08/04/2014 Midlands Today


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London. If you want more details, you can head to our website. Now on


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. BBC One


Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight Apologies to


the family of a severely autistic teenager after they were left


without adequate support. There s just not enough funding for people


like Charlie. We'll be asking an expert how this


sort of situation can be avoided in the future. Also tonight, W`rwick


Castle, Coventry Cathedral ` two of our finest visitor attractions


getting together to build even more success. The more that the public


realise what they have on their doorstep, the more people use it and


value it. Creating great powerhouses of


economic development. Ed Miliband's vision for cities such as


Birmingham. A shock for water workers


investigating stinking sewers in Telford ` had they found de`d


piranha fish? And not much to rave about hn the


weather this week, but then again no real cause for complaint, though the


rise and fall in temperaturds might be something to keep an eye on. More


on those later. Good evening. A family with a


severely autistic teenage son was placed at unnecessary risk because


Birmingham City Council failed to provide them with enough support.


That's the finding of the Local Government Ombudsman who's now cold


on the council to take action and pay compensation. It was in October


2012 that Sally Clarke from Kings Norton first contacted the council


to ask for help with her son, Charlie. But by February 2003, the


council had closed the case without telling her. Both Sally Clarke and


Charlie's school continued to plead for help, but it was only when the


ombudsman intervened in Jantary this year that the council admitted it


had failed. Joanne Writtle reports. Charlie is severely autistic. His


family in Birmingham need a lot of support. Last year, he was very


violent and stuff. I think hormonal as well, it played a part. We were


having to deal with a lot of violence and self injuries `s well,


which was tough. Charlie spends most of his time at a


specialist residential home. But at weekends, his family was left to


manage without help. They eventually had to go to the local government


ombudsman to force Birmingh`m City Council to re`think.


This was a young man, he was quite capable of overpowering his mother


and she was physically assatlted and was at risk of that. The cotncil


delayed conducting an assessment, and this goes back a couple of years


now, and what I've asked for in my recommendations is to make sure an


assessment is carried out as soon as possible, indeed, with a month and a


proper plan is put in place so that she is no longer at risk of harm. I


think it is lack of funding. There's just not enough funding for


people like Charlie, autisthc people and people with disabilities


generally. There's just not enough funding in those areas for the


services that people need. Only three weeks ago, Birmingham


City Council was ordered to pay compensation to the mother of


another unnamed child with special needs because she wasn't getting the


support she should have. Me`nwhile, the council says it's apologised to


Charlie Clarke's family, saxing it will now re`assess his needs to


ensure he gets appropriate care It's been really stressful. I'm just


holding it together now. I'l coming out the other side of it. It's been


a tough year. Charlie's mother will also be paid


more than ?1,000 in compens`tion for the council's failure to help her


cope with her son's actions. Joining us now from our London


studio is Simon Shaw from the National Autistic Society. Good


evening to you, Mr Shaw. Is this sort of failing comlon?


Yes, we hear of this are far too often, families who do not get the


support they need quickly enough from councils who are required to


provide services. It must leave affected families in


despair with nowhere to turn? Yes, families often talk about the stage


where young people are moving from children to adults services as a


cliff edge. It is important that councils do take action.


The government is reforming plans. Hopefully, this should happdn less


often. It comes to something when the ombudsman has to get involved.


Yes, it should not have got to the stage at all. Councils have a duty


to assess and meet the needs of people with autism in their area.


Why do you think councils do not get involved as much as they should Do


they not realise how import`nt it is? I think there are a number of


challenges for local authorhties. Fundamentally, it is a leaddrship


issue. Local authorities should ensure that autism is a key priority


for them. There are roughly one in 100 people who have autism so it


should be on the list of ardas they need to think about. Are yot


confident the sort of thing will not happen again? I think all local


authorities need to review their process. The new autism str`tegy


came out last week and this is an opportunity to introduce a


StepChange. Thank you. Thanks for joining us this dvening.


You're watching Midlands Today from the BBC. Coming up later in the


programme A vital meeting ` councillors decide tonight on


controversial plans to build some 30,000 new homes in Gloucestershire.


Arts and culture is bringing over ?170 million a year to Coventry and


Warwickshire and supporting hundreds of jobs. Now some of the cotnty s


biggest attractions, includhng Warwick Castle and the RSC, have


come together to highlight their importance to the local economy And


today the new CW8 group met with the head of the Arts Council to make


their case for continued support. Here's our Arts and Culture reporter


Satnam Rana. As the spring sun glistens on


Warwick Castle, tourists make their trip take in the medieval m`rvel.


This is just one of the eight leading arts and culture


organisations that have united to form CW8, a network to tell us and


businesses about the role they play in the local ecenomy. It is about


raising the profile. There hs limited funding for all of these


attractions individually and I think that we have a much greater voice


when we come together and ptsh our message collectively.


So what's the message? Well, the CW8, which includes the Roy`l


Shakespeare Company, brings 3.5 million visitors to Coventrx and


Warwickshire. The eight oganisations employ 1,400 full`time staff and


thousands more volunteers. @nd collectively, they turn over ?8


million. And this was the mdssage being sent to the chair of the Arts


Council in today's meeting `t the Warwick Arts Centre. The more that


the public realise what thex have on their doorstep, the more thdy will


use it and value it. Not only will they earn more from them, btt the


government will see how important the arts and culture is to people


and continue to fund us. Recently the Arts Council has been criticised


for not spending enough outside the southeast London, so today's meeting


was a reminder of what it c`n spend its money on here.


After the motor industry, the West Midlands is probably the most.. The


most important thing going on here is arts and culture. We've got a


national institution, the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the three


years up to 2015, the Arts Council will be investing more than ?60


million in the arts and culture in this area because it is verx


important. To many of us, a trip to attractions like Coventry C`thedral


is a day out. But cultural leaders want us to recognise the role they


play in our region. Today's meeting with the Arts Council wasn't just a


business pitch. It was also a moment to remind all of us about the value


of arts and culture on our doorstep, the value of Coventry Cathedral and


much more. And why? For every pound of public money, our money hnvested


in arts and culture, ?4 is generated to the wider economy income in


Coventry and Warwickshire. The Labour Leader has been hn


Birmingham to set out a vishon of devolved powers for Britain's major


cities. Ed Miliband said he planned to reverse a century of


centralisation to make sure the new city and county regions bec`me great


powerhouses of economic devdlopment. Our Political Editor Patrick Burns


was at the event and joins le now. Patrick, what's the thinking behind


this? It is the brainchild of Lord Adonis. Examining how major cities


can punch above their weight economic league and in skills and


technologies. There is a debate about greater Birmingham and I asked


Ed Birmingham Ed Vaizey expdcting other areas to buy into this. There


is a huge opportunity for authorities to come together, to


work together with a proper partnership and get much grdater


control over the things that matter to them ` transport, skills,


economic development ` so they can shape their own future. We have had


other ideas, like regional authorities, what is so difficult


about this? It is to find a broad econolic


sweep, but also keep" communities. It sounds like the notes stored and


turned report set out by thd former Conservative Prime Minister Lord


Heseltine `` Conservative mhnister Lord Heseltine.


I've talked very much about devolution from Whitehall to city


regions. If we are talking `bout balancing the economy of thd UK we


need to see growth in the chty regions and this is the way to do


it. And this is meant to be Ed Liliband


showing that he is coming up with original ideas, how original is it?


Opposition talks about and then starts centralising once in office.


Michael Heseltine proposed this 18 months ago and I put it to Dd


Miliband that he was rehashhng his ideas. How can you plan loc`l skill


needs and plan local budgets when it is controlled from London. We would


give power to areas like Birmingham and work with other councils to make


a real difference. He says the big thing is thhs is


backed up by devolved spendhng power worth ?20 billion.


Thieves have caused thousands of pounds worth of damage after


breaking into the Severn Arda Rescue base in the Wyre Forest. Thd windows


of two Land Rovers were smashed with fuel and one of the inflatable


rescue crafts stolen. A spokesman says it'll disrupt their abhlity to


respond if there's an emergdncy The M6 in Warwickshire is still


closed southbound after an `ccident involving two lorries and two cars


this morning. The carriagew`y between junctions three and two


won't be reopened until early tomorrow morning. The Highw`ys


Agency says the motorway nedds to be resurfaced. There is report of heavy


traffic in the area. A public inquiry has begun hnto


plans for a new multi`million pound business park around Coventry


Airport. Both Coventry City and Warwick District Councils h`ve


already approved the Gatewax scheme. But a government planning inspector


will make the final decision on the development being built on green


belt land. It could create tp to 14,000 jobs. Protests are expected


tomorrow as councillors in Gloucestershire vote on using green


belt to build new homes. More than 30,000 houses are planned for the


area around Cheltenham, Glotcester and Tewkesbury. The plans h`ve


proved to be especially controversial as Paul Barltrop


reports. The people have made their voices


heard repeatedly. Why are people pressing to build in


the green belt? This is going to be the biggest incursion into green


belt ever. For years, there've been protests


over the long term plan for where to put new housing around the county's


main urban areas. The focus now shifts to council chambers. This


evening, Gloucester councillors will assemble here to vote on thd plan.


They follow Tewkesbury, where members yesterday narrowly backed it


after a heated debate. And tomorrow protests are expected when the


strategy goes before Cheltenham councillors. Campaigner Richard


Lloyd will be at tonight's beating. `` meeting. It's very difficult The


government mantra is growth, growth, growth, but it's how you deliver it


in practice. The green belt was put in place to keep Gloucester and


Cheltenham apart, that is its primary purpose. It is therd for a


good reason. But the most sustainable location to put urban


extensions are into the gredn belt and you can't get away from that.


Visiting Gloucester today, the government's housing ministdr. He


meets the staff on the council's housing offices. They want to tackle


the shortage of housing. Thdre is a willingness to build and develop,


but whether it will meet thd demand, there are 240,000 new homes required


each year and we are nowherd there near that. It is something that has


to be addressed nationally `nd at local level.


The coalition know that new developments are often unpopular so


it has set rules to say councils cannot say no to all house building.


I am not going to debate about where it should be. That should bd about


local people making choices. We have said to councils, go out and have


those debates. These are tense moments. But I think it is hmportant


we don't just look at the f`ct that there will be a house built there.


Think about the local econoly in those communities which are


concerned at the moment. People will get a job as a consequence of that.


These were the last homes btilt by the council 25 years ago. There is a


determination for a new era of construction to begin.


This is our top story tonight: Apologies to the family of `


severely autistic teenager `fter they were left without adeqtate


support. Your detailed weather forec`st to


come shortly from Shefali. We could do without that bitter wind.


Also in tonight's programme. Can we all enjoy the wonders of


modern science? A series of special events in Birmingham are ailing to


make us do just that. And had they found dead pir`nhas? A


shock for council workers investigating extra smelly sewers in


Shropshire. If you have a story you think we


should be covering on Midlands Today, we'd like to hear from you.


There are calls tonight for more research as the number of


Parkinson's Disease patients is set to double over the next 20 xears. A


leading academic is in Downhng Street this evening saying that the


West Midlands is involved in some of the biggest drug trials in the


world, but more investment hs needed. Here's our Health


correspondent, Michele Padu`no. Imagine never being able to stand or


sit perfectly still. At 56, Barrie Smith is, through illness, having to


retire and spend more time hn his garden. His Parkinsons symptoms mean


he can move but not keep sthll. I can hoe perfectly well. I c`n't hold


the hoe very well. Because ly resting tremor kicks in. And the


more I try to stop it, the worse it will get. Barrie takes pills for the


missing dopamine in his rain. Recently he was admitted to hospital


and had access to drugs. But Parkinsons UK says ignorancd means


six in ten patients are affdcted. In some parts of the country, people


find great difficulty in getting their drugs at the time thex need


them. I can only imagine th`t that is pretty much like a living hell.


At City Hospital, they're aware that, with an ageing population


Parkinson rates are set to double in 20 years. Parkinsons patients are


prone to falls and injuries. More work needs to be done to stop


into hospital in the first place. At into hospital in the first place. At


the moment, there are 75,000 admissions are you at the cost of


over ?100 million. Professor Carl Clark has just submitted a 05 year


study into the best treatment for Parkinsons to the prestigiots Lancet


journal, but today he will call on Government for more investmdnt. The


key message for the reception at Downing Street is that we are going


to have to face the problem of Parkinson's disease just as people


have to face the problem of dementia, which I think people are


more familiar with. He's hoping that at Number Ten, he will be ptshing on


an open door. Michele Paduano, BBC Midlands Today.


From steam engines to beer brewing there's a long, proud history of


scientific invention in Birlingham and the wider Midlands. Now


Birmingham is launching its first`ever year of science with all


sorts of events for all sorts of ages. We sent our Science


Correspondent David Gregory`Kumar along to find out more and he joins


us now from the Library of Birmingham where the Year of Science


was launched. David, what c`n we expect?


We got a taste of what we c`n expect today. There were hands on


experiments for children of all ages. Some of top scientists from


our universities were on hand to explain what we can expect.


In front of the Library of Birmingham Science, buskers attract


the crowds. Inside Marmite, robots and plenty of liquid nitrogdn


introduce Birmingham's Year of Science. It's astounding. Wd've got


a range of really brilliant researchers, including rese`rchers


from the universities in Birmingham. It's an opportunity for people to


come and hear about that research and to engage in dialogue as well,


to ask questions, to find ott what implications are of that schence for


themselves in their own livds, for making political and economhc


decisions and all those sort of things.


In Birmingham and the Midlands, science is a serious business.


Today, we've got a really strong scientific background as well. We've


got 40% growth over the last eight years within the science sector one


of the fastest`growing areas of the economy. We've also got 14,000


students who are years studxing science, more than any other


regional city. Not far from today's launch event,


we find this statute Boulten, Watts and Murdoch who did everythhng from


steam engines to improving the brewing process. They are a sign of


the long and proud scientifhc tradition of Birmingham and the


Midlands. And recognising that history, the year will culmhnate in


the British Science Festival in September. A massive sciencd event


that has been going since 1831. We want to really make science a


part of a city's life for a week. We want to say this is the biggest


thing you should be thinking about. We want to have events, talks,


ideas, drama, comedy all focused around science. It is there so the


public can see what science is really about and connect with


scientists. A year of science in this most


scientific of cities. If yot are wondering what they were dohng at


the end, I think it was an experiment to work out lung


capacity. If all this has ghven you a taster for wanting to learn more,


you can find all the details on our Facebook page. There are pldnty of


events, many of them free and for all levels of scientific


understanding. For me, the highlight will be in the autumn. They say


there was not even a word for scientist when the first schence


festival took place in 1831. Education as always.


Would I be right in thinking that many people at some point m`y have


flushed a dead goldfish down the toilet? Well, imagine the strprise


Severn Trent workers got whdn they went to clear a very smelly drain in


Telford and found what they believed to be piranhas blocking the pipe.


Yes, piranhas! Ben Sidwell reports.


There's something fishy that's been plaguing the residents of Ndw Street


in Madeley, but even they wdren t expecting the horrors that lurking


down below. I just came and the manhole cover came up and when I


looked down, there was a piranha down there.


Barry Briggs, who first cold for help, knows a thing or two `bout


fish, he's got plenty in his back garden. But even he was shocked when


he found out what had been causing the stench in the street. You would


like to think they are in somebody's house, not in thd drains.


The last thing you want to be is on the toilet when one of them pops up.


This is what Severn Trent workman came face to face with when they


went to investigate below the ground. It's not everyday that we


find fish, particularly big fish the sewers so we were surprised. And


it's not just piranhas. In January, a blockage near Bridgnorth was


caused by piles of pants th`t had been flushed down the toilet. With


planners in the water systel, it's time to call in the experts. At


Ripples Waterlife in Telford, there's rather a snappy trade on the


more dangerous varieties of fish. But whatever type you have, the


advice is not to flush them down the loo. It would be better to bury


them, or burn them on a bonfire something like that. If you put them


in the bin, they will start to smell. If you put them down the


toilet, they can block it. So what does Arron make of the toothy terror


lurking in Shropshire's sewdrs? This is the fish. It's not `


piranha. Hopefully tonight they ll sleep more soundly in their beds in


New Road, knowing the worst the fish in the sewers will give thel is a


nasty suck. Smelly sewers aside, what's in the


air tonight, Shefali? Nothing as nasty as that. Now the


coalfish lashing out at us. All pretty good this week. It whll be


relatively warm during the day, but watch out for prostate


`` frosty nights. High pressure is very much in control. There is a


cold front descending from the North on Thursday night. But I thhnk the


effects of that will be weakened by that high pressure. We are just


talking about light, patchy rain. This evening, and for the fhrst part


of tonight, clear skies. Temperatures could fall lowdr than


last night, three Celsius. We could see some patchy frost first thing.


In towns and cities, lows of five or six Celsius. More moisture heading


in from the North West giving us some patchy mist and fog for the


morning. Starting off on a larket note tomorrow morning, cloudy. ``


murky. Sunshine later, but that could set of odd shower.


Temperatures rising to about 13`14 Celsius, reasonably warm. More in


the way of cloud tomorrow nhght and the breeze could pick up as well.


Just the odd shower he had `nd there. Some rain later in the day.


Don't forget, I'm going to be presenting two radio shows on BBC


Coventry and Warwickshire over the Easter holiday ` at 6pm on Good


Friday and Easter Monday. And I m hoping that listeners will get in


touch with their questions on Twitter.


It would be good if you could get those questions in two me bx the end


of the day. Tonight's headlines from thd BBC.


The Oscar Pistorius murder trial ` the athlete relives the momdnt he


shot his girlfriend. And history is made as Irel`nd's


president is welcomed by thd Queen for the first official statd visit


to Britain. And apologies to the family of a


severely autistic teenager `fter they were left without adeqtate


support. Warwick Castle and Coventry


Cathedral are getting together to build it even more success.


That was the Midlands Today. I'll be back at ten o'clock, with the latest


football scores. Have a gre`t evening. Goodbye.


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