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•	Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper and Eddie Fisher who looks after the clock Clock enthusiasts will be turning back time when they descend on a Smethwick landmark after discovering a rare timepiece in the town.


Around 20 members of The Turret Clock Group of the Antiquarian Horological Society are planning a trip to study a rare clock in Smethwick Council House.   


The group say the clock is regarded as an important piece of history and are keen to investigate it further.


Group member Jonathan Ansell, from Market Drayton, in Shropshire, says the group believes the clock to be a three-train Smith of Derby flat-bed with gravity escapement.


They say it was probably installed when the building had just been erected, and are hopeful it remains more or less as it was when first installed making it a rare survivor.


Mr Ansell says great majority of similar clocks have been converted to electric drive or otherwise emasculated.


The group will be visiting Smethwick as part of a spring meeting which also takes in Birmingham’s Jewellery quarter on March 21.


Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “I was really impressed to go into the council house to see the wonderful workings of the clock which has been part of Smethwick’s life for more than 100 years.

“It is really interesting that this group are showing such an interest in the clock and I am proud that council workers down the years have been dedicated to the task of ensuring that the clock remains in full working order after all this time.”   

Community health champions celebrate success

Three community health champions from Dudley borough will be recognised at a special reception for ‘unsung  heroes’ in Westminster.

They are all volunteers at Halesowen Asian Elderly Association and since 2011 have also been community health champions working closely with Dudley Council’s office of public health.

Mr Deen, Mr Ali and Mr Mahmood have most recently worked with taxi drivers in the borough talking to owners, operators and drivers about health and wellbeing.

They continue to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles and signpost people to support available within the borough.

The champions will attend the House of Commons at a reception hosted by Under Secretary of State for Public Health Jane Ellison MP, on Tuesday 3 March after being selected as ‘unsung heroes’ following a recommendation from the office of public health.

Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member for health, said:

“The work of these volunteers is remarkable. It’s people like them that really give our communities a sense of pride and support the council’s ambition to be a community council.

“These community health champions have taken their local knowledge, credibility and cultural understanding to get good health information to their local community.

“I’d like to personally thank them for loving their community and hope they enjoy well deserved recognition at this event.”

Forums spiced up at curry house

dudley-council-curry-forum-webResidents across Dudley borough are being invited to Korma-long and air their views at the country’s first ever council meeting held in a curry house.

Dudley Council already has a recipe for success with its online community forums, but is now extending to include a ‘curry forum’.

East2West Fusion in Brettell Lane, Amblecote, will be hosting the inaugural meeting on March 10, from 7-8pm.

People will be able to enjoy a sit down, three-course meal, and quiz the leader of the council at the same time, on issues affecting their communities or the whole of the borough. Discussions at the restaurant will also be posted onto the Dudley borough Facebook page and @Dudleymbc Twitter feed. People will also be able to ask the council leader questions via both social media channels from anywhere in the borough during the hour.

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the council, said:

“As far as we know we are the first council in the country to hold a public meeting as part of a curry night. This is a genuine move to get more people involved in local democracy.

“As a community council we are committed to listening to and working with communities to make improvements and deliver services. But best of all, people can just come along and enjoy some great food at a fantastic venue.”

Hero Haque, owner of East2West Fusion, added:

“I’m really pleased to be able to support the very first ever curry forum. As a local business we want to work with the council and this is a great way of doing that.

“I hope people will come along to speak to Councillor Lowe and enjoy a good meal out too.”

It follows the national acclaim for the online community forums which has seen thousands of people log onto the council’s Facebook and Twitter feeds to quiz council bosses on a range of issues.

Bosses at the five-star hygiene rated restaurant have stepped forward to support the council’s curry forum by offering a meal deal for just £9.95. People can choose from a mouth-watering menu over three courses and also buy drinks from the bar.

Booking is essential for the event on 01384 377600 quoting reference ‘curry forum’.

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Campaign to increase road safety outside Dudley Schools

Dudley Council is taking part in a campaign that asks parents to rethink the way they park outside schools.

The ‘cars and kids don’t mix’ campaign promotes parking further away from school gates, and highlights the benefits of using alternative methods of transport to cars such as walking and cycling.

It is hoped the campaign, which is currently being promoted in the Netherton area, will help to reduce road congestion, minimise localised pollution, encourage active travel and make road crossing safer for school children.Leaflets are being given to parents and children and special talks are being held by the council’s road safety team.

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for transport, said:

“We're asking motorists to be more mindful when parking even for a short period of time near schools.

"Yellow zig –zag lines are outside schools for a very good reason – to keep pupils safe by creating a sight line that enables them to see and be seen before crossing the road.”

For more information about the campaign contact the road safety team on 01384 815432 or visit

Enchanted at the Red House Glass Cone

Studio artists at the Red House Glass Cone have put together a truly ‘Enchanted’ exhibition in the run up to the festive season.

The Enchanted exhibition focuses on the magic and wonder of Christmas. There will be mystical artworks of elusive fairies and deep soulful pieces that embrace the early origins of this festive time.                                 

Alongside these works will be a wide range of interpretations to the theme in jewellery, ceramic, glass and lino-cut prints with pieces including glass fused Christmas wreaths, hand fused Christmas trees on cards and paintings of local scenes.  Artists include Sarah Cannings of Saz's Ceramics, Sarah Jones & Jane Ellis, Charlotte-Hughes Martin, Helen Savin, Martin Yates and Sean Counley.


Councillor Hilary Bills, cabinet member for environment and culture, said:

“The made@the cone studio artists pull-out all the stops for their annual showcase.

“The Enchanted exhibition embraces the spirit of Christmas and the traditions of Yule to create some truly original pieces of work.”

The artists who make up the made@thecone collective are Sarah Cannings, ceramicist and educator; Sarah Jones, lampwork glass artist; Jane Ellis, fused glass artist; Sean Counley, fantasy inspired artist, picture framer and arts tutor; Charlotte Hughes-Martin, glassblower and glass engraver; Martin Yates, artist, writer and educator; Helen Savin, lino and silk screen printer; Rebecca Handy, mixed media artist and jewellery maker; Stu Goodings, stained glass artist, Stuart Caldicott, horologist and Paul Schubey, shabby chic furniture restorer.

Many of the studio artists who make and sell their own designs from the site are also experienced arts tutors, running drop in activities and have-a-go sessions for both adults and children as well as a comprehensive programme of classes for adults.

The exhibition runs from 8 November until January 2015.

The Red House Glass Cone is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Sunday and admission is free. It is located on High Street, Wordsley, Stourbridge and is run by Dudley Council. For further information call 01384 812750.

New vision for Dudley mosque is backed

A controversial plan for a new mosque in Dudley has won the backing of council officers ahead of a decision this month - despite more than 800 people objecting to the proposal.


Dudley Muslim Association wants to build the 52ft high curved roof mosque with 62ft high minaret in Hall Street, along with a two-storey car park in Hall Street.

The planning application was revised from a previously failed bid for the place of worship, which had the mosque at a height of 109ft - but it has still attracted 885 letters of objection.

Opposition has come in over the size of the three-storey mosque and the lack of parking, plus fears over congestion.

A total of 370 letters of support and a petition for the application with 1,718 signatures were sent to the council.

Councillor Steve Waltho also weighed in with support for the proposal, saying it would bring the community together and transform an 'eye-sore' site.

An artist's impression of the mosque, which is planned for Hall Street, Dudley, released by the Dudley Muslim Association in their ongoing fight to get it built there



In a report to councillors ahead of a development control meeting to decide on the proposal next week, officers said: "The design and appearance of the proposed development, along with the proposed landscaping of the site, is considered to be acceptable and the proposal is considered to have sufficiently overcome the previous reasons for refusal."

It continued: "In dealing with this application the local planning authority have worked with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner, seeking solutions to problems arising in relation to dealing with the application, by seeking to help the applicant resolve technical detail issues where required and maintaining the delivery of sustainable development.

"The development would improve the economic, social and environmental concerns of the area."

If approved, the plans could still be halted by a High Court hearing next year. It relates to an on-going battle between the association and Dudley Council over the land.

Outline planning permission was approved for the scheme in 2008 following a planning inquiry. But the council wants the land back, having earmarked it for development.

The council won a High Court case for a trigger in a buy-back clause for the land, but this was appealed by the association.

The hearing will take place early next year at the Court of Appeal in London.

The association wants to build the mosque, having said previously that the current mosque on Castle Hill is not big enough for the numbers attending.

Dudley Council Leader Councillor David Sparks said: "This application makes no difference to the legal challenge. Even if the Dudley Muslim Association were to win the challenge it wouldn't mean Dudley Council handed the land back the next day. Anyone can make a planning application for any piece of land."

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