A #50 million new road designed to cut congestion on one of Birmingham's busiest commuter routes will officially be given the go ahead on Thursday. The Selly Oak New Road is expected to halve traffic on the heavily-used A38 Bristol Road. The scheme also aims to revitalise the university area around Selly Oak as a shopping area and help stimulate the development of a technology corridor for high-tech businesses. Transport Secretary Alistair Darling will visit Birmingham to announce the start of work on the long-awaited relief road, which is due for completion in 2009.
England fans hoping to watch their team's World Cup progress free of charge on a big screen in Birmingham city centre will be disappointed - the matches have already been given the red card. The Chamberlain Square screen will show games featuring other nations, but not England. The decision was taken by the city council following police advice about the likelihood of violence by English fans. The only option for followers of England, apart from sitting in front of a television at home, will be to pay #3.50 to watch World Cup matches on a 60-square metre screen at Millennium Point.
Another Midland hospital trust has announced job cuts as it struggles to stay within its budget. Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Cannock Chase and Stafford, is to axe more than 150 jobs in a bid to make savings of #10 million next year. It is the latest in a series of hospitals across the region to cut posts in an attempt to balance the books. Chief executive Martin Yeates said the trust would avoid going into deficit this year, and would also stay within budget next year as a result of the "fairly tough decisions" it had made.
Two companies involved in a production of a musical show in Birmingham when a pit cover collapsed injuring fifteen people dressed as nuns have each been fined #14,000. Theatre operator Clear Channel Entertainment was also ordered to pay #12,111 costs and show producer Sing-Along Productions #9,747 costs after both companies admitted breaches of Health & Safety regulations. In passing sentence Judge William Everard said it had been a "terrifying" experience for those involved, as well their friends and families, although mercifully no one was killed. He said there had been inadequate measures put in place warning members of the public about standing on an orchestra pit cover which gave way.