Labour's attempt to promote its anti-social behaviour agenda did not quite go according to plan in Warwickshire, where a shopkeeper refused to allow Foreign Secretary Jack Straw entry to his shop. Party officials had selected a small parade of shops at Bedworth Heath, close to a middle class housing estate built on a former coal pit, for Mr Straw's visit. The intention was to promote a crackdown on violence by youngsters outside the One Stop Shop. A police operation last year resulted in three youths being jailed and a number of anti-social behaviour orders being handed out. However, Labour representatives were forced to tell Mr Straw he could not enter the shop after the owner said he did not want publicity for fear of reprisals from local yobs.
The planned #500 million redevelopment of New Street station will not be good for Birmingham or the country, a leading design engineering firm has claimed. Solihull-based Ove Arup - which designed the M6 Toll Road and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - said the proposal would do nothing to ease over-capacity. The firm's criticism came as local campaigner Rev Dr Dick Rodgers staged a protest outside New Street attacking the city's scheme as providing more shops instead of extra track capacity. Critics claim plans for Birmingham Gateway, unveiled by the city council and Network Rail in February, are doomed to fail because they do not increase rail capacity from the current four tracks.
The case of a killer hit-and-run driver who was jailed for 18 months for knocking down and killing a university student is being re-examined with a view to an appeal, the Crown Prosecution Service said. Senior prosecutors in Birmingham are reviewing the case of Jaswinder Singh, who was jailed on Monday for causing the death of Abigail Craen by dangerous driving. The sentence, which could see Singh released in four months because of time served on remand, was branded an "insult" by the 20-year-old victim's mother, Susan. The CPS has seven days after sentence to lodge an appeal.