Dear Editor, Your report (17th Nov) on Mrs Simpson’s anger about renaming of the Saracen’s Head contains several misleading inaccuracies.

“Saint Nicolas Place” will be the name for the whole site, including the Old Grammar School, the ancient parish church of St Nicolas and its beautiful churchyard.

With the finest early Tudor house in the West Midlands, known to so many as the Saracen’s Head, they are an irreplaceable part of our city’s heritage, now saved for the future.

Far from “obliterating history” as Mrs Simpson claims, we are opening it up, telling its story and making it alive for all. The Saracen’s Head part of the story will, as promised, be fully told and cherished within this – but it is only the most recent part.

The site is over 1,000 years old. Its chief glory is its medieval buildings, now fully restored and open. It was a pub and community centre for over 200 years – and this is not forgotten either – but the name “Saracen’s Head” has only been used for the whole building since 1930.

To insist that it be the name for the entire Tudor building is much more of an obliteration than our carefully worked through proposals.

The Saracen’s Head will be the name for our excellent cafe in what was the pub’s main bar (open from 10am-4pm every day from Monday to Saturday).

This fully continues the long tradition of hospitality and refreshment in this part of the site. It has been welcomed by very many people with great affection for the Saracen’s Head name but who know that the whole site is so much more!

The buildings won £0.5 million not £4 million in BBC Restoration 2004. Church and community volunteers have worked tirelessly since then to apply for and manage a further £2.5 million in grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, to provide the additional £1.3 million required for the project and then to ensure that it actually came to life. We are all still hard at work to build up a rich programme of heritage, education, community and corporate use. Sadly, not many members of Mrs Simpson’s society have shared in all this. They are very welcome – as are all who want to discover the real and stunning story of these buildings. Come and visit – and enjoy the

Saracen’s Head!

And, next time, might you use a picture of the building as it is now, not in its sad pre-Restoration condition?

Canon Rob Morris

Team Rector of Kings Norton

Chair, Kings Norton Restoration Trust


Best social workers for front line duty

Dear Editor, Given the circumstances that brought about the sad death of Baby P, social workers regardless of their positions must understand the safety of any child is paramount

regardless of their experience.

Given that situation we must seriously look at the arrangements that can allow such social workers who may not be as experienced as others to be put in the position of decision so far as such children are concerned.

A weak link must be, as a social worker

becomes more experienced they may get

promoted from the front line or they move to an authority were they seem to get higher salaries and do not have the same pressures as the central areas of our cities and towns

The solution must be.

First: The service for vulnerable children must be a “Dedicated Service” and not an offshoot of other services for children and young people. For example, education and leisure.

Secondly: It must be seen that a front line experienced social worker is on a higher remuneration than an office manager. Even if they are answerable to that manager the incentive would then be to stay on the front line.

Thirdly: There must not be a situation were a less problematical authority can pay a higher salary than a social worker working in such high profile areas as Haringey in London or Ladywood in Birmingham.

Fourthly: All such vulnerable children’s departments should be established on specific regional parts. Each with a share of both rural and urban areas. In this way preventing the two competing for the more experienced social workers which bring about the loss to the critical areas I have mentioned.

Finally: It must be seen that we have the very best and most experienced social workers at the very point of risk to our children and not in urban areas where their expertise is not being fully utilised.

In short, it is almost a complete reversal of how we use our social workers to think, as they gain such experiences they move from the position where they are of most use.

Coun Reg Corns