11/02/2014 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: With flood


waters still rising and drains backing up, the drive to keep things


moving across Worcestershire. More rain is on the way. It is


appalling. We have more rain coming tomorrow and the big system on


Friday and Saturday. There could be as many as 80 millimetres more rain


which is what we do not want. We'll be live at the riverside for all the


latest developments. Also this evening: Downriver in Tewkesbury `


homes at risk as flood waters there continue to rise. I don't know


whether we would prefer to face bombs or water, to be honest. The


water is frightening. Our homes are now worthless, says


villagers living within yards of the proposed high`speed railway line. We


are really fed up because we have been waiting almost four years and


it is the uncertainty that gets to you.


Kitchen conversion ` rugby stars from Worcester Warriors take time


out to help a struggling homeless charity.


And this may have been the scene in Shropshire this morning, but it


wasn't the only place to have seen snow. And there's plenty more to


come later tonight. But that's just for starters. It's all happening


tomorrow. Find out more later in the forecast.


Good evening. The fight to keep the region's raging rivers at bay


continues tonight ` with the threat of even higher water levels within


the next 48 hours. Anxious communities living alongside major


rivers such as the Severn and the Wye have been warned that further


flooding is expected, with fire crews, council workers and


Environment Agency staff all stretched by today's fresh deluge.


Our reporters have been across the region today. Our first report


tonight comes from Cath Mackie in Worcester.


It's a nervous waiting game for people living near the River Severn


in Worcester, as the water creeps up their flood defences. It is a


concern. It is not one that we consider jumping ship, excuse the


pun, but you need to be aware of it. You need to manage it and make sure


the neighbours are OK. It has been seeping up through the concrete. It


has wet the carpet in odd places. Water gets everywhere, doesn't it?


More than 60 volunteers are on stand`by across Worcestershire and


Gloucestershire with a fleet of 4x4s to help people stranded by flooding.


Ron Hart has just returned from Somerset, where he carried out


rescues in high floodwater. He's now in Worcester, ready for action. It


is really to get their essential care workers, doctors, surgeons, to


and from hospital, so when they are cut off because of floods and snow,


we will make sure that they make it to work and back.


Across Worcestershire, maintenance teams are at work clearing drains


and ditches. It is basically like a big vacuum cleaner. It sucks all the


mud, silt and water. This two`man team clocked on at 6.30 this


morning, driving around the county removing blockages that, if left,


could cause flooding. Go to about 95 gullies per day. Working nonstop


since 6:30 this morning and all the way through until four. It is fair


to say that lessons have been learned since the big flood of 2007


when so many blocked drains and gullies added to the general


flooding misery. And you can see now the investment that has gone in to


try and keep those drains clear at times like this. You have got


different technology now, so when we go to clear the drains, if there is


something they cannot clear, it comes up on the screen in the


vehicles and it is fed back to headquarters, who can deal with the


blocked pipe or whatever. All eyes are looking anxiously at


the water levels. There's no let up in the rain ` this morning a


shocking downpour and hailstorm greeted traffic crossing the


partially opened river bridge. Disruption is becoming the norm.


This community is extremely resilient and extremely experienced


in these conditions. Businesses are open as usual and we will try to


maintain the situation as best we can.


Every drain that's cleared across Worcestershire is now recorded and


monitored ` but with more rain forecast,t, the hope is they're not


fighting a losing battle. Well, Cath is at the water's edge in Worcester


this evening. Cath, how's it looking? I have spoke


to a man who brought his daughter here from Birmingham to show her


what nature could do. It is a site in war star with the River Severn


rising around us. With me is David from the Environment Agency. How


nervous are you? We are vigilant and ready to act. We have got some high


levels up at Ironbridge, it is now peaking and that one area we have


the highest levels for 14 years. It will work its way down through


Worcester by tomorrow and Thursday. The flood defences were built with a


standard peak of 5.7 metres. Do you think we will see that? 5.5 is the


current prediction. But we must keep a close eye on things. Do you have


contingency plans in case the flood defences are breached? We are


operating under a silver demand which is all of the emergency


organisations working together. If something unexpected happens, we


will be ready to act. In 2007, we had half a foot of rain in one day.


This time it has been more gradual. Has that made it easier to plan? I


think so. In 2007 it was mainly surface water. The River Severn is a


slower reacting river. Towns and cities along the Severn are open for


business but this is very much a waiting game. People are hoping that


the forecast is not as bad as predicted.


At least 45 properties in Ironbridge in Shropshire are tonight at risk of


flooding. The River Severn is thought to be at its highest levels


in the town for 14 years. From the birthplace of the Industrial


Revolution, Ben Godfrey sent this report.


Late this afternoon, reinforcements were arriving to protect the


historic wharfage in Ironbridge. Although the swollen River Severn


peaked here earlier, surface run`off water from surrounding hills is


putting homes at greater risk. Tonight the Severn at Ironbridge is


getting exceptionally high. It is standing at around six metres, the


highest it has been in 14 years. In an unusual move, the council


contacted 45 properties today, asking them to consider moving onto


the first floor ` or leave until further notice. And people have been


prevented from walking behind the flood barriers. There is one metre


of water against this barrier. If it did go with that amount of water on


it, it would be a bit of a disaster. They are asking people to take


precautions. People are heeding those precautions. Coalbrookdale


primary school says it'll close tomorrow. A few properties ` which


we couldn't reach on foot ` have suffered minor flooding, but so far


these barriers are working effectively. They are the most


important thing. The Environment Agency are doing a wonderful job.


The council. Without the flood barriers, some of the shops would be


under. Environment Agency staff are now wearing life jackets, but they


say it's a just precaution when the river rises significantly. Traders


are putting on a brave face as the river rages by. Ben Godfrey, BBC


Midlands Today, Ironbridge. Further downstream from Ironbridge


and Worcester is Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, which of course


provided one of the most enduring images of the great floods of 2007 `


the town and its famous abbey effectively cut off. Fast`forward


nearly seven years and residents are still facing a major challenge, with


hundreds of sandbags handed out in the last 24 hours. Sarah Falkland


has spent the day in Tewkesbury with worried homeowners.


A bit choppy today with the wind we have been having. If you live in a


situation like this, you learn to live with it and keep a general eye


open. And make decisions based on what we can see. But what is that


seeming muddy ocean out there? It is the flooded river Avon and the


flooded River Severn combined. It is getting dangerously close to Abbey


Terrace. A few doors down and this neighbour is already worrying about


the aftermath once the waters have receded. It is like, have I really


got to start again and do it all over again? But you do. You find


yourself thinking, well, yes, what else am I going to do other than


cry? We cannot afford years. There is too much water out there to add


to it! For many of the residents along the Terrace, this afternoon is


all about pumping what you can out of your cellar and moving your


possessions to safety. For some, that means the cost of putting


furniture into storage. For everyone it means that sandbags, although the


council is running people not to be greedy. We have had had bands taking


30 or 40 bags. `` we have had bands. We have put security in place


to make sure it is fair for everyone. Geoffrey Clarke is putting


his faith in his home`made flood defence system. It has kept six


inches of water out of the house. Any water leaking through went into


the fish pond and we popped it back over the wall. As long as the flood


outside do not get higher than the wall, we are OK. River levels are


set to rise and for some that means having as much faith in man`made


forces as in divine ones. Good to have you with us here on


Midlands Today. We have the all`important weather forecast with


Shefali coming up later. And we'll be offering you a unique perspective


of the floods in Shrewsbury. Find out how we got these pictures.


Residents in a small community in north Warwickshire claim they're


living in Britain's most blighted village ` and their homes are now


'unsellable' thanks to the proposed High Speed Two railway line. Within


a mile of Gilson, there are three motorways and, if plans for HS2 go


ahead, the village will be surrounded by a major railway


junction. The area's inside a special "Safeguarding Zone" aimed at


protecting homeowners. But so far, the Government's only agreed to buy


a handful of properties. Our Transport Correspondent, Peter


Plisner, has the details. A picture postcard image in today's


snow ` but is this Britain's most blighted village? Some people


certainly think so. Originally affected by the construction of the


M42 and then the M6 toll and now HS2, the controversial line passes


right through the middle of the field over there. And that means


it's pretty close most houses here, and as a result the majority of them


sit within an HS2 Safeguarding Zone, where home`owners can ask the


Government to buy them out ` so they can move. But letters from the


Department for Transport, saying that the Government is unable to buy


the majority of properties ` because their land is not in order to build


or operate Phase One of HS2. It leaves homes here worthless. Local


estate agents won't even put them on the market. You can't put a property


on the market that you know is not going to sell. You know if you put


it on the books, clients will ask you about HS2 and as soon as they


know, they will not want to view the property. So you have unsellable


stock, so you are wasting time, effort and money trying to sell a


property you know you will not be able to sell. It's all left people


like retired teacher, John Whitehead in a classic state of limbo and,


like the name of his house, at his wits end. We were angry at first and


now we are really fed up because we have been waiting almost four years


and it is the uncertainty that gets to you. The Government has agreed to


buy some properties. But so far only those which will be knocked down if


the line gets built. Surveyors acting for residents in the village


say it's all very unfair. People want to get on with their everyday


lives. They can't plan for their future, they have their kids to


think about, which schools do they go to, if they want to retire, where


do they go? The whole area is simply blighted at the moment. The good


news is that a new compensation scheme, expected to be launched in


the summer, could provide the solution. But there are no


guarantees. Any purchases will still be at the discretion of the


Government. And Peter joins us now from Curzon


Street in Birmingham, the proposed site of the city's station for HS2.


What a nightmare for the residents, Peter, it does seem unfair? That is


what we are seeing tonight but a lot of people went there to retire, for


a quiet life, now they are pretty busy fighting plans for HS2 and


trying to sell their houses. Many thought that when it was designated


inside the safeguarding zones they had a guarantee their houses would


be purchased, but it seems the only guarantee inside that safeguarding


zones is that you cannot build any extensions to your houses or new


houses, no development is allowed at all. The only people who have agreed


to sell their property to the government are those who are so


close that they are likely to be compulsory purchase. The local MP


has been lobbying hard to get the government to what he says do the


right thing, but is it the right thing, bearing in mind that these


houses would probably be purchased with taxpayers' money? What chance


do the residents have against the of the government? Some would say the


president has been set ten years ago when the M6 toll was built nearby, a


lot of properties were purchased by the government under something


called this guestimate `` something called discretionary blight. There


was supposed to be one for HS2 but the government has had to re`consult


on a scheme because of court action by anti`HS2 protesters. It is


thought that once that scheme comes into being, it could be in the


summer of this year, that a lot of properties, those who want to be


purchased, probably will be purchased and that will hopefully


mean a happy ending for those who live there. Peter, thank you.


And on this week's Sunday Politics, one of the studio guests will be


Alison Munro, chief executive of HS2. That's all with our political


editor Patrick Burns from 11 o'clock on BBC One.


Police investigating the disappearance of teenage mother


Nicola Payne failed to find anything during a search of a nature reserve.


Officers spent six hours at grassland in the Stoke Floods area


of Binley on Monday. The last sighting of the 18`year`old was in


the Henley Green area of Coventry in 1991.Three people remain on police


bail as part of the investigation. A review of children's services in


Birmingham has found that they're improving but remain fragile. The


City Council's children's department has faced criticism after several


deaths, including that of two`year`old Keanu Williams, who was


beaten to death by his mother. The Local Government Association found


improvements in management but that it was still concerned about


unallocated cases and the speed of intervention.


For years now, many passageways in Birmingham city centre have remained


hidden ` out of sight and underused. Now an Architect Masters student is


making a case for opening them up in a bid to make the second city more


connected. He's looking at Milan to draw inspiration. Our Arts and


Culture reporter, Satnam Rana, has been finding out why.


Milan and Birmingham ` two cities full of splendid and sometimes


similar architecture. But unlike Birmingham, Milan is well known as a


design city. Now this Masters Architect student is using Italy's


second city as a source of inspiration to create a design kit


for city planners here. He's presenting his findings later this


week at Selfridge's Festival of Imagination. We have a lot of the


ingredient here that could make Birmingham a really great design


city. But we perhaps need to learn a couple of lessons just to maximise


on what we already have. So, much like Milan, Birmingham has its grand


civic squares. Here is St Philips Square. But walk around the corner


and there are hidden passageways which Luke says be opened up. In


Milan you do get lots of spaces like this which are widely used during


the day because a lot of activities surround them and so they becoming


exciting spaces. `` and so they become exciting spaces. So the pubs


down there are using them and the offices. That's it. In Milan, you


would have accommodation and manufacturing workshops in the


spaces too. Luke also wants planners to reconsider a legacy of


demolition. In Milan, buildings are often modified rather than


destroyed. Here, disused building like the brutalist Central Library


are set to go. But will Luke's recommendations be useful? Nick


Corbett has been working in town planning and urban design for 20


years and has written about Birmingham's regeneration. In


Birmingham, we have the big city plan which proposes a streets and


squares model. Luke's recommendations are helpful because


we can look at more detail, I think, how Birmingham would benefit from a


public realm strategy. To have a range of public spaces and bring


together designers, business people and industrialists, because that is


what the prosperity of the city is built upon. Those interactions.


Milan may be thousands of miles away, but for Luke it's a city we


can learn from. And as New Street Station undergoes its ?550 million


redevelopment, Luke hopes his ideas will be used to create better links


within the city. Satnam Rana, BBC Midlands Today, Birmingham.


Intriguing. So what's your view? Do you agree


with Luke? You can join the debate on how Birmingham city centre could


be revamped on our Facebook page. Our top story tonight: With flood


waters still rising and drains backing up in Worcester, the drive


to keep the city moving. Also on tonight's programme, from


goal to grill ` rugby stars helping a struggling charity by cooking


breakfast for the homeless. A busy night of football ahead,


including two big games in the Premier League. West Brom face the


leaders Chelsea at the Hawthorns. Back in November, they drew 2`2 at


Stamford Bridge, and only a controversial penalty denied Albion


a victory. But Chelsea have the meanest defence in the Premier


League, and head coach Pepe Mel rates them very highly indeed. My


problem is Chelsea. My problem is their players. It is a problem for


us. Jose Mourinho is a good coach. He is a good manager. For me, he is


a good person. Aston Villa are hoping that Ron Vlar


is fit to return in defence to face struggling Cardiff City. Villa are


going for the double, having already won 2`0 when they met at Villa Park


three months ago. But Cardiff have changed managers since then. And a


win could lift them above West Brom in the battle to avoid relegation.


Birmingham City, Port Vale and Cheltenham are also in action


tonight. Full coverage on BBC local radio.


The Worcester Warriors rugby team have come to the rescue of a charity


who were forced to give up serving breakfast for the homeless. Players


from the Premiership club have stepped in to cook at the centre in


Birmingham once a week. Now they want other businesses to get


involved. As Nick Clitheroe reports. Early morning in Birmingham and


there's not a rugby ball in sight as the Worcester Warriors get to work.


They may never win Masterchef, but these players are providing a vital


community service They've banded together to buy the food and start


every week by driving up to Digbeth to cook breakfast for the homeless.


It is quite humbling. You come here and you see guys who are struggling


on a day`to`day basis. For us to get down here and just help, it goes a


long way. The SIFA Fireside Centre has been feeding the homeless two


hot meals a day for years but all that changed after Christmas. The


pressure on funding from rising costs such as heating bills meant


the charity had to make a decision. It had come down to one hot meal per


day so it had to be breakfast or lunch. They decided to keep the


lunches, so without the Warriors there'd be no more breakfasts and


the diners are incredibly grateful. Most of us would starve because it


is a rough life being on the streets, believe me. I have been on


the streets for six months. Without it I wouldn't be able to move


forward to even think about what I need to do next, to start looking


for work or any of those things. Without it, it would be very


difficult. If it puts a smile on someone's face on Monday morning,


great. It is a good experience for us. I think the more things like


this we can do, the better, the better connected we are in the


community. Coming in for a meal is often the first contact many people


have with the centre. Hot showers, medical advice and help with the


underlying causes of their homelessness follow. They feel


marginalised, they feel like people don't care. If we can get people in


here and start to massively, massively improve the situation they


are in, the emotional thing about knowing that people do care about


their well`being, it moves mountains. Now they're hoping other


companies will follow the example of the Worcester Warriors and restore


breakfast to the Fireside menu. Nick Clitheroe, BBC Midlands Today,


Birmingham. Ever wondered what it would look


like if you were able to fly directly over the floods ` getting a


view like this from just above the swollen waters? Well, tonight we can


show you, thanks to Gareth Griffiths. He's been flying his


remote`controlled helicopter camera above the River Severn in


Shrewsbury, and Joanne Writtle's been to meet him.


Beyond the barriers. These remarkable pictures show Shrewsbury


under water. A stark reminder of why the flood defences were needed here.


It was shot by this man. Gareth Griffiths, wearing video goggles so


he can see what he's filming, sent his quadcopter, with a camera


attached, above the River Severn. Shrews brewery floods all of the


time but it is very rare that you see a viewpoint like this. `` shrews


Berry. It is good that it is not giving you a full picture of what is


going on. This dust flies up and you can control it and move it around


and get the picture you want to see really. Gareth's camera is now


heading upstream past the Theatre Severn on the right, which is safe


behind the flood barriers. Ahead, motorists make their way across the


Welsh Bridge. This is Frank well foot bridge leading over the swollen


River Severn from the centre of shrews break to the other side. The


other side of town. And from the air it looks like this. A mass of water


engulfing the area. Gareth does this as a hobby. He's actually a web


designer. But today he was attracting attention from those here


to see the floods. I thought it was like something out of Star Trek with


the headgear on and the remote control in his hand. From the


footbridge it was easy to see that no`one would be able to buy a


parking ticket here. And the only way to see this sign welcoming you


to this town is from above. Shrewsbury coping with the forces of


nature, and being filmed by something hi`tech and entirely man


made. Those are terrific pictures. Thank


you to Gareth for sharing them with us.


And you can watch Gareth's film of the floods in Shrewsbury on the


Midlands Today Facebook page. And our Environment Correspondent


David Gregory`Kumar has been looking at flooding in the Midlands and


analysing how things have changed since the Easter floods of 1998. You


can read more and leave your own thoughts on his blog at


bbc.co.uk/davidgregorykumar. Well, we've had it all today.


Torrential rain, a snowstorm and sunshine. I'm very confused. What's


next, Shefali? sunshine. I'm very


You are probably going to be completely baffled by the end of


tomorrow. To clarify things for you, we have more snow arriving later on


tonight and that will be more substantial than the lot you saw


this morning but it all arrive is ahead of a deep area of low


pressure, the next low`pressure system that rattles up from the


south`west through tomorrow and it will bring a whole host of other


problems with it. This is what you can expect over the next 24 hours.


We have got snow, strong winds and we have got heavy rain. Yellow


warnings for all three of those things but particularly for the


winds and four Shropshire, is there surely we have got amber warnings so


that is more serious and it looks as though Shropshire will get a


clobbering tomorrow. For right now we have showers affecting the


eastern half of the region, still falling as now, but we have got a


slight lull in proceedings in between. That goes through the


middle part of tonight when the temperatures and the winds will drop


and they will lead to some frost and ice problems. As you saw, we had


lots of white patches in the region and they will produce two or three


centimetres of snow. The leading edge of the next weather system will


come into contact with the cold air and turned to snow. That estimate of


snowfall is quite conservative and could be more than that. You will


probably wake up to snow tomorrow morning, not just falling at higher


levels, but also at lower levels and could just be about anywhere but the


transition between that and the next system piling in from the West is


going to be pretty seamless. That will all revert back to rain as the


temperatures rise slightly because we have got a warm sector going


through it in the middle part of the day. We are looking at a lot of rain


and those strong winds, that will finally clear away to drier


conditions by the end of the day and perhaps a spot of sunshine, taking


temperatures up to eight or nine Celsius and gusts of around 60 mph.


Finally, we are looking at things coming down to tomorrow night but


still some showers and a good till all as snow in some places but this


will set the trend for Thursday is self which is actually looking much


camera. Just a few showers dotted about but he largely dry day and the


driest of the week. Thank you.


Back now to our top story tonight, and the rising river levels which


threaten even more flooding later this week.


Thank you. Back now to our top story Cath


Mackie is in the heart of Worcester for us now. What's likely to happen


in the next 48 hours, Cath? It really is a waiting game. I have


been told by agency staff in Ironbridge have put on life jackets


as a precaution and I have been informed that the river bridge in


Worcester will be closing at 8pm. The best thing is to listen to the


BBC Radio Ulster nation but with 39 flood warnings and 41 flood alerts,


it really is a worrying time for local people across Worcestershire


and other parts of the Midlands this evening. `` listen to the BBC local


radio stations. Tonight's main headline from the


BBC: More communities hit by floods ` in the Thames Valley as well as


the West Midlands. The Prime Minister warns it'll get worse


before it gets better. That was the Midlands Today. I'll be


back at ten o'clock with the night's football results and the latest


update on river levels, including a live report from Ironbridge. Have a


good evening and we leave you with pictures of the swollen


It was only for a second or two but I know -


You're dragging up the past and into our house. She's my family


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