says


further airport expansion would boost their business in long


distance destinations like Malaysia. You always feel that Birmingham is


left behind. We are the second city, and you would think there would be


more support for us in the UK economy.


In the Commons this afternoon, local MPs queued up to question the


Transport Secretary. People in the West Midlands will be staggered they


have got to wait until 2050 before any consideration will be given to


its expansion. There is more availability at Birmingham airport.


I want to see the airport able to prosper along the lines of other


airports. Last month, a new aircraft hangar


opened here, creating 150 new jobs. And tonight the leader of Birmingham


City Council is claiming the commission has failed to acknowledge


this region's potential for aviation growth.


Joining us from our studio in London this evening is Paul Kehoe, chief


executive of Birmingham Airport. Good evening. Can you put time into


lobbying for expansion and not be disappointed? I welcome the report


because many of the things in it, we suggested. This was a 100 year


option. He certainly put us in the middle of that at 2050. We


originally said that 2037 was the earliest we wanted to consider


building another runway. So we are not far within the time frame is


micro`timeframe. `` within the time frame. Businesses and MPs are


disappointed. I just putting a brave face on it? Now, because we know


that Birmingham has got the right ingredients. I have never worked at


an airport where we have got such support. I'm convinced we have got


all the ingredients to make this work. The new hangar, the new


control tower, and from next year the new extension. Halfway down the


years, we are going to get HS2 as well. We are already the best


connected airport in the country. I am still hopeful, and why? It is a


big world. It does all seem to be about London and the south`east


again. A lot of people in London can't see beyond the M25. But it is


a two horse race now. There are eggs in a couple of baskets, he threw all


Gatwick. The problems at Heathrow are so great that it is likely to be


Gatwick. That supports an opportunity in Birmingham. But 2050


is so far off. In 2003, we were talking of 2035. These are long`term


investments. We are talking of infrastructure for over 150 years.


I'm not surprised they are looking so far ahead. You don't consider


cracking on yourself with an extra runway? Now, we wanted to preserve


that option for the future. We have got four times the availability. We


can create thousands of jobs in the next few years from our own growth.


What we were hoping for was a bit of acceleration, perhaps bringing the


future forward. We haven't got that. It is business as usual at


Birmingham airport. We have got some great assets to deploy.


Well, what about the impact on the West Midlands economy? I'm joined in


the studio by Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the Greater Birmingham


Chamber of Commerce. What do you think of this report? I would echo


what Paul has said. It is a 230 page report. Read the detail, the fact


they are not committed to a single hub, these are things we have been


lobbying for. But it is very south`east and London centric. It is


muddled thinking. On the one hand, government is talking ambitiously


about rebalancing. It is putting down high`speed rail plans. It has a


30 year view of what kind of country this could be, what kind of economy


we could have. On the other hand, the airport vision is lacking. It


doesn't tie into a clear view of what the cities outside of London


could be going. We know we have got great economies, great cities.


Aviation is key to it. We do have some more work today. But this is


only an interim report. We have still got more time to convince the


elite in London that indeed investing outside of London is


critical if we are serious about rebalancing the UK away from this


huge dependency on London and the south`east. We want London and the


south`east to prosper. But we're not making the most of our great cities.


Coming back to HS2, if it were to happen, the distance between London


and Birmingham airport would be about 38 minutes. That is less than


two Gatwick. Indeed. We're winning the rational argument, I think. It


just seems again that Birmingham and the Midlands is being overlooked.


Not for the first time. It is a long game. Are very long game! Let's


remember that we have won some things that we have won something


silly and sounds of the government's determination to move


away from a single hub error `` we have won something today in terms of


the government's determination to move away from a single hub airport.


We will convince London and the south`east to follow our story.


Thank you. The Heart of England NHS Trust has


breached its licence by forcing patients to wait too long in


accident and emergency. The trust is now legally obliged to find ways of


improving its performance by bringing in expert help from


elsewhere. The region's construction industry


is warning of a skills time bomb, with two thirds of contractors in


Birmingham struggling to recruit young workers. The construction


industry training board says a new generation need to be made more


aware of the opportunities in building. Sarah Falkland reports.


Parkgate, the latest addition to Shirley High Street. Shops,


restaurants and homes. It's all cost ?85 million. The construction


industry is on the up again. Thereon more jobs to be had. Nearly 20% of


the British workforce is set to retire in the next decade. 68% of


contractors here in Birmingham say they are struggling to recruit.


Which is why Vasile, who's from Romania, is among the 300 strong


workforce here. He has his own ideas as to why young British people might


not want to work in construction. They don't like it because it is


outside. Most of the time may you outside. Maybe it is difficult for


them. So JCB has joined forces with the


construction training board and embarked on a skills drive. This


industry expert says there's a lot up for grabs. Birmingham, as a


centre itself, has plans of ?17 billion of construction projects for


the next 5`10 years. The library is just the tip of the iceberg. Within


those, we can create up to 1000 apprenticeships over the next few


years. 12`year`old Tiger`Leigh's convinced.


He's on a pilot project at Greenwood Academy in Castle Vale, which offers


construction classes to pupils who've had difficulties at school.


Back at Parkgate, the project manager's confident that the 'skills


time bomb' feared by some won't go off. The workforce is out there. It


is about getting out onto the site and learning the trade. It is not in


a textbook. No staff shortages here ` the


project's on schedule for its spring opening.


Our top story tonight: 22 years after she went missing in Coventry,


three people are arrested over the disappearance of Nicola Payne.


Shefali will be along shortly with the detailed weather forecast for


the Midlands. Also ahead: The only British boxer


to have landed an amateur world title ` can he land the pro title


too? West Bromwich Albion's hunt for a


new head coach after the departure of Steve Clarke continues this


evening, with Gianfranco Zola, who resigned as manager as Watford


yesterday, the new bookies' favourite. But life goes on at the


Hawthorns, and today the club delivered some festive cheer to


hospital patients in the Black Country. Here's Dan Pallett.


What a moment for six`year`old Subhan Ali. He'd left the ward for


an X`ray and returned to find four of his Albion heroes waiting for


him. He has now got a better reason to skip his daily wash. Yes, the


patients on the children's ward at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital were


full of Christmas cheer today. People like Sam Taylor and his Dad


Andrew were thrilled. Amazing! It has made your day, your year. Yeah.


It is going to be the best Christmas.


But there was one thing missing. The club photo still shows Steve Clarke


at the helm, but he was sacked on Saturday and that's affected the


squad. It has been a massive influence to me. Coming to the later


stage of my career, I am looking to doing my coaching badges. I am


looking to go forward. The last 18 months, he has been a massive


influence. Gianfranco Zola has emerged as a bookies' favourite to


replace Clarke. But whoever takes over now has a battle on just to


keep the Baggies in the top flight. At the moment we have got to get out


of the position we are in. It is all well and good talking about top half


finishes, but at this moment we are in a fight with half the Premier


League to get into that top half. We need to get out of the position we


are in. I don't think we can look ahead any further.


It's going to be in interesting festive period at the Hawthorns. But


today they showed they haven't forgotten what Christmas is really


about. So what's the mood of West Brom fans


tonight? Dan is downstairs here at the Mailbox in the BBC WM radio


studio for the football phone`in with Paul Franks and Hawthorns


favourite Richard Sneekes. What are they saying? The debate is raging.


West Bromwich Albion and the sacking of Steve Clarke is dominating. Port


is on air. Let's have a quick talk with Paul. What the fans been


saying? It is very mixed. Some are saying it was wrong to get rid of


Clark. Others are saying it is fine, the calendar results have not


been good. But now, with four key games coming up, they are saying,


well, who are we going to get? Whoever comes in as head coach has


got to work with the same group of players. Quite a few fans are saying


there is an imbalance within the squad. So, no managers spend on who


is going to come to the hawthorns, Richard? Gem Franco Zola, to be


frank. `` GN Franco. They would like to see somebody like that. They will


need somebody experienced as an assistant, somebody who has been at


the mission manager. `` a premiership manager. And he is the


favourite, and the head coach. He is. He has just resigned at


Watford. The football he would like to play is the kind of football West


Brom fans would like to say. They want to act fast because there is a


lot of games coming up. And the football phone`in continues


on BBC WM until seven o'clock. Birmingham's Frankie Gavin has a


unique place among British boxers. He's the only Briton ever to win an


amateur world title, but in 2014 Frankie plans to become a


professional world champion as well. And the next step on that path comes


in Leeds this weekend, when he defends his Commonwealth title. Just


a warning, Nick Clitheroe's report contains flashing images.


It's only when you get this close to a boxer that you see just how hard


they hit. I wouldn't want to get in the ring with Frankie Gavin. Plenty


of his potential opponents might not fancy it, either. So that's why he's


having to be patient as he waits for the world title shot he craves. I'm


not in boxing for the fame. I am in it to be the best in the world. The


more you know and the more money you earn, which is good because I have a


family, but rather I would win war titles.


As an amateur, Frankie was world and Commonwealth champion. But there


were disappointments, too. He missed out on the Beijing Olympics because


of problems making the weight. But since turning pro there have been 17


straight wins, 12 of them knockouts. If we are standing here in 12


months, we will be talking about him as world champion? Definitely.


Within 18 months. But it is also about money, politics and the right


man in the right place at the right time.


Former world champion Amir Khan is a potential target, but whoever steps


into the ring with Gavin faces a man with utter determination. I hate


losing. Even if I am playing with my five`year`old stun on the computer,


if he is winning, I will turn his pad off!


Future opponents have been warned. In 1973, Wizzard and Slade were two


of the biggest bands in the country, one from Birmingham, the other from


up the road in Wolverhampton, and both battling it out in December for


the highly prized Christmas number one. 40 years on, and with both


songs now Christmas classics, the battle resumed as both acts last


night played live at different venues in Birmingham, a couple of


hundred yards apart. Ben Sidwell had tickets for both. There is some


flash photography in this report. It was the night that Christmas 1973


returned to Birmingham. It is bringing the knee back to my youth.


`` bringing me. Almagro I had posters on my wall. I can't believe


40 years has gone. It is shocking. 40 years ago Slade and Wizzard, led


by singer Roy Wood, dominated the UK singles chart. Between them in 1973


they had five number ones and released two of the biggest


Christmas hits of all time. When I wrote it, I didn't even think


it might still be around. People say, do you get fed up of it? I say,


no way, it is wonderful. 40 years on and they are still packing them in.


Down the road, the man responsible for that other song is playing here


at the Symphony Hall. I can still remember the day we


recorded. It was the summer of 1973 in the `` New York. It was 100


degrees outside. They thought we were crazy English men. Neither of


us knew the other one was doing a Christmas song. Strange. Any other


year, it would have been great. In the end Slade won the chart


battle and got the Christmas number one. From humble beginnings in


Walsall, 'Merry Xmas Everybody' is now thought to have been heard by


42% of the world's population. I keep thinking, everybody must have


this record by now! How does it keep on selling? Well, more people keep


getting born. I am 26 and I the song. It has got us in the mood to


party. Our kids are six and seven and they love it. So it's bands the


generations. If I knew the secret, I would be a very rich man. This time


of year, it is for a time. `` it is time.


That choir playing their they were the sons and daughters the original


choir from Erdington and Birmingham on the original recording. Amazing.


No complaints about the weather today, albeit a bit chilly, but it


is December after all. Here's Shefali to take us through the


forecast. is December after


It is December and it is about to turn to winter. That is why we are


beginning to feel then it in the air. Today was basically the calm


before the storm. The stormy conditions will be arriving tomorrow


in the shape of heavy rain and wind from the West. We have basically got


back to back systems. The second will be more potent, only because of


the steep area of low pressure pushing it along. Right now out


there it is fairly calm. We have got some showers in the far south`east


of the region but they will clear later on. After that it is going to


be relatively dry and clear. Again, this area will attract some itch ``


patchy mist and fog. The wind later in the night will pick up and


probably clear that. The wind is picking up ahead of the system for


morning. Temperatures remain above freezing for most places around. It


is going to be a wet and windy start to tomorrow. The rain is pushing


eastwards through the morning. It is not going to be persistent but it


will be heavy in places. By the afternoon kitchen start to show


signs of easing a bit. Temperatures will be on the slow side. We have


temperatures of 9`11d. It is not going to feel that mild with a


winds picking up two `` with wins picking up to 40 mph. Tomorrow


evening we have strong winds and potentially two inches of rain


falling in a short space of time. This will all be clearing eastwards


tomorrow night. In contrast, the end of the night will be much drier.


Again, temperatures remain above freezing. On Thursday we have got


the slackening isobars can indicate in calm conditions. You can see


those speckles of white which represents now on the highest


ground. `` which represent snow. Tonight's headlines from the BBC: At


least one new runway is essential at an airport in south`east England,


according to a Government commissioned review, with any


expansion plans for Birmingham to be put on hold until 2050.


And police investigating the disappearance 22 years ago of Nicola


Payne in Coventry have arrested three people.


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back


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