After last Friday’s government announcement that Solihull is now an area of national intervention, which followed our sharp rise Covid-19 cases, this week has been incredibly busy for us.  We’ve put measures in place to tackle the rise in new transmissions and continue to get the message out across Solihull.

 The national picture shows that we are one among many and that the virus is a real and present threat that will be with us for some time. The decision to tighten restrictions has not been taken lightly. We know that people are frustrated and that the restrictions are having a real impact on people’s lives.

With my counterparts in Birmingham and Sandwell we issued thorough guidance to our hospitality sector on how to remain open in a Covid-safe way as we need to them to follow this to the letter.

I know it is difficult and that many people are frankly fed up with how this pandemic is affecting their lives.  But my duty is to work with government, my public health colleagues and you to keep us all safe.  Please we must all keep doing the right thing for Solihull. We are relying on your support and I know I can count on it, as I have done since March.

If you have any questions about the new restrictions please go to our dedicated Frequently Asked Questions page, which is regularly updated or check the government guidelines here if needed.

I’d like to thank all of our schools for the work they have been doing to keep running through what is a really difficult period and to manage the small number of cases and suspected cases of Covid within their school communities.  We all know the importance of schools being open and I cannot thank them enough for making sure as many of our children and young people as possible continue to receive the high quality education this borough is renowned for.

We are continuing with our temporary emergency travel restriction in our town centres to support social distancing.  If you’re visiting one of our town centres you might also see members of our Public Engagement Team talking to shoppers and handing out leaflets.

They’re there to offer advice and to keep sharing the important messages that will help keep us all safe. In the end, what will make the difference is each of us taking steps to keep our distance from others, socially distancing, helping to minimise the risk of passing on any infection that we might have.

Please, they are not ‘marshals’ they just want to make sure everyone understands what we need to do to stop the virus spreading.

In other news the booking system for the tip is now live.  I’m sure you’re recognise that social distancing will be with us for a long time to come, so the new system will help us to combat the queues that have resulted from having to restrict numbers visiting the tip. It went live on Monday and we have already had over 2,000 bookings.

Read the Visit the Recycling Centre page on our website before booking. This explains exactly what information you will need to hand when you book a slot.  If you don’t have access to the internet you can book by calling Solihull Connect on 0121 704 8000.

I also want to share the excellent news that our ambitious plans for Kingshurst Village Centre received formal outline planning approval on Wednesday. 

 This is great news for our Kingshurst residents as it is another step closer to working with them to create a vibrant village centre with new homes, shops and community facilities.

This decision just lays out the basic framework of the centre, it’s now on to the hard work of deciding on the details.  We will work with the local community to look at what they would like to see and what is possible to deliver.

Remember, hands, face, space – do take care and keep doing the right things for Solihull and you.

 Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, 18 September 2020