10/01/2014 Midlands Today


10/01/2014

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from the Atlantic. Thank you very much. That's it from us.

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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: A Birmingham

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woman's charged with slavery offences after four men are found in

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squalid conditions at her home. Plans announced to create one of the

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biggest army bases in the country. We'll be reporting live from the

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barracks in Stafford. We hope people put down roots year as a result.

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Also tonight: As the new coach flies in from Andalusia to Albion, we find

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out more about the man charged with revitalising the Hawthorns.

:00:43.:00:44.

Festive leftovers. How the big cats of Dudley are making a meal of

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discarded Christmas trees. And we should get something more

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pleasant this weekend but will the floodwaters finally go down? I will

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have the full weather forecast later.

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Good evening. And we start with breaking news that a woman from

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Birmingham has been charged with slavery offences after four men were

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found living in squalid conditions at her house. The men were

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discovered after a search by West Midlands Police and the National

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Crime Agency. This latest development follows a number of high

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profile cases of alleged slavery in recent months across the UK. Our

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special correspondent Peter Wilson reports.

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Christmas cards and decorations in the window of a bungalow at the

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centre of a police investigation into allegations of slavery. Four

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men were found in what the police described as a squalid conditions.

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One local businessman says the men were remaining ends and had been

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involved in the scrap metal business. I have heard that they

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have been problems after dark. When we came home on Monday we found the

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police searching the back. A 54`year`old woman, Vasilica

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Panaghita, today appeared in court after police visited the property

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and found four men living in a lean to building next to the bungalow. It

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is thought those men had been at the property for 12 months. They are now

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being cared for by the Salvation Army. West Midlands police say they

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will not be revealing any more information about the enquiry

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although it does include the work of the National crime agency. This

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morning a 54`year`old woman was formally charged with four counts of

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knowingly holding a person in servitude or slavery.

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Coming up later in the programme: The flags are out for JCB as they

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announce plans for a ?30 million championship golf course next to its

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world headquarters. A multi`million pound boost for the

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Beacon Barracks in Stafford. The Ministry of Defence has announced

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it's investing more than ?50 million in building nearly 350 new homes on

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the base. It's to provide accommodation for soldiers from the

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16 Signal Regiment and one Armoured Division Signal Regiment who are

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being relocated back to the Midlands from Germany. Bob Hockenhull

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reports. Out training in the winter sunshine.

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The soldiers at Stafford are said to see their ranks more than double.

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Two regiments will be joining them at the base next year. They will be

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transferred from Germany as part of the governments plans to bring back

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15,000 personnel to seven key military sites across the UK. It is

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a great step forward for us. It is the culmination of a lot of hard

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work. It means we will have three signal Regiment in one location. It

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will enable us to work together more closely and provide a good hard for

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the Army in the West Midlands. The land with 346 family homes will be

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built is already being prepared. Besides the new homes, major

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redevelopment of MOD Stafford is underway and will include new

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technical workshops to maintain sophisticated communications

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equipment. The plans mean there will be 1000 extra soldiers based here

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from the summer of 2015. The total number of staff will be 1800. The

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same that was here when the site was at its busiest in the 1960s. It is

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hoped the extra numbers will give the town of Stafford and economic

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left. More people coming in will liven up the town. At the moment it

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is dead. We have got a Goodman literary heritage in Stafford and we

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support our soldiers so I think it will be good. No problem with that

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being ex`forces myself. The new homes will be built by 6000 staff.

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We are very keen to get onto the job. Preparations are already in

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hand and we are excited to get on`site and deliver the scheme. It

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offers jobs for the business. It is good news all round. The Ministry of

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Defence said that as well as providing economic benefits year,

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moving troops from Germany will save ?350 million year.

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And Bob is outside the barracks this evening. So great news for a

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barracks that at one time was at risk of closure? That's right. These

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plans will make Stafford one of the country's key military towns but the

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question is can it cope? With me now is the leader of Staffordshire

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county council. You're going to have a lot more people here. Can you

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actually cope as far as infrastructure is concerned? We have

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known that the Army are coming back to Stafford for a while and there is

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a new roundabout being built. We own a site for a new school which will

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be completed by September 2015. That will hold 426 children. We have also

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got retail development going on in the town so this is really good news

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for Stafford. I suppose your game is Germany's loss. Do you think these

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soldiers will become fully integrated in Stafford?

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Staffordshire has got a long and proud connection with the Armed

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Forces. We have signed the arms forces covenant. `` Armed Forces. I

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am sure local people will make them welcome just as the Army I welcome

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into ourselves. Thank you very much. 346 homes have to be built by the

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sum of 2015. There is a lot of development work to do but the

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builders say they are confident they will complete on time and they are

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looking forward to welcoming this military personnel to the heart of

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England. Businesses, the emergency services

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and people living in a rural part of Herefordshire are celebrating today

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as they're finally able to get a quality mobile phone signal. The

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village of Ewyas Harold has been mobile black spot for years, causing

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problems for people trying to live in the 21st century. But as Cath

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Mackie reports, that's all about to change.

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Richard Baker has driven to the butchers in Ewyas Harold. He is a

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first responder for the ambulance service and this is one of the few

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spots he can get a phone signal. I've had two messages which have

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just come through. These were timed earlier this morning so the coverage

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has been patchy again. It might be a matter of life and death. Yes. Poor

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mobile phone coverage is a big problem affecting many rural areas

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and many people. I have a lot of friends abroad so it can be quite

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frustrating. I have given up using a mobile phone because we have no

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signal at home. I have been walking around a lot today like this. The

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service is intermittent. It is nonexistent in some surrounding

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villages. But there are hopes that something up they will lead to a

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better service. There is a mobile phone transmitter on this pub and

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its range is between 500 metres and a kilometre. There are two others in

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the village. This technology is different to conventional mobile

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phone masts because it uses small pieces of equipment that can be

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fitted on the side of existing buildings. Mobile phone companies

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have come in for criticism for the lack of rural coverage. They often

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cite difficult geography. As technology increases it becomes less

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of a luxury and more of an incessantly. `` a necessity. Any

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improvement is brilliant. But we need a lot more. The trial will be

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monitored closely and if it is deemed a success it may be the way

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ahead for other religious. `` other rural areas.

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The new West Bromwich Albion head coach, Pepe Mel, says he's always

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dreamed of being involved in the Premier League. The Spaniard has

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signed an 18 month contract and he'll watch the team for the first

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time at Southampton tomorrow. His appointment ends the club's four

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week search for a successor to Steve Clarke. Dan Pallett reports.

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So they've finally got their man. After four weeks of searching, West

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Bromwich Albion have chosen Pepe Mel to be their new head coach. And he's

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told Spanish radio he's delighted. It is something you always dream of

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once you become a coach because of the Premier League attracts everyone

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in football. I am looking forward to sampling it. So what do we know

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about him? Well, he's been a manager for 14 years in Spain. He helped

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Real Betis qualify for Europe last season. And he has other talents

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including writing a novel called 'The Liar'. But it's his work with

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Betis that's caught the eye. They were very exciting to watch and had

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a great season last year and he was the architect of that on a small

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budget. He did a great job and circumstances went against them at

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the end `` start of this season and he lost his job. He is a good

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character as well. I found out the news last night. He took real Bettis

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at. He is renowned for attacking foot also it sounds like a good

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appointment. I don't know much about him. I know he is a foreign manager.

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I would personally have gone for an English manager. It is a big gamble.

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They have come into other clubs and have been big mistakes. It has been

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a big few weeks at West Brom. But Pepe Mel's task is simple success is

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keeping them in the Premier League. But for the time being, caretaker

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head coach Keith Downing will be in charge for one last game at

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Southampton before handing over to Mel. The Spanish press are positive

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about him. He is a name I was not aware of until a few weeks ago. He

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fits the criteria and wants to play positive football. It is a new way

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forward for the football club so it's exciting. Downing and his

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backroom staff have stopped the rot at the Hawthorns and kept them out

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of the Premier League's bottom three. Now it's up to Pepe Mel to

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make sure they stay there. Dan's here now. So Albion have

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finally got their man and he seems an interesting character. Well there

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aren't too many novelists in football management. It sounds like

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his style of football might suit the English game quite well. And I'm

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sure Albion fans will have a wry smile when they hear he's been used

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to operating on a tight budget. Of course he's yet another overseas

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manager in the Premier League, that's half the division now. And we

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understand that Mel's English isn't the best and he'll be working with a

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translator, certainly to start with. We thought he'd get the job two

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weeks ago. The story then was about him wanting to bring in his own

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coaches. Has that all been resolved? Maybe not. Albion have always

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maintained that they want continuity and keep the same coaching set`up.

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But in that radio interview we heard earlier, he also said he was

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bringing in some of his coaches in the summer so there's some

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confusion. We should learn more when he holds his first press conference

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towards the end of next week. The Staffordshire digger maker JCB's

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unveiled plans for a ?30 million championship golf course next to its

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world headquarters. The company says the course will help boost sales and

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build global awareness of its brand. This follows the announcement the

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company's planning to expand its factories and create 2,500 new jobs.

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Here's our Staffordshire reporter, Liz Copper.

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In 240 acres of rolling Staffordshire countryside, plans for

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a championship golf course. The company's describing it as "the

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biggest marketing tool in its history". We are establishing

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ourselves strongly in India and China and Brazil and those are

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markets where golf is growing very quickly. It is all about the JCB

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brand. This is a scale model of the course. The design team behind it

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are responsible for other high profile courses which have hosted

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the Ryder Cup. It is a great bonus that we have got the Uttoxeter canal

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and we can make somatic use of that. We have used the Woodlands and the

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hedgerows. We try to fit the golf course into the landscape we have.

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Although it'll be JCB customers who use the course, the intention is

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it'll have the potential to host a major tournament. Particularly with

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the ambition of holding a European tour event, I am thinking in four

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years time the likes of Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy will walk these

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fairways and it can only be good for golf in the area. This 18th Century

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mansion is Woodseat Hall. It's at the heart of the development. It'll

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be converted into the clubhouse, with five star accommodation. The

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hall has been empty for more than half a century and the conversion

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plans are ambitious. More than 7.5 year and pounds will be spent here

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alone. And families in surrounding villages have already been consulted

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on the proposals. At the end of the day it will fetch more jobs and the

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area which intern will help me in the pub. It will encourage people to

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come to the area and that would bring people in. If permission's

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granted, building could start by the summer. The company says this is an

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opportunity to drive its future plans for business growth.

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This is our top story tonight: A Birmingham woman's charged with

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slavery offences after four men are found in squalid conditions at her

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home. Also in tonight's programme: The delight of festive leftovers.

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How the animals of Dudley Zoo are making the most of discarded

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Christmas trees. And on the eve of the 60th

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anniversary of the first TV weather forecast, a look back at our own

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esteemed meteorological prognosticators.

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It's a busy time of year for sheep farmers but a new report says many

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of them are earning a lot less from farming than they could. And, by

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copying the way the best sheep farmers work, they could

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significantly boost their income ahead of what could be a tricky

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twelve months for the industry. Here's our Rural Affairs

:16:40.:16:43.

Correspondent, David Gregory`Kumar. It's so cramped his boots stick out

:16:44.:16:46.

the bottom, but Graham Warner's ultrasound system reveals every

:16:47.:16:59.

sheep's secrets. Twins. You have got one lamb on the screen. Another one

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comes up over the top of it. On this Albrighton farm, those mums with

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triplets with an orange spot and more importantly extra nutrition

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during pregnancy. Sheep farming is all about the numbers. It is also

:17:16.:17:21.

about the survival rates of those lambs when they are born. There is

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massive variations on that from farm to farm. Now experts want to try and

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do something about it. Industry body EEEblex, based at Stoneleigh in

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Warwickshire, says the top third of farms have animals worth

:17:34.:17:36.

significantly more than average, ?30 more, and they also produce seven

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extra lambs per 100 ewes. What we're trying to do is highlight these

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figures and say, have a look at your own situation and see if you can

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pull your own figures together and compare them to the national

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average. See if you can identify those areas where you see you have a

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weakness where they could be room for improvement. Thanks to the

:18:03.:18:06.

weather last year, we're expecting a bumper lambing season. It is for the

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important to get the body condition right in the autumn and with the

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late summer weather this year, it helped a great deal. We are

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expecting a fairly high lamb crop this year. The question is, will all

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our sheep farmers be able to take advantage of the head start nature

:18:25.:18:27.

has given them this year A police officer who claimed to have

:18:28.:18:30.

witnessed the so`called Plebgate row in Downing Street between Sutton

:18:31.:18:33.

Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell and Met Police officers has admitted lying.

:18:34.:18:37.

Keith Wallis pleaded guilty in court to misconduct in a public office.

:18:38.:18:43.

The incident led to Andrew Mitchell resigning from his job as chief

:18:44.:18:46.

whip. Well, our Political Editor, Patrick Burns, is here. So does this

:18:47.:18:50.

increase the chances of Mr Mitchell returning to the cabinet? It does

:18:51.:18:57.

not harm his chances. What is significant about the events of

:18:58.:19:02.

today is that David Cameron has not exactly gone out of his way to

:19:03.:19:11.

comment directly on this. Today, he issued this statement welcoming that

:19:12.:19:16.

guilty plea and saying that the actions of the officer in question

:19:17.:19:21.

were completely unacceptable. That is an action he has taken on his own

:19:22.:19:25.

behalf. Andrew Mitchell and self says he welcomes the fact that

:19:26.:19:28.

justice is being done. There is a lot of justice yet to be done and he

:19:29.:19:32.

is hinting at ten other cases involving police officers. So the

:19:33.:19:36.

question is how far does this have to go in the court before Mr

:19:37.:19:42.

Mitchell is deemed to have been sufficiently re`ability did for a

:19:43.:19:47.

return to the top ranks? That is an interpretation which says as a

:19:48.:19:49.

matter of political judgement that point may not be far off. You also

:19:50.:19:56.

have news about the developing argument over planning policies and

:19:57.:20:00.

up surprise intervention by a Conservative politician. The

:20:01.:20:03.

Conservative MP for Stratford`upon`Avon said that the

:20:04.:20:08.

development of housing in rural areas could be the defining issue in

:20:09.:20:13.

the countryside at the next general election because of the demands of

:20:14.:20:19.

property developers. Under the Labour government we had eco`towns

:20:20.:20:24.

and Stratford`upon`Avon which the Labor Department had to abandon and

:20:25.:20:28.

one of our senior MPs says they would build five new towns. We're

:20:29.:20:35.

not even building half the number of homes we need to keep up with

:20:36.:20:39.

demand. That is a real problem there and people and families. It used to

:20:40.:20:45.

take an average three years for a family to save for a deposit and now

:20:46.:20:51.

it can take 20 or more years. In that shot you a love scene changed

:20:52.:20:56.

Seymour who is top of the candidates list for UKIP who are celebrating

:20:57.:21:00.

too conservative defections in Dudley.

:21:01.:21:04.

And Patrick will be back with Sunday Politics this Sunday at 11:00am here

:21:05.:21:08.

on BBC One. The production company behind the

:21:09.:21:11.

hit BBC Two drama 'Peaky Blinders' is holding open auditions in

:21:12.:21:14.

Birmingham tomorrow. The programme is based on true events in Digbeth

:21:15.:21:18.

in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It follows a gang who

:21:19.:21:22.

wore flat caps with razor blades hidden in the peaks. The show's

:21:23.:21:25.

producers are looking for boys between the ages of 13 and 19 and

:21:26.:21:29.

they say you don't need to have any acting experience. The central roles

:21:30.:21:41.

we are looking for former real part in the family story. `` form a real

:21:42.:21:49.

part. Christmas may be over for us, but

:21:50.:21:53.

the big cats at a Dudley Zoo are still enjoying the festive spirit.

:21:54.:21:56.

That's because zookeepers have been putting old Christmas trees into

:21:57.:21:59.

their enclosures for them to play with. And, as Ben Godfrey found out,

:22:00.:22:03.

it's the smell of the trees that really keeps them interested.

:22:04.:22:11.

At Dudley Zoo, there's no such thing as an unwanted Christmas tree. We're

:22:12.:22:15.

delivering some belated festive gifts to two tigers called Joao and

:22:16.:22:25.

Daseep. That is a tiger down there. They may look a little shrivelled to

:22:26.:22:28.

us but to these predators, the trees are the latest in must`have toys. I

:22:29.:22:35.

have brought my own Christmas tree from home. The local folks have got

:22:36.:22:44.

in touch. And that's because they want to keep a lid on the

:22:45.:22:47.

excitement. Take Daisy the Carpathian Lynx. She's intoxicated

:22:48.:22:50.

by the smell of the pine needles. Scientific studies tell us they give

:22:51.:22:55.

her a sense of euphoria. Think how the scent of a forest wafts through

:22:56.:22:59.

your living room. Her compound is awash with a comforting smell of the

:23:00.:23:09.

wild. And she may even find a mate. It is like perfume or aftershave.

:23:10.:23:18.

They follow trails which replicate the wild. Many of the 50 donated

:23:19.:23:23.

Christmas trees will be recycled into wood`chip, to act as nesting

:23:24.:23:26.

for other animals. But just like the New Year sales, the clamour to get

:23:27.:23:38.

your hands on a bargain is fierce. Rebecca Wood is here with the

:23:39.:23:41.

weather and there's a significant anniversary tomorrow for the TV

:23:42.:23:46.

weather presenter, isn't there? Yes, Nick. 60 years ago today,

:23:47.:23:50.

weather forecasting began on the BBC. But it wasn't until 1993 that

:23:51.:23:54.

Midlands Today got our first dedicated weather presenter and

:23:55.:23:57.

she's still a familiar face on our screens today. I've been looking

:23:58.:24:04.

back through the archives. Shefali Oza has delivered the

:24:05.:24:07.

weather forecast to BBC Midlands Today viewers for over 20 years from

:24:08.:24:11.

all over the region and in all conditions ` sunshine, rain, wind,

:24:12.:24:23.

or the forecaster's favourite, snow! I am not in the warmth of the

:24:24.:24:27.

studio. I am in the freezing outdoors. Of course, she's had a

:24:28.:24:30.

little bit of help along the way with a dedicated team of weather

:24:31.:24:34.

enthusiasts. All providing the latest information on the weather

:24:35.:24:37.

and how it can affect us from a variety of locations. You could

:24:38.:24:40.

splash yourself regularly with cold water. Today, the weather team in

:24:41.:24:44.

Birmingham is made up of Shefali and me. With help from the Met Office

:24:45.:24:47.

and the latest technology, we try to keep you up to date, whatever the

:24:48.:24:49.

weather. Well, the outfits and technology may

:24:50.:25:00.

have changed but unfortunately it seems like we're not getting much of

:25:01.:25:08.

a break from the usual rain. That said, tomorrow is looking much

:25:09.:25:12.

better. Some sunny spells, but also feeling cold. We can expect some

:25:13.:25:16.

chilly nights over the next few days, and after a brief break the

:25:17.:25:20.

rain is back by Sunday. Tonight we'll see a band of rain moving

:25:21.:25:24.

through the region. Now it is breaking up as it crosses us, and it

:25:25.:25:27.

is deteriorating through the nest few hours. Not lots of rainfall

:25:28.:25:31.

expected from it, but it's just adding to the saturated ground. Once

:25:32.:25:34.

that band clears away, behind that skies will clear and temperatures

:25:35.:25:37.

will plummet. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for icy

:25:38.:25:40.

stretches for tomorrow morning. So a cold start to Saturday, but it's

:25:41.:25:44.

going to be a pleasant day. Some good spells of sunshine, cold and

:25:45.:25:49.

crisp. Lighter winds, and the sunny spells will mean that it doesn't

:25:50.:25:52.

feel too bad, temperatures will be around where we'd expect them to be

:25:53.:25:56.

at this time of year. Once the sun goes down tomorrow temperatures will

:25:57.:25:59.

plummet, and with a little more moisture in the air some fog patches

:26:00.:26:03.

will develop, and there will be a widespread frost. But through the

:26:04.:26:14.

early hours ahead of the next weather system moving in, the winds

:26:15.:26:18.

will pick up and temperatures will start to rise. And this is that next

:26:19.:26:22.

system. Again not a huge amount of rainfall from it, 10mm`15mm, but

:26:23.:26:25.

once again it's adding to what we already have on the ground, and

:26:26.:26:43.

prolonging the drying out period. So ahead of that we'll see cloud

:26:44.:26:47.

building. A few showers are possible, and then the rain moves

:26:48.:26:53.

in. With the cloud and the fog about and limited brightness temperatures

:26:54.:26:56.

are going to struggle, and as winds pick up it'll feel a little raw out

:26:57.:27:00.

there. But the pattern as we head into next week is an unsettled one.

:27:01.:27:04.

Plenty more rain in the forecast, not great news for those places

:27:05.:27:07.

already under water. It is feeling a little colder too.

:27:08.:27:15.

Tonight's headlines from the BBC: A police officer admits he lied in the

:27:16.:27:21.

Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister

:27:22.:27:26.

Andrew Mitchell of Sutton Coldfield. A Birmingham woman's charged with

:27:27.:27:29.

slavery offences after four men are found in squalid conditions at her

:27:30.:27:32.

home. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be

:27:33.:27:36.

back at 10:00pm with your latest update, including the Worcester

:27:37.:27:39.

Warriors rugby result away to Sale Sharks. Have a good evening. Bye for

:27:40.:27:40.

now. A tenth of a second

:27:41.:28:12.

could be the difference

:28:13.:28:31.

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