27/01/2014 Midlands Today


27/01/2014

The latest news, sport and weather for the Midlands.


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: Roofs ripped

:00:00.:00:08.

off, lightning strikes and hailstorms. The clean up after

:00:09.:00:12.

widespread damage caused by freak storms. Sparks were flying

:00:13.:00:18.

everywhere and property on fire. We'll show some of your pictures of

:00:19.:00:22.

the storms ` and what they left behind. Also tonight; Plagued by

:00:23.:00:24.

aggressive beggars ` protestors demand action on begging and

:00:25.:00:27.

prostitution on one of Birmingham's busiest roads. So her road has been

:00:28.:00:34.

here for a long time and it will continue to be a problem area for us

:00:35.:00:38.

that we are working to solve. Mind the gap ` Birmingham named one of

:00:39.:00:41.

the top three cities for economic growth, but there's still a wide

:00:42.:00:44.

gulf with the capital. A Spanish retirement dream that could turn to

:00:45.:00:47.

rubble ` the Worcestershire couple who could lose their savings and

:00:48.:00:52.

their property. And things were a little calmer today ` but there's a

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bit of everything to come this week. Starting off wet though, your full

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forecast is on the way. Good evening. It lasted under an

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hour, but the damage will take weeks to repair. The clean up has been

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underway after a violent storm which crossed much of the region. Roofs

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were ripped off when what's been described as a mini`tornado struck,

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hail turned roads and pavements into sheets of ice, and there were

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lightning strikes causing serious damage. Our reporter Bob Hockenhull

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has been assessing the impact. Counting the cost of a storm which

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has made this house in Stourbridge uninhabitable. Residents on the

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estate watched in awe as a bolt of lightning ripped a hole in the roof,

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causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage. The hail was coming

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down, it was like slow, I was looking out at a massive flash of

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light, it made us jump. We saw it hit the lamp, Sparks were flying

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everywhere as it hit the roof, it said the property on fire. Emergency

:02:03.:02:06.

services were on the scene within minutes. Two women were treated for

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smoke inhalation but the fire brigade says the consequences could

:02:10.:02:13.

have been far worse. That would have happened that night, and if they

:02:14.:02:18.

didn't have a smoke detector in the house, it could have been far more

:02:19.:02:22.

severe, and as a result of that, we could have been more casualties.

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This series of pictures shows the storm as it swept across the

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Midlands. Galley Common near Nuneaton in Warwickshire was one of

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the worst hit areas. A number of homes were badly damaged. Some

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residents had to spend the night in temporary accommodation. The whole

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of the Gera 's Reeves had flown across the gardens, hit cars,

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smashed cars, it hit my dad's bungalow in two places. The bungalow

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over the road, the poor lady was in the bungalow at the time and she

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could see the sky through the hole. As the heavens opened and the hail

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came down, West Midlands Fire Service control received 40

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weather`related calls. Some who witnessed the storm have described

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it as being like a mini to danger. But The Met office say it is too

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early to say whether it is an accurate description. Conditions

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were sufficient for a mini tornado to form but whether it actually

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happens is good to take experts quite a long time and a lot of

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analysis, so we should find out in the future whether we did have one

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or not. The storms caused havoc and some neighbours are planning a

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collection to help those who have been forced out of their homes. Do

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get in touch to let us know how you were affected by the storm. And if

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you have any pictures please do send them to us.

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You're watching Midlands Today ` good to have you with us this

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evening ` plenty more ahead including: Taking rambling to a

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whole new level, we meet the man who's walking every footpath in

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Shropshire, that's over 3,000 miles. One of Birmingham's busiest high

:04:09.:04:16.

streets is being plagued by aggressive beggars who are

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intimidating shoppers. Protestors are demanding police tackle begging

:04:20.:04:23.

and prostitution. It's happening in Soho Road in Handsworth. Lined with

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busy shops and restaurants, it runs past West Bromwich Albion's ground

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into Birmingham City Centre. Joan Cummins reports. There are more than

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300 shops lining the vibrant Soho Road in Handsworth, Birmingham `

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it's a focal point for multi`cultural shopping. But now

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residents and business have launched an action group saying they're not

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prepared to tolerate aggressive begging and prostitution on their

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streets. Rachel Toussaint became frustrated and organised the action

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group after she was verbally abused by a beggar outside her business. I

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don't mind being approached by people begging by people with mental

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health issues but it is aggressive begging, people don't understand

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that is what is going on and people with mental health issues should you

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care for properly and not just left, because they are vulnerable as we

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are. CCTV cameras have had to be installed at this temple off the

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Soho Road after drunks, drug addicts and thieves abused their open door

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policy. The facilities we provide have been misused by some people,

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who come in just the drug`taking or to beg for money, or cause a

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nuisance to the institution. So we had to be very strict and take extra

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security precautions. It's something we didn't want to have been forced

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into. One man said, what do you expect? This is the Soho Road. But

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others say enough is enough and they want the authorities to take more

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action. I wish there was a quick fix but there isn't. Soho Road has been

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here for a long time and it will continue to be a problem area for

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us. 20 years ago the residents of Balsall heath picketed kerb crawlers

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within a year the prostitutes had gone leaving behind an active

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community group they say the lesson is that all sides must work

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together. It's very much the responsibility of both the voluntary

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and statutory partners, and one cannot work without the other. In

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Handsworth, though, there is still a desire to help. I feel sorry for

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those people, I took a little money at dumb, just to look after them. It

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might be scary but I've never come across it. People who use the Soho

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Road to be the best in the city known for all the right reasons.

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A primary school in Birmingham is giving pupils every Friday afternoon

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off, to give teachers time to prepare their lessons. The majority

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of parents seem to be backing the school. But an award winning head

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teacher says it won't bring good results and that pupils will lose

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out in the long run. Our special correspondent, Peter Wilson has been

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investigating. Canterbury Cross Primary School in

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Birchfield Birmingham is allowing all pupils to leave on a friday

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afternoon at 1215, the changes to allow teachers more time to prepare

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and plan their lessons. I'm not working full`time, so this is OK for

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me, but if the parents are working full`time, it's hard for them. We do

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Friday prayers, so it gives kids the opportunity to go to a mosque and

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they can pray. I don't get is a bad idea, I don't see why it is in the

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news. But while the majority of parents appear happy with that

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decision, a few miles away there's a very different approach. Good

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afternoon year seven. Liam Nolan is head teacher of not one but by

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September, four Birmingham schools, all of them comprehensive. He is

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highly critical of the decision to close early on Friday. Our whole

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school closing early to prepare lessons isn't good enough. Teachers

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need time in the data to their perforation, they certainly have

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evening to do that preparation, it is not something we do here `` do

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their preparation. The school says they consulted widely before

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restructuring this all day. They say the changes mean that the amount of

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time that pupils spend on education has increased and that the number of

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teachers directly involved with pupils has also increased. With the

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permission of his mother I spoke to ten`year`old Aman Khan about the

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half day Fridays. We go to clubs and do activities. Do you think you're

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missing out on proper lessons? No, no. Canterbury Cross school was

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judged good in a recent Ofsted inspection, but with parents facing

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fines for taking their children out of school for holidays, timetable

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changes like this are likely to remain controversial.

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It's been confirmed that a taser was used after a scuffle broke out

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between rival factions at Birmingham Crown Court today. West Midlands

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Police say it was discharged at a man who then ran away from the

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court. Roads in the surrounding area were closed off while officers dealt

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with the incident. Birmingham band Black Sabbath has

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won a Grammy in Los Angeles for best hard rock/metal performance. They've

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just finished a world tour with two dates in the city last month,

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playing to 26,000 people. A volume out of a set of the most

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expensive books in the world is to go on display at the Library of

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Birmingham. Audubon's Birds of America, is a four`book compilation

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worth more than ?7 million, and features hundreds of life`size

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colour engravings of every American bird species.

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An independent report into the economic health of our cities says

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Birmingham is one of three cities showing signs of growth. But the

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research also suggests that the economic recovery is widening the

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gap between London and the rest of the country. Our business

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correspondent Peter Plisner reports. Serving up a recipe for success `

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and not just in the kitchen. This restaurant is located in

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Birmingham's Colmore Business District. It's one of the big growth

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areas of the city and here bookings a growing too. I think we reflect

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what's happening within the professional sector in the city, we

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are used very much for lunchtime trade, we are used for private

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functions for firms, and I think we are almost at the coal face of what

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is happening. Today's report talks about a ring of confidence within

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the city centre ` inside it businesses are performing well.

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There is growth and job creation in the city centre. According to the

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report, Birmingham is failing to punch its weight according to other

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cities. And here's some of the evidence ` just yards from the city

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centre, a car park that by now should have been turned into an

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office block and a not far away a derelict building. I think the

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report is bang on. Over many years, lemming and Manchester haven't

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really pulled their weight on a range of things, deployment,

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business start`ups, qualifications. And worst still Birmingham appears

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to be lagging behind when it comes to new jobs. According to the report

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` London has created 14 times more jobs than Birmingham. But the city

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leaders maintain that there a reasons why that's happened. London

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is bigger than Birmingham but London hasn't gone into recession. That is

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the reason for all of this. We have been saying for a long while that

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the Southeast, London, is an overheated economy, and we need to

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rebalance the UK economy. And one way of doing that ` according to the

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report ` would mean more powers being devovled to Birmingham and

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away from London. Well that's how it's looking for our

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biggest city. What about other areas of the West Midlands? Our reporters

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are spread across the region tonight ` we start with Sian Grezcheck in

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Coventry. What is the picture there? There's good news and bad news for

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Coventry, the bad ` 15% of the working population don't have any

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qualifications ` which puts us near the bottom for the whole country.

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And that's reflected in one of the lowest employment rates of any major

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city. But Coventry's near the top for property price rises. Local

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estate agents say that might be because people are more confident in

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the housing market these days and are prepared to buy. And we're a

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happy lot. Coventry is ranked seventh for increasing life

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satisfaction, which suggests we're the happiest city in the west

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midlands. Now over to Phil Mccann who has the picture in Stoke.

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Over 2,000 new private`sector jobs have been created in Stoke`on`Trent

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in the period this report covers ` one of the highest rates of jobs

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growth in the country. But a lot of them are low`skilled and low`paid,

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and working for employers that originate outside the city.

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Stoke`on`Trent is third from bottom for new business start`ups. One of

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the reasons according to the Centre for Cities, is the weak city centre.

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It's something the council's being trying to change, but in a city

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uniquely made up of six separate towns, that's proving very

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controversial. My colleague is in Worcester.

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The unemployment rate in Worcester is just under 6.5% ` that's better

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than both the regional and national average. Nearly a fifth of those are

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professional jobs ` a higher percentage than cities like Coventry

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or Wolverhampton. In Herefordshire, unemployment is even lower at 5.5% `

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and half the county's jobs are in the city of Hereford. There are

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developments and new jobs on the way for both cities with a multi million

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pound technology park just outside Worcester, and the continued

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development of the Old Market site in Hereford. Now we can go to Mark

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Elliott for the situation in Shropshire. Here, Telford is up near

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the top of the lead for the growth of private companies but it doesn't

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offset the number of jobs lost in the private sector `` public sector.

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To improve the authors of the report suggest that and focus on services

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and improving transport links. The Chamber of Commerce disagrees, it

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says that local economy is doing well and manufacturing is the right

:14:39.:14:41.

area to concentrate on. This is our top story tonight: Roofs

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ripped off, lightening strikes and hailstorms. The clean up after

:14:47.:14:51.

widespread damage caused by freak storms.

:14:52.:14:53.

Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly ` also in tonight's

:14:54.:14:57.

programme: FA Cup dreams over for another year, as all five Midlands

:14:58.:15:01.

teams crash out ` despite a brave performance from non`league

:15:02.:15:05.

Kidderminster. And one step at a time ` find out

:15:06.:15:09.

why this man is determined to walk every footpath in Shropshire.

:15:10.:15:18.

The dream of building a retirement home in Spain has turned into a

:15:19.:15:22.

nightmare for one Worcestershire couple. Bob and Yvonne Weafer from

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Redditch fear they may lose their savings in a row over planning ` and

:15:28.:15:31.

are trapped in a legal battle about whether their Spanish home was built

:15:32.:15:34.

lawfully or not. Here's Anthony Bartram. This is Andalusia in

:15:35.:15:42.

southern Spain, thousands of Brits retire here every year. Bob and

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Yvonne Weafer Redditch invested their life savings in the Spanish

:15:49.:15:51.

property market, hoping to join them. We went to see several

:15:52.:15:58.

builders and several sites, we had a plot where we could see for miles.

:15:59.:16:02.

But their dream has been a nightmare for the last nine years when the

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regional government in Andalusia declared their house illegal. We

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actually had the van but to bring out all the luggage, within days of

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that happening, we suddenly read on the Internet that the police had

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actually sealed the site off. Their villa is one of almost 300,000

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properties caught up in a legal wrangle. The local government gave

:16:27.:16:31.

them planning permission and the regional government then withdrew

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it. TRANSLATION: I have been asked to put together a legal proposition

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to the regional government which would change state law and legalise

:16:41.:16:47.

around 96% of these properties. We have lost around 250,000 euros, to

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that for the property, we still are the last payment of the extras. As

:16:53.:17:00.

both sides work on a solution, the Weafers can only watch their villa

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deteriorate as long as there `` as well as their life savings.

:17:05.:17:08.

And there will be more about the couple's story on Inside Out tonight

:17:09.:17:09.

at half past seven here on BBC One. Well there was no joy for the

:17:10.:17:20.

Midlands in the FA Cup this weekend. They're all out. But at least

:17:21.:17:23.

Walsall could celebrate with a triple Brandy! We'll get onto the FA

:17:24.:17:30.

Cup in a moment. But first, the race to win promotion from League One.

:17:31.:17:37.

For Wolves, a valuable home victory keeps them in third place. And for

:17:38.:17:40.

Walsall, the play`offs are still very much in their sights, thanks to

:17:41.:17:44.

their young striker Febian Brandy. Ian Winter has been to meet him.

:17:45.:17:47.

Showing on the laptop this lunchtime. An exclusive invitation

:17:48.:17:50.

to a Walsall blockbuster premiere, starring Febian Earlston Brandy.

:17:51.:17:54.

Aged 25 next Tuesday. And today, celebrating a landmark moment in his

:17:55.:18:02.

football career. Never scored a hat`trick before, this is my first

:18:03.:18:10.

one, left foot, right foot, header! He is like a bottle of pop, you

:18:11.:18:17.

shake him up and take the lid off! Midway through the first half Febian

:18:18.:18:20.

broke the deadlock against Notts County with his left foot, he

:18:21.:18:23.

finished off a fine flowing move to put Walsall in front. 11 minutes

:18:24.:18:26.

later, his second goal was even better. This time with his right

:18:27.:18:32.

foot ` a double Brandy was the perfect tonic for the Saddlers'

:18:33.:18:35.

travelling fans. And then 11 minutes after that, Walsall broke away down

:18:36.:18:38.

the left right and Febian leapt like a salmon on the far post to complete

:18:39.:18:42.

the perfect hat`trick with his head. And still only half`time. This

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wasn't just any hat`trick, it was the perfect hat`trick. That's what

:18:47.:18:53.

they call it! He invites the tackles, people don't like to diving

:18:54.:18:57.

because he has such quick feet. He is a joy to be around. He was the

:18:58.:19:04.

only one enjoying a fantastic first half. `` only one. Back in March,

:19:05.:19:09.

Nouha Dicko spent a month on loan with Wolves from Wigan. Now he's

:19:10.:19:12.

signed permanently for ?300,000. And he celebrated with a couple of goals

:19:13.:19:16.

to help his new team earn three points against Bristol City. In the

:19:17.:19:21.

second half another Frenchman, Bakary Sako, clinched a 3`1 victory.

:19:22.:19:28.

And that was a fitting tribute to the former Wolves and England

:19:29.:19:30.

goalkeeper Bert Williams, who'd earlier been given a warm round of

:19:31.:19:33.

applause, following his death last week, at the age of 93. Back at the

:19:34.:19:37.

Walsall training ground, Febian Brandy was relaxing before

:19:38.:19:39.

tomorrow's important home game against play`off rivals Swindon. He

:19:40.:19:42.

can't promise another hat`trick but if he does score, his famous

:19:43.:19:45.

celebration will definitely be on show.

:19:46.:19:53.

So a great weekend for Walsall ` and just as well after all the cup

:19:54.:19:57.

exits. Five teams involved ` and all five went out. It started on Friday

:19:58.:20:01.

when Coventry lost 4`nil at Arsenal on Friday. It ended yesterday with

:20:02.:20:04.

Stoke losing 1`nil at Chelsea. But the team that covered themselves in

:20:05.:20:07.

the most glory was non`league Kidderminster Harriers. Around 4,000

:20:08.:20:13.

Kidderminster fans made the journey to Premier League Sunderland. And a

:20:14.:20:16.

tough task got even harder when they fell behind after just five minutes.

:20:17.:20:20.

But they fought back and might have even earned themselves a replay but

:20:21.:20:24.

Ladapo shot just wide. For a while it looked as though Birmingham City

:20:25.:20:27.

would create a shock against Premier League Swansea City. Well they led

:20:28.:20:31.

1`0 until the 67th minute but the game then changed very quickly.

:20:32.:20:33.

Substitute Wilfried Bony scored twice in three minutes to give

:20:34.:20:40.

Swansea a 2`1 win at St Andrews. And Port Vale fought hard against

:20:41.:20:43.

Brighton. Chris Robertson equalised at 1`all for Vale. But in the end

:20:44.:20:48.

Brighton proved just too strong and they won the game 3`1. And Nicolas

:20:49.:20:51.

Anelka's been defending his controversial goal celebration last

:20:52.:20:58.

month. Today the Albion striker has thanked those clubs who he says have

:20:59.:21:02.

offered to sign him in the last few days. They include the Italian side

:21:03.:21:09.

Lazio. But he added: "Why should I leave my club and England? I did

:21:10.:21:12.

nothing wrong." Anelka will defend his quenelle gesture at a personal

:21:13.:21:16.

hearing with the FA at the end of next month. He says he didn't intend

:21:17.:21:22.

any offence. Thanks very much indeed.

:21:23.:21:25.

Walking in the countryside is one of our most popular pastimes. But one

:21:26.:21:32.

rambler is taking his passion to an extreme. Shropshire has the most

:21:33.:21:36.

footpaths in our region ` Trevor Allison is walking all of them `

:21:37.:21:40.

that's over 3000 miles. Laura May McMullan joined him, for a short

:21:41.:21:45.

stretch. Standing at the top of The Cliffe,

:21:46.:21:49.

it's clear to see why a quarter of Shropshire is an Area of Outstanding

:21:50.:21:52.

Beauty. Trevor Allison is passionate about protecting his local

:21:53.:22:00.

landscape. He's one of thousands of ramblers, though, that are being

:22:01.:22:05.

stopped in their tracks. Due to council budget cuts, he believes

:22:06.:22:08.

some rights of way are being neglected. The problem is that I

:22:09.:22:14.

come across are broken dates, locked gates, barbed wire fences, electric

:22:15.:22:22.

fences. This has been put here by the farmer. The step is loose, it is

:22:23.:22:29.

quite a big step over this bar. It's a proper style, it has two steps but

:22:30.:22:34.

it's obvious that this has fallen out of use. A dog owner out walking

:22:35.:22:38.

on Nescliffe Hill today agreed there are problems. I have had problems

:22:39.:22:46.

with some styles on public footpath near where I live, I have written

:22:47.:22:53.

and complained to Shropshire Council. Nothing has been done as

:22:54.:23:00.

yet. In a recent report by the Ramblers Association, more than

:23:01.:23:02.

100,000 path problems were reported to councils across England but

:23:03.:23:07.

hadn't been fixed. Here in Shropshire, a freedom of information

:23:08.:23:10.

request last July showed there were 13,000 problems that hadn't been

:23:11.:23:16.

attended to. In a statement Shropshire Council acknowledges that

:23:17.:23:18.

paths haven't been maintained as well as they have in the past. It

:23:19.:23:24.

wants to work closely with landowners and community groups and

:23:25.:23:27.

also increase the number of volunteers. Trevor is three years

:23:28.:23:35.

into a mission to walk and assess every right of way in Shropshire ` a

:23:36.:23:41.

journey of 3,500 miles. So far he's been obstructed more than 400 times.

:23:42.:23:51.

We saw earlier in the programme how freak storms damaged part of the

:23:52.:23:55.

Midlands over the weekend, some have called it a mini tornado ` but

:23:56.:23:56.

Rebecca what was it? Actually, what it was was a trough

:23:57.:24:07.

moving through a hole in maritime air mass. What that actually means

:24:08.:24:12.

is we have low pressure moving through cold, moist air. That means

:24:13.:24:19.

that milder air started storm clouds forming, which led to hail, thunder

:24:20.:24:22.

and lightning. This was happening at the time of the day where

:24:23.:24:26.

temperatures were at their mildest so it was much more intense. It's a

:24:27.:24:31.

little calmer as we moved through the next few days. By the time we of

:24:32.:24:38.

the week, things start start to get much colder. We are heading for our

:24:39.:24:45.

first cold snap. Those showers, continuing to blow through the

:24:46.:24:49.

region tonight, some of them will be quite heavy at times. Still plenty

:24:50.:24:53.

of cloud cover about, which will help temperatures a little bit.

:24:54.:24:57.

Rather breezy as well. We will see temperatures falling to about three

:24:58.:25:02.

or four Celsius, but not too cold for the time we wake up tomorrow.

:25:03.:25:11.

Plenty more showers to come. We start the a rather wet, doesn't

:25:12.:25:16.

change much, I'm afraid. We will see the sun at times but it will be few

:25:17.:25:22.

and far between, some showers will be quite heavy as well. Temperatures

:25:23.:25:26.

will get up to about seven or eight Celsius but the wind is going to

:25:27.:25:30.

make them feel a little colder. Through Tuesday night, still we keep

:25:31.:25:35.

those showers. We start to see a little bit of a change. The wind

:25:36.:25:41.

direction is changing to a southeasterly, that southeasterly

:25:42.:25:44.

wind is the start of things feeling colder. By Wednesday, it is still

:25:45.:25:50.

going to be a wet day but it is starting to feel much colder.

:25:51.:25:55.

Temperatures are taking a tumble. Why Thursday, the wind directions

:25:56.:25:59.

change to an easterly direction, so it is feeling much colder. We could

:26:00.:26:05.

see some wintry showers. As we head through towards the end of the

:26:06.:26:08.

week, those temperatures are continuing to tumble. Wednesday

:26:09.:26:12.

looking particularly cold. But plenty more rain to come before

:26:13.:26:18.

that. And that wind strengths are quite strong.

:26:19.:26:21.

Tonight's headlines from the BBC: Angry residents in Somerset turn on

:26:22.:26:27.

the environment minister ` they've been flooded for weeks, farms and

:26:28.:26:33.

homes remain under water. Jude Law gives evidence at the hacking trial

:26:34.:26:37.

` he finds out for the first time a relative took money from a newspaper

:26:38.:26:40.

Roofs ripped off, lightning strikes and hailstorms. The clean up after

:26:41.:26:43.

widespread damage caused by freak storms Edward Harris got in touch on

:26:44.:26:47.

Twitter and sent us this great picture taken from his kitchen

:26:48.:26:48.

window in Rugby. Lots of you have been telling us

:26:49.:27:12.

about the storm. It was certainly very dramatic. That was Midlands

:27:13.:27:16.

Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock with more on the varying economic

:27:17.:27:19.

recovery across our region. Have a great evening.

:27:20.:27:22.

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