Wednesday, 29 April 2020

from Cllr Ken Pollock re Illey Lane

Dear Ken - it is very nice to hear from you

My clarification is in blue, below

Dear Mr Weller,

Thank you for your email. I am unsure about what you were doing and where it was.  Therefore, Ken don't you think you first need to be sure of your facts?  

You seem to think you are allowed to prepare a path along the public verge. If you are not on the public verge, you are on private land that does not belong to you.  There has been a path along the public verge ever since it was created, many decades ago between Illey Mill and Bromsgrove Road.  I was simply making it clearer on the grass verge to bypass the bluebells that your County Council tractor, last year had squashed and destroyed by its wheel tracks.  On the section SE of the grass verge, the woodland verge of the public highway, I was simply re-clearing the path along your side of the boundary post and rail fence, next to the overgrown, neglected and overgrown woodland in your ownership.  I was doing your work for you, since your staff have the funds for their salaries and wages but, it seems, not the funds to do the rather necessary work to keep the public safe by properly maintaining the path, grass verge and woodland.

The many more walkers enjoying their daily coronavirus exercise walk were having to use the tarmac on this narrow, busy and fast country lane.  Their safety was being put at risk with, sometimes cars, vans, trucks and lorries having to brake, swerve and accelerate around them.

Please, Ken could you give me your active support for the footpath to be made a public right of way, with signs and waymarking?  It is entirely on your land for which you are responsible.

In both cases, what you are doing is illegal and hence the council employee has remonstrated with you to get you to stop. You do not seem to want to accept that instruction. In the circumstances, it is not surprising he was angry with you.  Your self proclaimed Mr James of Bromsgrove District Council, on three occasions, behaved inappropriately as an officer of your council.  Far from remonstrating with me, he threatened to beat me up and, if I remember correctly, on Sunday morning 19 April, he said he was going to kill me.  In his efforts to do so, he plunged his arms and body into the hedge, through the boundary post and rail fence, and grabbed the handlebars of my bike to stop me riding off.  Yet, a couple of minutes earlier he shouted at me to "Get away or I'm going to come round and beat you up."  Exactly what I was trying to do - get away!  Two or three of his friends gathered around him and did nothing to restrain this violent man.  All of them were breaking coronavirus law in breaking the social distancing rule.

I thought I had made this clear in my statement to you.  However, you wrote,
He would have been within his rights to arrest you for wilful damage.

Even your second motorbike officer, whom I obeyed immediately when he impatiently shoved his ID in front of me at my request, was unable to understand about public safety on the public highway.  He was most insistent that pruning the hedge to reinstate the path was all on private land.  I thought the stems of the hedge have been part of the public highway for all the 44 years I have lived in Halesowen.  The fence, I have always thought was on the boundary.  Could you confirm that, please?

Clearly, you do not accept that, and I would be pleased to know how you can justify your actions.  Clearly, my friend, I do think you need to re-read my full statement, below and quickly act to put things right, to safeguard my safety and to ensure that this intimidation by one of your supposed officers is stopped.  I would ask that public safety is put at the top of your agenda by the reinstated path being officially recognised as a public right of way on the public highway.

Best regards,
With every good wish and thanks so much for your interest in giving me your thoughts.  I always welcome your thoughts and ideas.

Ken Pollock

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Roger Harrabin on 'Today' on 27 April 2020

This morning at 6.35, on the 'Today' programme, Roger Harrabin was interviewed about 'Build Back Better'.  He said, "Plans to tackle climate change are really struggling badly ... long term emission trends are up not down, governments are diverted and cash is being swallowed in by the virus. ... LibDems are saying we now have to bail out airlines."  NO!  Some, like the "economist Nicholas Stern, chair of the Granth am Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics (LSE)" - Wikipedia, are wanting to ensure things stay as they are in many ways as the 'new normal', rather than going back to the thoughtless, greedy growth of everything and everyone at any cost that brings eventual ecocide and extinction.

Sunday, 26 April 2020


I suggest the key message be:

"Dear friends
ILLEY LANE FOOTPATH on land owned by Highways
I/We would like the County Council to allow Tim Weller to finish the path he started to dig out.  His path keeps close to the hedge until the bluebells are passed, and then he will swing the path down onto the narrow path that is forming at the Bromsgrove Road end of the grass verge.
Thank you for letting him do this much-needed work to improve road safety by encouraging walkers to keep off this busy country lane."

Please write to: and

“USE IT OR LOSE IT for your daily coronavirus exercise. I have opened it to avoid walking on the tarmac that makes cars swerve round walkers. Please use the new path that is being cut by the hedge, well away from the road.
It starts where Illey Lane meets Bromsgrove Road near the original, white toll house on the road to Hunnington and Romsley.
I cannot finish the path until Worcestershire County Council gives me the go ahead. PLEASE SUPPORT MY EFFORTS to keep walkers and motorists well apart by using the delightful path and secret passage that even has an ivy-covered floor to walk over in one place. The path is on a high embankment above the road, follows the fence and ends at the stile for the footpath network, at Illey Mill. You do need strong shoes or boots. TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK, please.

Instructions for finding the Illey Lane secret passage path

Thanks, Claire for taking a look.
Illey Mill is the deceptively looking 'derelict' house on Illey Lane by the road bridge over Illey Brook.  On the other side of the brook from the house and on the same side of the road as the 'boarded up' house, is a rough, unmaintained, pull in for cars to park.  The new path is directly above where the cars park.  You walk up a grassy slope with a half-broken wooden stile behind you (don't go over it).  The path, towards Halesowen, takes you alongside a post and rail fence and hedge until it comes out on the grass and bluebell covered road verge where I started digging out a path away from the bluebells last week.  Until the Council stopped me!
What I call the toll house is the white house on Bromsgrove Road at its junction with Illey Lane.  One fork of Illey Lane takes you along the side of this toll house and is now no longer a road but a tarmaced path.
Please try again to find the Illey Lane secret passage footpath with its S bend section as you slide round trees in the middle of the path and walk over an ivy-covered carpet - and then keep walking - forever!!
It is very good of you to write, Barry.  Always nice to hear from you.

On the social networking site, NextDoor, a few people have written in agreement and thanks for what I have done in making this 400 metre path through and above the roadside verge.  I think it will get used and public support will win over Worcestershire County Council to let me finish the path round the bluebells and connecting with a narrow path being worn out at the Bromsgrove Road end.

I wrote about last week's incidents because it makes for more interesting, varied and fun stuff than what I normally write.  It is always more entertaining when things go wrong and unusual things happen.  But it really is a beautiful, squeeze through in places and, elsewhere, slide through an S bend of trees in the middle of the path, to end up at an old mill next to a house that, from the 'front' is most deceptive!

Your writing and support is so much appreciated.  Thanks, Barry.


Saturday, 25 April 2020

Letter to Richard Clewer re Illey Lane public footpath

Dear Richard and Ruth

Is it acceptable for your County Council tractor to drive through an area of bluebells on a roadside verge, when you are promoting such verges to become nature reserves?

Is it acceptable for your Motorcycle Liaison Officer, yesterday morning, to tell me that a single tractor wheel track is the public footpath?  There remains the bluebells between the two tractor wheel tracks where the tractor went over them.  There are no bluebells in the wheel ruts themselves because of the soil compaction from the tractor.

The footpath that I started to dig keeps round the nature reserve verge and above it, next to the hedge.  Walkers are able to look down and across to see the bluebells from my public path.  My attractive path, with its ivy-covered floor in one area, continues high on the embankment and next to the farmers' fences to Illey Mill.

I hope you will allow me to finish the path and, that it will be made an official public right of way to be included on the definitive map.  I will keep it free of brambles and overgrowing hawthorn, until my demise but, walkers using the path will keep down other vegetation growth themselves.

Are you both at all concerned at the continuing loss of rural public footpaths as economic and population growth, with dangerous ecological damage as Attenborough warns us, continues to lead to rural becoming urban with yet more concrete, brick and tarmac?

Could the County Council be liable if there is an accident on this section of Illey Lane involving a pedestrian when you are not promoting, let alone providing, the off-road alternative, viz the public footpath?  And, it now needs to be signed, at both ends, to reduce the risk of injury and death to walkers who might, otherwise not realise the existence of the path.

Should road safety be your overriding concern, especially as more people are out walking as part of their daily coronavirus exercise?  And my path is a very necessary and, up to now, a completely overlooked provision to connect Halesowen with your footpath network at Illey Mill.

I look forward to receiving your answers, from both of you, please.

Yours sincerely

Tim Weller

Friday, 24 April 2020

Harassment, arrogance, threats and unacceptable behaviour in Illey Lane

Sunday morning, 19 April 2020

Thuggish behaviour, lawlessness and harassment in quiet, so respectable, heavenly Hunnington and Illey - that makes this all the more surprising!

Guerrilla gardener is threatened with being beaten up by an Alsatian dog handler.

After Worcestershire County Council declined to cut a very basic path to keep walkers off a busy country lane, I decided to do something about it myself to help us stay safe.  I was at the very end of re-clearing a path through the roadside one-third of an old double rowed hedge at Illey Lane, Hunnington, near Halesowen where I live.  A very large bramble bush covered the bank between the road and hedge and it was that that forced walkers onto the tarmac.

On the other side of the hedge and fence, on Sunday morning 19 April there were dog handlers in training.  One of them saw me and angrily told me to clear off, which I did, almost immediately.  The man thought that his dogs would escape through the fence and hedge, said I was destroying birds' nests and that I had no insurance.  I had cut back one third for a narrow path.  Unfortunately, as I walked back along the cleared path, with him on the other side of the hedge and fence, the realisation dawned on him that I had cleared even more than he had first thought.  He became even angrier, with a host of expletives, the most shocking language of obscenities and threats to beat me up.  I think he said that he would kill me.  I got back to the bike, with the front wheel against the fence under the hedge.  He then stuck his body and arms through the hedge and grabbed the handlebars.  There was then a tussle between me and him as I tried to get the bike off him to hurriedly cycle away.  Thankfully, the sharp spikes of the hawthorn made him release the bike and I speedily raced off to avoid the physical confrontation that he was threatening.  I got clean away, shaken but without any injuries.

Do visit Illey Lane, and use the more civilised way of walking it by a pleasant enough secret passage through woodland, over a carpet of ivy and high above and away from the traffic, to Illey Mill.  The new path is on either side of the disused Halesowen Railway on Illey Lane. I have also re-cleared a second path that, this time, is alongside the railway and is a public right of way for walking from Hunnington cricket ground.  Both new paths are part of a circular, Covid-19 permitted daily exercise walk.

I would like to ask that, from now on please, tractors do not use the roadside verge except when the ground is dry and their tracks cannot sink into the ground.  At the moment, there are bluebells in flower between the tractor tracks.  The tractor was probably used to clear the brambles from making it impossible for the public to walk the roadside verge.  Hence, the need for my path - please that only goes through stinging nettles and cow parsley at this time of year.  And I do know that last year, I had asked for the roadside verge to be cut to enable us all to walk on it instead of on the road. 

Wednesday afternoon 22 April 2020  
The first officer on a motorbike visited (see details of the phone message left in the morning, below).  When I asked his name he said "James from Bromsgrove District Council".  When I asked for his surname, he said that was it.  He broke my spade when I had just locked it up to the base of a hawthorn.  He was so angry, he grabbed the metal blade that came away in his hand and the handle was left locked to the tree.  He behaved suspiciously like the man who threatened to beat me up on Sunday morning, if not to kill me, for my public-spirited action in re-clearing the path to keep walkers safe.  So I did comply with his threats to stop and fled the scene to escape his ​possible ​assault.  In my hurry to get away from him, I left behind my long-handled pruners. When I came back shortly afterwards, the pruners had gone and he had ripped up and walked off with the string and poles I was using to cut the path straight.  This officer of yours must have taken them because there was no-one else around all afternoon.  No cyclist or motorist would have bothered to stop or even have seen the tools from the road.

I reported the matter to the police.  Is he your officer from Bromsgrove District Council?

Friday 24 April 2020
I had a second visit from one of your officers on a motorbike, as I was creating a safe route for walkers away from the busy, 60 mph Illey Lane at its Hunnington/Halesowen end.  At present, walkers walk on the road for 438 metres (Google maps) from Illey Mill and the public right of way that ends there to where there is the fork in Illey Lane and the right-hand branch is now a footway.

I also stopped all work when this morning's officer told me.  This man rather impatiently and brusquely showed me his ID, as if I had no right to ask for it.  I was not near enough to be able to read it.  His attitude, like the first, also left much to be desired.  A little arrogant and uncalled for, I thought.  He was most insistent that the boundary between your WCC land and that of Philip Bibbey’s was the hedge and not the post and rail fence.  He said that the hedge came first and was put on the boundary.  How on earth could he have known that?  But where I cut was still Highways owned land, was it not?

Unfortunately, we both had to raise our voices because of social distancing rules, the noisy road, the motorbike idling and, the officer kept his helmet on that also included ear muffs to receive phone calls.  I explained I was a guerrilla gardener that, in Britain has a proud tradition in beautifying otherwise neglected places, like Illey Lane Nature Reserve.  I said I was a public-spirited guy who is saving public money in all my volunteering work.

I did try but was interrupted when I would have gone on to explain that the parish paths' warden and I had cleared and reopened the cul de sac right of way from near Hunnington railway station, south to the next field, in January and February of last year.  Since then, we had both been maintaining it and keeping it open.  In fact, I have now straightened twelve of the old 19th century concrete railway posts on either side of the ancient farm cart track.  And, I am continuing to root up the bramble root balls between all the posts on the west, field side of the public footpath.

I think, two years ago, in 2018, and certainly in 2019, I had asked for the bramble bush to be cut through so that we could continue to walk off the tarmac when walking from Halesowen to Illey Mill on the roadside verge.  I cut through the wide bramble bush in 2018 but it is quite impossible for me to persevere with that particular job, with brambles being so invasive and rampant.  And, so quickly impossible to walk through.  However, the county council declined my request.  Hence, I continued my much more attractive path above the brambles, on top of the bank and by the hedge.

27 April 2020
Yet more harassment, arrogance, threats and unacceptable behaviour by Mr James of Bromsgrove District Council in Illey Lane.

This afternoon, I was about to leave on my bike from the Illey Mill end of the newly re-cleared footpath when Mr James of Bromsgrove drew up on his motorbike.  Once more, he behaved like a thuggish Scottish laird or lord of the manor. He ranted and raved at me for being on the path, again for having no liability insurance and for my having sent e-mails via NextDoor, the social media site talking about a path with a carpet of ivy over which you walked.  He told me he would be blocking the path and putting notices up warning people off from going on it.  When I asked him to step back to obey the two metre distancing rule he came even closer.  Your other officer on the 24 April did step back when I mentioned about the social distancing. The fact that your officer spoke about my lack of insurance does reinforce the thought that he must be the same man who laid into me on the 19 April who also condemned me for no insurance and also ordered me to stop and keep away from the path, then.

Your Mr James, on the 27 April, shouted at me for destroying bats in the woodland but, this time, did not mention nesting birds as was the case on the 19 April and phone message on the 22 April.  But he said that he was not that man.  There is another man who does dog training and it's not him.  He said he was not Paul Howard whose face I recognised on Facebook.  He told me I was a maniac for doing what I was doing and I was never to return.  I said little in order not to provoke an assault and because there was no point.  He could not be reasoned with. When I eventually asked if I could go, he finally let me pass him on the narrow path with my bike.

Two phone calls from the same man
On the 15 June 2019, according to my phone's record, he rang me. This was about a stolen lawnmower from one of the sheds next to the railway line on the farmer's field that the dog trainers use. I know this man as Paul Howard from the fish and chip shop in Dudley Road, Halesowen called 'Our Plaice'. He wanted me to pay £750 in compensation for reintroducing access to the top of the bank alongside his dog training field. Or, to get the money from my third party public liability insurers. I did neither.

The second phone call was on Wednesday 22 April at 1014 hrs from Bromsgrove Council. I picked up the phone quickly but the caller put the phone down and left a message instead of speaking to me. The message was that I was "to stop cutting grass and stuff in Illey Lane, to stop cutting trees when birds were nesting and one of my staff from the Bromsgrove office of the County Council would be up there shortly and I would be fined". I checked the number on the message and it was the same as the one that the man I know as Paul Howard gave me in 2017, on the very first occasion I met him after the farmer had given me permission to go into the field.

Do you know whom I am referring to?

Will you please investigate these incidents and tell me what you have done about these matters.  Both officers need to be spoken to about their unfortunate, unreasonable and belligerent approach to a member of the public. And, for stealing my long-handled pruners, string and poles. The pruners have 'HWG' stamped on them, for Halesowen Wildlife Group. Thank you.

ADDITION to my complaint, dated 28.4.2020
I have just remembered these events.  Verbal assaults and fearing physical.

On the 22 April, two cyclists were so alarmed by the angry behaviour of Bromsgrove DC's Mr James that they stopped and asked, "Do you want any help?  Are you all right?"  I foolishly said, "I'm OK" and they went on their way.  I should have asked them to ring for the Police and then I might still have my loppers.
Everyone, including NextDoor, have expressed appreciation for my efforts on both footpaths, except for your Mr James and one driver who pulled up and asked what I was doing.  I explained and said, "I hope you like it" and he replied, "Not really".

Six walkers, yesterday 27 April, were all delightful in their reaction when I told them about the secret path to avoid them using the road.  Then there came along, on his motorbike, Mr Over the Top Blazing Angry James who ranted and raved once more, as I described and, was most intimidating.  And, I was unable to get away because I had the pushbike and he blocked me from going down my only escape route.  I had to wait for him to get over his self-righteous outburst.  Thankfully, I had my cycle helmet on to protect me from any assault.  I was waiting for the attack as I pushed the bike past him.

This is the man, your member of staff, whom you are backing up to the hilt.  You are reinforcing his anti-social and intolerant, dangerous behaviour.

Tim Weller

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

FoI request re Merry Hill Shopping Centre

  1. Could you please send me all reports and minutes of meetings, going back to the 1980s, that concern all discussions over the Richardsons' monorail, the Metro tram and the nearby, Brierley Hill, 120 Kms intercity Worcester, Black Country, Derby railway.
  2. Did PTA/Centro ever suggest or discuss the monorail being extended to the intercity railway to await its reopening asap?
  3. On what date did it take its first fare-paying passenger?
  4. On what date the monorail close?
  5. Why was the monorail closed in the 1990s?
  6. What was the date of its last fare-paying passengers?
  7. Did PTA/Centro ever discuss the possibility of reinstating the passenger railway at the Waterfront/Round Oak?
  8. What were the reasons for always rejecting the railway being completed and new stations built?
  9. Since the formation of MMA/TfWM/WMCA has there been any review or discussion to finish the double-track Worcester to Derby railway to serve Merry Hill, Brierley Hill and the rest of the Black Country?
  10. Can I please have sight of those discussions and minutes?
  11. Why, in nearly forty years, has Metro trams always been the chosen option for the UK's last, virtually ready built, fully available but the forgot the trains and some stations, principal mainline 120 Kms railway?
  12. Unlike other councils in the UK, eg Edinburgh in 2019, why has there never been a debate and vote in a single West Midlands council chamber over the wisdom of proceeding with a rebuilt tram network on the railway network instead of using railway trains?
  13. Is this oversight a matter of failing to follow correct procedures?
  14. Please comment and rebut my own comments above each of the three photos, below.
MY PHOTOS: what you see described by one person as 'bizarre'; another called it 'bonkers':
Wasted 56 Kms from Stourbridge Jct to Burton on Trent on the ready built, but only half used, 120 Kms Worcester to Derby principal mainline railway.
Since the 1980s, the intention remains to fell these trees for an embankment/viaduct for the Metro tram when, 600m away, is the half-finished, half-used principal mainline railway that needs finishing and not wasted, unused and even destroyed in places:
When the 6 lane motorway opened in Dec 2003 with private money, it was half the estimated price per Km of the WBHE (Dudley) tram construction
16 years have passed for metal thieves to pinch the up line.  It is taking an eternity and more to get the trains back because of Metro.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Guerrilla gardener is threatened with ...

Guerrilla gardener is threatened with being beaten up by an Alsatian dog handler.

After Worcestershire County Council declined to provide a path to keep walkers off a busy country lane, I decided to do something about it myself.  I was at the very end of clearing a path through the roadside half of an old double rowed hedge at Illey Lane, Hunnington, near Halesowen where I live.  A very large bramble bush covered the bank between the road and hedge and it was that that forced walkers onto the tarmac.

On the other side of the hedge, yesterday, a Sunday morning were the dog handlers in training.  One of them saw me on the other side of the fence and hedge and angrily told me to clear off, which I did, almost immediately.  The man thought that his dogs would escape through the fence and now less thick hedge.  I had cut back one third.  Unfortunately, as I walked back along the cleared path, with him on the other side of the hedge, the realisation dawned upon him that I had cleared even more than he had first thought.  He became even more angry, with a host of expletives, the most shocking language and threats to beat me up.  I think he said that he would kill me.  I got back to the bike, with the front wheel against the fence under the hedge.  He then stuck his body and arms through the hedge and grabbed the handlebars.  There was then a tussle between me and him as I tried to get the bike off him to hurriedly cycle away.  Thankfully, the sharp spikes of the hawthorn made him release the bike and I speedily raced off to avoid the physical confrontation that he was threatening.  I got clean away, shaken but without any injuries.

Do visit Illey Lane, and use the more civilised way of walking it by a pleasant enough secret passage through woodland, over a carpet of ivy and high above and away from the traffic to Illey Mill.  The new path is on either side of the disused Halesowen Railway that I have also re-cleared for partial walking from Hunnington cricket ground.  Both new paths are part of a circular, Covid-19 permitted exercise walk!



National HS2 scandal = Local Metro scandal and misuse of a good railway and, taxpayers' money

Thanks, Rosanne for your "HS2 is STILL going forward... can you believe it.    Could we bombard Susanne Webb???"
I am as flabbergasted as you are that £106 billion is still being spent on such an irrelevant, wasteful and such an alarming crisis deepening matter that simply makes everything worse, especially the exhaustion of all finite resources like fossil fuels - and, climate horrors.

But what is equally shocking and our own, local, HS2 scandal is £15 BILLION to 2040 on mainly replacing buses with Metro under the ground and over the ground.  You should be livid!  Some of the money is to put the trains back (success) but not to finish our second mainline railway at Stourbridge as the intercity and regional service it once was.
  • Why are you all and everyone, not up in arms at your own mainline railway sitting there for 50 years doing nothing?
  • NEXT YEAR, now, the main works start in completely stopping it from it ever being the successful railway that it was for 100 years until 60 years ago.
  • Why are you all, in Stourbridge, so laid back at the UK's last and your very own supposedly safeguarded, already built and available railway, still being converted to tram line and test track after nearly 40 years of Metro planning and work?
  • All the effort going in to get Dudley MBC to declare a climate emergency (to make it officially hypocritical, by the way, because nothing will change) should be going into doing something positive and practical to lessen the emergency by stopping Metro, the test track and the extended cycle-walkway wrecking the 120 Kms railway.
  • Why, when the middle half is missing all trains but is fully built and available, you good Stourbridge people, still are so relaxed and allow yourselves to be walked all over?
  • You should all be scandalised that Dudley gets hundreds of million pounds spent on a rundown Dudley town shopping centre when Metro will make it even easier for Dudley town people to nip on the tram to Merry Hill!
  • And Stourbridge is still left out on a limb, isolated, with the unused railway between Brierley Hill and Stourbridge Junction sitting there empty - apart from the goods trains.
Return to the good ol' cottage industry of the past, as my wife is doing in churning out hospital uniforms/scrubs.  Let's keep people working from home, when at all possible.

Tim - 3 photos to drool over, below, in case you haven't already done so!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Background to the monorail and Metro at Merry Hill

Please try opening the attachment, below of the magnificent white trees.  Where they stand, between Dudley Canal and the road called Embankment, has been on the published path of the trams since the 1980s.  I can assure you that the project is that old.  The route of the tram still, to this day, runs next to the towpath between Level Street and the flat land, where I would like to see housing for the least wealthy.  At that point, where I have my over 20 year old landscape enhancement scheme, the tram line turns sharply to cross the canal to terminate in Cottage Street.

Since the 1980s, the brothers, Don and Roy Richardson who built the shopping centre on Merry Hill Farm land and on the site of the steel works, also built the monorail.  I think it is very likely that because of the councillors' plans to build the tram line, their excellent monorail was never given permission to connect with the principal mainline railway at Round Oak steel terminal that should have reopened for passenger trains then, of course.  Centro and the PTA - Passenger Transport Authority - (the councillors supposedly in charge), since 1981 have been determined to rebuild the tram network that they had mistakenly closed and dismantled only twenty years earlier in the 1950s.

Centro must have known of the monorail scheme by the private sector Richardsons but must have stopped the monorail going all the way to the mainline railway because of their superior plans for a network of trams on railways and roads.  Is this correct?  What does Roy Richardson say?  He has never responded to my approaches via Ninder Johal.  He might do to yours, Brad.  The monorail terminated next to the road that was next to the canal that was next to the railway line and Round Oak steel terminal freight station.

I see the 40 year old Metro tram project as empire building by Centro and the councillors of the PTA because they thought that only flash, swanky, electric trams could attract car drivers out of their cars onto public transport.  Trams always had priority over trains for the authorities.  Even the railway industry itself - including the railway unions that have never been bothered with their railway infrastructure being lost and the decline of their own industry.

The trams took over the first mainline railway from Snow Hill station to nearly as far as Wolverhampton's second principal mainline station called Low Level, next to the present one.  Except, it fell short by 2 Kms and was not even connected to the bus station, let alone Wolverhampton High Level station that now remains in use as the city's only station.  25% of Snow Hill station remains wasted because platform 4 was used by the trams until 2016 when the tram line was extended and opened to bypass Snow Hill station and connect, instead with Grand Central Shopping Centre and Diesel Perfumed Underground Station (in the basement of the John Lewis store).

Centro (now TfWM/WMCA/MMA) and the councillors' next tram line remains to take over our second mainline railway that is even more important than the first that was spoilt by trams when they started running in 1999.  This second is the half-used, half-finished, Worcester, Black Country, Derby "railway of national strategic significance".  DfT letter, here:
However, clearly, it is not of sufficient "national strategic significance" for it to be finished with passenger or even freight trains.  Only, as a shuttle tram line of 6.7 Kms in two nibble sized sections of the nationally important railway, a 2 Kms test track, a trail of trees and, as a cycle-walkway, of all things.  As a result, we have to have £106 BILLION of greenhouse gas emissions (more deadly than the virus) to give more capacity after frequent stopping "bus on rails" trams have taken over railway lines!

With best wishes

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Michael Portillo's TV's programme on the 1962 Cuban crisis

30 November 2018

Dear Michael

You mentioned American aggression in depth charging the Russian submarines that could easily have sunk one of them.  Does this not make the USA more culpable, especially when you omitted to mention the American Jupiter missiles on the border with the USSR, in Turkey that could have given the 'enemy' the idea of doing the same by making use of Cuba?  Or, am I misinformed?

With my ongoing campaign to get the UK's last, half finished and easily reinstated mainline railway of 120 Kms, I add this:

"It would help if we put a stop to the 60 years old idiocy of destroying and wasting our railway network in the West Midlands.  Over 100 Kms gone for good and 106 Kms still used only for freight or mothballed. For 100 years, all 200 Kms were used for freight and passenger trains.  Totally unnecessary greenhouse gases are being added from people in the Black Country and Brum using cars when they could be using commuter and regional trains.  There are now moves to get 20 Kms back into use but that still leaves 86 Kms wasted. Of the 86 Kms left, trams on a total of 6.7 Kms will destroy any hope of getting the 56 Kms finished with trains from Derby to Devon via Dudley and Burton to Bristol via Brierley Hill.  And the only feasible site for a rebuilt Dudley Castle Hill railway station is being destroyed with buildings. And they are not station buildings!

£1.5 billion for tram routes and Sprint diesel buses to replace buses on those routes and to stop for ever commuter and regional trains from returning.  More money than sense. I think the sensible thing to do is to use all of that money to give fareless buses for all and not just the few; to replace diesel buses with electric; and, bring in 100% bus lanes and traffic light priority for buses.  The purpose is to free up road space for drivers who really do need their vehicles for their jobs. I’m the true friend of the motorist.

Best wishes and thanks for the great programmes.


Tuesday, 14 April 2020


December 2019 to March 2020 to prepare for the vicious virus, the authorities - local, regional and national twiddled their thumbs.  They failed to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.  Not a single thing, it seems.  No contact tracing, no extra supplies of PPE, test kits and extra ventilators.  But, continuing austerity for the NHS and social care that had started in 2010.

From 1988, with the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to the present to prepare for the Really Big Crisis - NOTHING.  Simply, business as usual.  Evermore and everlasting finite fossil fool politicians and their officers.  More deadly, catastrophic greenhouse gases.  We are sleepwalking into a nightmare of our own prevarication and complacency.

Monday, 13 April 2020

From muck to magic

Very nice of you to ask. Please compost everything biodegradable, even torn up card and paper; and cut up woody branches to make a wildlife habitat. From muck to magic to complete the wonderful cycle of life and death and life, once more.

Friday, 10 April 2020

from Jonathan at my invitation to ...

... to respond to, 'My thoughts on the new antisemitism' - on 8 August 2018
I think Jews/Israel are/is the victim, not the oppressors. The neighbouring Arab nations are the ones wanting to wipe them off the planet, not vice versa! Israel are defending their nation which we all have a right to do. It is a nation of peace and prosperity and of equality to all. A fine example of values we hold dear, yet thats why their neighbours hate them... They are different. It's frankly hypocritical to condemn them.
Hamas and the Palestinians make things worse for themselves by provoking Israel at every opportunity and playing the media into their hands. To believe the widespread media 100% is naive. You must be more open minded to the spiritual warfare also going on... 

That's my opinion."

Fare Free Public Transport

This is all excellent stuff, Bob. However, I am far more opposed to Metro trams and Sprint buses than you. I am opposed because of their gross extravagance and, therefore, high greenhouse gas emissions to worsen the climate crisis. The £15 billion going into trams replacing buses and trains, plus hundreds of millions for Sprint routes should be used for FFPT and for bringing in electric buses and trains. Both trams and Sprint complicate public transport with more changes, for example between bus and tram to get into the city centre from the west. Keep it simple with FFPT for all and, only electric buses feeding into and out of railway stations with their electric TRAINS (not trams!) instead of houses, offices, shops and cars on our remaining railway lines.

5 Quick Questions for your answers, please!

Was ours the right way to prepare for the virus crisis that emerged in December? The UK finally acted on 16 March with Boris Johnson's alarm to the nation talk.

Is this the right way to prepare for the climate crisis?  Spending £449.5 m to convert our intercity railway to tram line, test track and extended cycle-walkway?

Was it wise to prepare for the climate crisis by building a £4.33 m carbon intensive concrete wall for the tram line on the site of the former 120 Kms intercity Black Country railway between Worcester and Derby?

Is the virus crisis lockdown doing more to prepare for the climate crisis than the UK's many hypocritical declarations of a climate emergency?  A reduction in travel and economic activity has resulted in a drop in greenhouse gases.

Should a carbon allowance be worked out for every person or household, like the banding for council tax?

Wednesday, 8 April 2020



It does seem that nothing was done between December (start of the outbreak in Wuhan, China) and midnight on 16 March (start of lockdown) to plan, prepare and buy in products in case the virus arrived in the UK.

Similarly, when compared with the urgency and importance of responding to the climate crisis, virtually nothing was done from the foundation of the IPCC in 1988 to the present.  In 32 years, no response.  And still to this day.  Instead, the exact opposite was and is still being done:
  1. with major carbon intensive infrastructure projects like High Status 2 train line for £106 billion of greenhouse gases to compete with internal UK plane flights - just stop them and use existing and unused intercity railway lines like the 120 Kms Black Country Railway that must be finished;
  2. Work on the other 23 railway projects that need finishing, improving, modernising.
  3. Midland Metro trams replacing buses and trains to make for more road and railway congestion and slower public transport journeys (more changes and more traffic lights);
  4. Crossrail 2 for more travel and less working from home;
  5. £15 billion to 2040 for West Midlands underground and overground tram projects.
All are concrete intensive, so carbon intensive, so very high greenhouse gas emissions.  Therefore, scrap them.  The Chancellor's economic package to help the economic lockdown/turndown/depression sufferers, is so colossal that that alone should cause them all to be scrapped immediately.

  • The hundreds of billions would be better spent on basic income for all (the rich sharing their wealth with the less rich);
  • fare free public transport for all (not intercity, however);
  • working from home using broadband rolled out to remaining urban and all rural areas to discourage working in an office and to allow more shopping on line;
  • fossil fuel rationing or carbon allowance for each individual in the UK.

What do you think, Bob?


Monday, 6 April 2020


to instil some urgency into how changes in transport, jobs and housing policy can reduce the impact of human climate breakdown; and postpone Attenborough's "collapse of civilisations" and "extinction of much of the natural world" and "time is running out" warnings.

For a more sensible, cost-effective and easier ways to reduce congestion and pollution.  Fareless, electric buses for ALL; not for the few, like me!​  To free up road space for essential users.  Paid for by abandoning Metro, diesel Sprint and CAZ.

standing in elections is all part of good campaigning

to bring this scandal or anomaly, incompetence or oversight to the attention of the public by standing as a candidate in the hope that I can bring maximum embarrassment to the Combined Authority at the hustings.  I will be asking the public, at those meetings, if they do agree with what I am asking should be done or, are on your side.  I can't be fairer than that.

CRUCIAL QUESTION: "There is a half-completed principal mainline railway of 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby, via the Black Country.  The middle half is missing all trains but is fully built and available.  Should that middle half be given over to 6 Kms of trams with 2 Kms of a test track and extended cycle-walkway?  Or, should the mainline have its commuter, regional and intercity trains back on the full length?"

to continue the effort, the campaign to slow all 3 crises - virus, climate and urban railway negligence crisis.

Thoughts on coronavirus as a dress rehearsal for climate catastrophe

“Since the lockdown: Venice's canals have become crystal clear. Italy coasts have dolphins coming nearer and nearer. Japan now has deer roaming free in the streets, and Thailand: the same with monkeys. China has record breaking pollution cuts. The Earth has already began showing signs of amazing things that are happening from the absence of human pollution. What if - and hear me out..- what if the entire human population used this as an opportunity to restart society on a greener, more environment conscious foot. What we're seeing in the span of a couple of days is amazing."

Exactly. We need to end this mad tearing around the planet at great cost to finite fossil fuels and a terrible escalation of greenhouse gases as the most unfortunate consequence.  
We live in a materialistic rat race where we think we must have ever faster, finer and flashier ways to transport ourselves around the place. HS2 and W Midlands Metro both come to mind. Both duplicate existing trains and buses that are too mundane and ordinary for us so sophisticated earth dwellers. I think we are biting off more than ailing life support systems can chew. We need to be content with less, be happy with what we have and start exploring the local scene instead of the international world. The prospect of a premature demise from a pestilent virus is cutting Greta's and the scientists greenhouse gases.  Not so much a pipe dream but a nightmare coming down the tube.

Wrong decision, wrong priorities from a nation that should know better


  1. Ten years of Tory austerity has allowed the country to have our High Status Symbol 2 train for £106 billion by 2040 and billions already spent in its first eleven years, from its start in 2009 under Gordon Brown and a Labour transport secretary.
  2. Ten years of cut backs for the NHS, social care, education and, housing for the less wealthy, to allow for extravagance for the rich - and Crossrail 1 for £18 billion to help out London.
  3. Ten years of government austerity has allowed the construction of tram lines as the second most expensive transport mode after High Status 2Even more expensive than most maglev train projects in China, Japan and South Korea.
  4. Ten years of austerity and four election wins for the party that brought in austerity to bring the crises in health, housing and benefits - much less money for all three but plenty to give us £7 billion for two massive aircraft carriers AND real rises above inflation for the armed forces to support their actions in the Middle East.
  5. Over £100 billion to replace our independent nuclear deterrent over the next two decades so that we can continue to sail the high seas as the monarch of all we survey.
  6. Ten years of cut backs for local authorities throughout the UK but great largesse for regional devolution and a new layer of bureaucracy to run regional government.  Mrs Thatcher did away with the West Midlands Country Council in the 1980s.  The New Conservative Party has brought it back, at the most enormous expense, as the West Midlands Combined Authority.  All paid for by cut backs in core services that the less wealthy, MOSTLY rely on.
  7. Ten years of many billions for brand new high status, high speed train lines for London and England and, £15 billion to 2040 for mainly slick, swish, smart looking trams for the Black Country and Brum.  Trams both underground and overground to replace dull, boring buses and overcrowded commuter trains.
  8. Since December, the people's government knew all about the deadly coronavirus that, with globalisation and popular air travel, was bound to spread.  Yet, they slept at the wheel and made no plans to increase supplies of tests, PPE and ventilators in case they would be needed for the UK.  No action in January or even February.  Nothing until 16 March with Johnson's TV talk to the nation.
  9. Crises with Covid-19 and the climate, both worsened because of austerity in health and social care and wrong priorities to get flash, prestigious projects to impress and to make people exclaim, 'Wow' at all the vanity projects at the expense of basic, core services.
  10. Crises in health, social care, housing and education but no shortages to get trams replacing even intercity railway lines or to get High Status 2 while 24 railway schemes remain closed or unfinished or in need of improvement, modernisation.