The creation of a city region in the West Midlands is to be led by the former chief executive of one of Birmingham's most prestigious business organisations. Simon Murphy has quit his post as head of Birmingham Forward, which represents 240 firms in the professional, financial and business services sector, to take on the new role. He has been appointed City Region Project Director by the seven metropolitan authorities within the West Midlands conurbation. The post, which was advertised as paying up to #90,000 a year, involves bringing investment to the area and helping councils work together "to deliver a single vision", according to the authorities.
Birmingham's new city centre park will be an example to the rest of the world and help the city shed its "urban inferiority complex" regeneration experts have claimed. The significance of the #12 million project was outlined at the launch of a competition to get a "world class" design for the green "oasis" at Eastside. City planners showed how they hope to turn a strip of land nearly a kilometre long into Birmingham's first new public park in 125 years. They claim if everything goes to plan, the facility will be open to city centre workers, residents and visitors to enjoy by the end of the decade.
The parents of a toddler who died after falling in a pond when she wandered off from her nursery have spoken of their heartbreak at their daughter's death. Two-year-old Abigail Rae left the Ready Teddy Go nursery in the Warwickshire village of Lower Brailes at 10am on November 28, 2002. She was found an hour later in an algae-covered pond in a nearby garden. It is believed she left her nursery through a back gate which staff believed was bolted, but was found ajar shortly after Abby's disappearance was discovered. Yesterday a jury recorded a verdict of accidental death resulting from neglect.
A supply teacher from Birmingham who was accused of hitting a child twice with a ruler, but was not prosecuted, has won her legal battle to have her fingerprints, DNA sample and photograph destroyed within 28 days. Philippa Jones, from Kings Norton, will also receive #250 damages from the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, plus her legal costs. Ms Jones launched a High Court action for a declaration that the taking of her fingerprints and DNA - after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute her - was unlawful. But the case ended at the High Court when the police accepted that Ms Jones was entitled to judicial review.