Some of you will be aware of a proposal by Solihull Council to close the High Street in Knowle on a temporary basis as the shops re-opened to make it a safer environment for shoppers whilst full social distancing is in force and queues may form outside shops. You may also be aware that a significant number of residents, including some of our members, expressed disquiet about this plan and the impact on diversionary routes.
At a Council meeting last night, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways determined that the proposal should not be approved and there should be a period of wider consultation on the matter.
It was particularly unfortunate that, in the lead-up to the meeting:-
- There was a lack of clarity about what was being proposed, why it was felt necessary and the timescale for the proposal, apparently because of the speed with which the proposal was developed. We expect these will be corrected in the consultation process.
- There was an error in the Officer’s report to the Council Committee – it incorrectly stated your Society as having given support to the proposal. The Society had not been formally consulted. Informally, the relevant officers of the Society, given just a couple of days to consider the idea, indicated that we might not object if reassurances on a short duration and appropriate traffic mitigation measures were given.
Once we were aware of the error, the Council were immediately made aware of it. This resulted in a very swift apology from the Council which we believe assisted the Council in the decision taken at that meeting.
We believe that in agreeing to undertake a more thorough consultative process, a sound decision has been made and we will provide a further update when details of next stage are available.
Meanwhile, there was good news at the same meeting last night, in that the suspension of parking charges in local car parks was extended for at least a few more weeks. The next review is expected on 23 June. Again, we will keep you informed.
With the reduction in the demand for hospital beds to treat virus patients, Solihull Hospital is being prepared to concentrate on patients with other conditions requiring surgery. It will continue to treat patients needing to visit these departments:-
Dialysis; Pharmacy; Pathology; Outpatients; Women’s Unit (inc. Birthing Unit); Cardiac Catheterisation Lab; Cardiology Diagnostic Testing; Physiotherapy; Chronic Pain; Dermatology; Rheumatology; Haematology/Oncology; Imaging; Ophthalmology.
As a consequence of the changes, the Minor Injuries Unit has been CLOSED and patients have been advised to:-
“Visit a local pharmacy or 111.nhs.uk or call 111 (free and open 24/7); travel to another local minor injuries unit or walk-in centre; contact their GP; or for more serious issues (including suspected broken bones), travel to Heartlands Hospital or Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E departments.” See www.nhs.uk for further information.
This is Mental Health Awareness Week and during these especially difficult times, it is important to be kind to others and kind to yourself. If you are struggling, there is support available. You are not alone. Click here for resources and advice on how to stay on top of your mental wellbeing whilst staying at home.
Please remember – if you are ill, whether or not that illness is COVID, seek help.
The circulation of the hard copies of this edition of the newsletter was suspended due to the restrictions on movement and the need for great care. Now things have eased a little distribution is at last underway.
We were faced with the need to make major changes to the content and to suspend our meetings and walks programmes. As a result we are not issuing a Programme Card as in previous years. Events – when we are able to hold them, will be publicised in subsequent Newsletters and through these emails.