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NEWS OF YOUR WORLD: Past & Present


TOWN AND COUNTY: It won’t quite be as far in the distance as that famous 1969 Zager & Evans pop classic ‘In The Year 2525’ but Coventry is looking well into the future – in housing its future population.

And the city could well find itself having to “swallow up” some of the Warwickshire countryside to accommodate thousands of new homes.

Original predictions from the Office of National Statistics suggested that Coventry needed to build 36,000 new homes by 2031 with an extra 44,000 farmed out across the county.

Now a report by the Coventry and Warwickshire Joint Committee for Economic Growth raises the spectre of the city being “unable to cope” with that figure.

More than a third of the homes – in excess of 12,000 – originally set to be built in the city will now be passed on to four Warwickshire authorities, leaving Coventry to build 23,600 homes in total by 2031.

The changes will hit Rugby, taking their total housing requirement up by 4,140 to 13,200. Warwick’s will rise by 2,280 to 14,400; followed by Nuneaton and Bedworth, up by 1,460 to 9,900; then Stratford, increasing by 640 to 10,800.

The city centre could be split into nine “quarters” for business, shopping and leisure if a blueprint covering the next two decades gets the go-ahead.

The Area Action Plan is hoping to address the disparity between Coventry’s size – the country’s 13th biggest city – and its place as the 58th largest retail centre in the UK.

Meanwhile hundreds of new homes are earmarked for the old Courtaulds site off the Foleshill Road after Persimmon Homes South Midlands was given the green light by Coventry City Council.

The new £65million development will consist of more than 700 new homes plus 3,500sqft of employment land at the 19.6 hectare site. Phase one will see Persimmon build 113 properties.


andy sullivanALL THE SIXES: Nuneaton’s golfing star Andy Sullivan certainly clickety-clicked into top form at the Joburg Open, showing a liking for “out of Africa”.

He hit a six-under-par final round of 66 to win the title by two shots and book himself one of three places up for grabs in the Open Championship at St Andrews this July.

Andy, pictured with la Tavola Calda restaurant owner Mick Emanuele, fired seven birdies and a bogey in his last round to finish ahead of five players, including Englishmen Anthony Wall and David Howell who had a “mare” on the 18th – missing a 30-foot eagle putt to force a play-off and then failing to sink the return birdie putt that would have secured him runner up on his own.

The 27-year-old Nuneaton sportsman’s victory was the second European Tour title in eight weeks – having defeated Charl Schwartzel in a play-off in the South African Open at nearby Glendower in January.


DSC_0016FLAT OUT FOR HOME COMFORT: Residents of a new £9million housing scheme will get the chance to enjoy “the benefits of independent living”.

A show flat is open to give a taster of the self-contained apartments at Oakwood Gardens in Bedworth which have the added security of 24-hour support and care on site if needed.

The project features 74 two-bedroom apartments, 56 available to rent and 18 for shared ownership, and communal facilities including a restaurant, hairdressing salon and private gardens plus 11 self-contained bungalows in Mayfield Close.

The first residents are due to move into the apartments in May.

Councillor Jose Compton, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for adult social care, officially opened the show flat.

Bedworth Councillor Sara Doughty, pictured, said: “It’s a very real alternative to living in a residential care home.

“The scheme will give older people greater independence and control of their lives through purpose built, self-contained apartments, each with its own front door.”


STAND-IN ROOM ONLY: New Coventry City boss Tony Mowbray looked on from the stands but it was same old dismal story for the Sky Blues in their League One nightmare campaign.

Last night City went down 1-0 at Barnsley as caretaker managers Neil MacFarlane and Dave Hockaday finished their task and Mowbray watched a familiar pattern of defeat which has seen Coventry battling with relegation.
Former Middlesbrough and Celtic manager Mowbray replaces Steven Pressley and has signed a contract at the Ricoh Arena until the end of the current season.


TAKE HEART: 2012 is a huge year for sport and to celebrate Nuneaton and Bedworth is to host its own sporting challenge at the Pingles Leisure Centre. The ’5k Walk/Run for Your Heart’ is on Wednesday, April 18 – officially 100 days before the London Olympics, one of the greatest sporting shows on Earth, comes to our shores. The cost is £5 per entrant if you register before Thursday, April 12 or £7 on the day. If you’re over 16, you can enter online at


ENC OF THE LINE: Encyclopedia Britannica has revealed that it is to stop publishing print editions for the first time since it launched in Edinburgh in 1768. The company, which now is based in Chicago, says the 342-volume set will cease to be available when the current stock runs out. The best year for print sales was 1990 when 120,000 sets were sold, but that figure dropped to 40,000 six years later.


STARR-Y NIGHT: Burlesque hits the stage for the first time in Nuneaton later this month – to raise money for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance. The cabaret show features exotic dancers Aurora Toxique and Cherry Stone and female fire-eater Venus Starr at Queens Hall in the town centre on Saturday, April 14 at 7.30pm.


NISSEN VERY CAREFULLY, I WILL SAY ZIS ONLY ONCE: Workers are wanted for the former British base at Port Lockroy on tinyGoudierIsland – one of the most popular tourist spots inAntarctica and visited by two cruise ships a day during the summer. The candidates are required to: Keep a positive attitude while living in a corrugated steel Nissen hut in close proximity with three other people for about five months; have no running water and being unable to shower for a month; have to cook, carry out maintenance duties, keep a tally on the 1,500 or so Gentoo penguins and remain cheerful after long, cold days with very little sleep. Still interested? Go to


UNNATURAL SELECTION?: Nuneaton Carnival’s 2102 Selection Dance is on Saturday, April 21 this year. It is 98th anniversary of the death of one of America’s most famous writers – Mark Twain. Real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he found fame as a novelist with Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer but few will know he was a master riverboat pilot, typesetting printer and failed gold miner – BEFORE he turned to journalism. Born during a visit by Halley’s Comet in 1835, he correctly predicted they would “go out together” and died on its return – one day after its closest approach to Earth on April 21, 1910.


ONE HUNDRED AND PLENTY: One in five people currently in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday, according to new research. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said its figures suggested 10 million people – 17 per cent of the population – would become centenarians. These are based on Office for National Statistics population projections and life expectancy estimates. The DWP estimates there will be at least 507,000 people aged 100 or over by 2066, including 7,700 people aged 110 or over, so-called super centenarians. Currently 11,800 people in the UK are aged 100 or over and fewer than 100 are over 110.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: On Sunday, April 15 it will be exactly 100 years since the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable – and the Titanic liner sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Sailors on board HMS Protector have returned to the exact spot where explorer Ernest Shackleton saved his men almost a century ago. A team from the ice surveying ship have carried out scientific research at Point Wild on Elephant Island – a forbidding shore where the Shackleton party spent many months awaiting rescue in 1916.


POPPIN OFF: The death has been revealed of songwriter Robert Sherman, who with his brother Richard won two academy awards. Among his creations were Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious from the movie sensation Mary Poppins. Mr Sherman, who died inLondon, was 86.


WATER CARRY-ON: A Frenchman has decided to sue Google Street Maps for publishing a photograph of him urinating in his own front yard in November of 2010. It appears that he was not as sheltered as he thought at the time as a Google Street View Car happened to be passing at the time and photographed him. Although Google does blur out the faces of people who happen to get snapped by its cameras, the man is claiming that his neighbours in the small village in the Maine-et-Loire area were still able to recognise him. However Google is expected to plead the case be declared null and void


WHO ATE ALL THE FRIES?: An eating institution in Tamworth is shutting its doors for the last time after nearly 30 years in the town centre. McDonald’s in George Street, which opened on the front of the new Ankerside shopping development in 1983, will close on March 20 – with staff relocating to a new drive-through store on the old A5 in Wilnecote the following day.


PEN-T UP: Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary is having to do a bit of DIY-ing when it comes to putting up new pens at its HQ inOaston Road. The animal refuge, famous for its foxes, have hit hard times – with rocketing fuel prices costing it £200-a-week alone to keep vehicles on the road. To help out, call 02476 34 5243


SPACED OUT: Space may be the final frontier – but it appears there are even cutbacks when you set foot off Earth. Lean financial times are forcing belt-tightening in NASA’s new budget for next year – eliminating $300m from the planetary sciences division, representing a 20 per cent cut from what it received for this year. It could hinder current and future missions to Mars.


BEST BET: Three cheers to Nuneaton Town boss Kevin Wilkin for winning the Blue Square Bet North February Manager of the Month award – the Tricky Blues taking maximum points in a weather-hit month.


GREAT SPORT 1: The crowd outside for his farewell was greater than on most match days – but that was the measure of the man widely viewed as the best goalkeeperNuneaton ever produced. Mourners clapped at the end of the funeral service of 69-year-old Brian Bliss who belonged to a golden era of amateur football in the town. He commanded the penalty area for Co-op Sports, the Tribune and the all-conquering Bermuda WMC.


GREAT SPORT 2: Tributes are being paid to former car factory worker Glenn Farmer – dubbed Mr Hinckley Athletic – who died on Monday aged 66. He was a director on the boards of the Middlefield Lane club for 41 years and once paid the team’s wages out of his own pocket when club funds couldn’t run to it. The funeral service is at Hinckley Methodist Church on Friday, March 9 at 11am.


BY GEORGE: With a string of beauties notched on his ‘bachelor belt’ since divorcing Talia Balsam nearly 20 years ago, Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney has had to face gay slurs. The Oscar-nominated Descendants star – who said he would never marry again – has said it would be unkind to his close friends, some of whom are homosexual, to deny or define his sexuality. “I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing.”


UP AND AWAY: The work begun by the late Sir Robert Taylor in the 1980s to transform Elmdon Airport into a world-class route out of the UK looks to be reaching its high point. The final obstacle to Birmingham Airport’s runway extension project has been removed with shareholders giving the go-ahead to the £65m scheme. The extension, which won planning permission from Solihull Borough Council in 2009, will give the airport the ability to offer long-haul flights to Asia and the US west coast.


BOX ON: The bell is ringing in a new era for keep-fit fans in North Warwickshire with the opening of Atherstone Boxing Club – more than a decade after the last one closed in the town. The Sheepy Road club is run jointly by Atherstone Town Council deputy chairman Mejar Singh and homegrown boxer Danny Bance.


FINGER ON TIGGER: Ace Ventura star Jim Carrey eat your heart out – as Tamworth-based Animal Search UK sets about trying to find Jessica Knibb’s cute ginger cat Tigger. If you’ve seen her, call 0800 4 320340 or email


SHINE ON: Rotarians in Nuneaton have been given the green light to shine a beacon from the top of Mount Judd as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the night of June 4.


XMAS COMES EARLY: It may only be March but that hasn’t deterred Nuneaton & Bedworth Council leader Dennis Harvey from calling on businesses in the borough to dig deep into their pockets and help revamp Christmas lights that .have seen better days’.


PRIVATE’S ON PARADE: Former North Warwickshire MP Mike O’Brien has stepped into the row over George Eliot Hospital’s future direction. The ex Labour health minister wants the Nuneaton hospital to continue to “go it alone” and not be allowed to be taken over by a private company.


TAKE THAT YOU BRATZ: Doll sales have soared by 23 per cent in the past year and are now worth £120m. Barbie herself has seen a revival in fortunes. Only five years ago the 1959 classic was being hugely outsold by Bratz dolls.


SPEED KING: Birmingham City striker Marlon King was banned from driving for eight weeks after hitting top speeds of 130mph on the M69 near Hinckley. The 31-year-old ex-Sky Blues bad boy failed to show at Hinckley Magistrates and they dealt with him in his absence. Three years ago he was jailed for 18 months for sexually assaulting and punching a woman at a nightclub in London.


BALDY GO: It seems there are some benefits to being follicly challenged. Men whose hairline starts to recede at a young age are 45 per cent less likely to get prostate cancer, according to a University of Washington School of Medicine study.


lights 03 2012-12-01LET THERE BE LIGHTS: Nuneaton Carnival’s dazzling quartet of girls found some competition at last – from the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Queen dawn Haffner and maids of honour Megan French, Jess Brown and Laura-Rose Smedley were guests of civic hosts – Mayor and Mayoress John and Hilda Haynes – for the annual ritual which brings huge crowds to the Town Hall.

After the event in the civic chamber, the girls handed over a cheque to Councillor Haynes for his charity appeal.

lights 01 2012-12-01


DRIVING SEAT: Polesworth Garage takes on the role of leader of the carnival later today – when the village’s rescheduled pageant takes to the streets.

The hour-and-a-quarter parade of floats, bikes and dozens of walkers will see the local company “in the driving seat” for the Jubilee-themed event.

The Midlands premier independent motor dealership have loaned two open-top cars so that 16-year-old queen Kira Haywood, maid Ebony Layton, princess Leah Cooper and page boy George Ellwood can ride in style – as well as helping with pick-up trucks to house other entrants on floats.

This Saturday’s historic carnival – which kicks off earlier this year at 12noon from Pooley View – has been brought back from the dead by the generosity of its supporters.

In early July, it looked like the end of the road when flooding add to its troubles – forcing organisers to postpone the big day.

Carnival organiser Sue Groucott admitted earlier this year: “When we came to start looking at our 2012 event, there was £46 in the bank and we genuinely felt there was no way we could contemplate a carnival in the village again.”

But a public meeting rallied the troops – and brought in unexpected donations of £2,500 from Electric Techincs of Tamworth and a further £2,000 from Lichfield funeral directors FM & J Wait which literally “raised an event that was to all intents and purposes dead,” added Mrs Groucott.

Further financial lifts of £500 from both North Warwickshire Borough Council and Polesworth Parish Council put the carnival on the road to recovery.

The parade, with brass bands at the helm, should be winding its final way into the gala field in Pooley View around 1.15pm.

Star attractions there include a 30p-strong classic car parade, a motorbike display team, tug o’ war, zumba as well as the usual stalls, donkey rides and Barker’s Fun Fair.

“We have put a lot of hard work into this, and now that our Royal family have been picked, we are really excited about Saturday,” added Sue. “The carnival will definitely worth the wait since July.”

There is still time to host a float for the event, and also to run a stall on the field. Call Sue on 07855 798852 for more information.

Visit for a full rundown of events.


STARRING ROLES: Three pupils from Polesworth School are preparing for a new life at the top of Britain’s academic tree.

The high-flying specialist language college, which has seen the number of A-level A* grades awarded to students more than double this summer, is sending the trio to Oxford and Cambridge in the autumn.

Joe Wallace, with four A* grades and a B, is off to Cambridge to study mathematics, along with Rob Trivasse whose two A*s and two As secured him a place on a natural sciences course.

And Kelly Brotherhood, who scored three A*s and an A will be reading biomedical sciences at Oxford.

The Dordon Road school achieved an overall pass rate of 98 per cent at grades A* to E when the A-level results were announced this week.


TAKE THY REST: The funeral of one of Polesworth Abbey’s most faithful servants of the last two decades took place yesterday – in his favourite place.

The service for popular 85-year-old lay reader Eric Downing, who died earlier this month at Robert Peel Hospital, Fazeley, was held at the High Street church, followed by interment in his home village of Grendon.

In 2005, Mr Downing was afforded a special “service of faith” to celebrate half a century of religious endeavour.


GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: The name of Tamworth’s most famous World War Two hero rang out at his annual memorial service at the weekend.

Local and county dignatories attended the service, conducted by Wilnecote’s the Rev Chris Robinson and staged by Two Gates and Wilnecote Royal British Legion, in Grazier Avenue -the Two Gates street named after him.

The heroic actions of the Tamworth-born seaman – which culminated in his drowning on October 30, 1942 after retrieving two code books from Nazi U-boat U-559 – led to British intelligence being able to crack the naval Enigma Code and certainly contributed to bringing the global conflict to a quicker conclusion.

Able Seaman Colin Grazier was posthumously awarded the George Cross for “outstanding bravery and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of danger”. The classified nature of the documents he retrieved meant Grazier’s act of heroism remained an official secret for decades after his death.


LIFE’S BEEN A GAS: “Tamworth’s been a good friend to us. We wouldn’t swap it for the world,” says Stan and Gladys Porter as they celebrate 70 years of marriage.

The couple met during World War Two in their home town of Durham when Gladys’s gas mask rolled down the aisle of the local cinema and Stan picked it up.

They married in August 1942 and when they moved to Tamworth, both worked at Reliant’s Two Gates factory and joined Tamworth Arts Club for the leisure. Ex-miner Stan, 92, and Gladys, 89, have two sons, three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


CHINA IN OUR HANDS: Breakfast TV fans got the first glimpse of the “brave new world” but BBC Two viewers on Sunday will have the wheel deal.

For television presenters Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt set off on two very different car journeys to see how China’s motoring revolution is changing its landscape with the country’s economic boom symbolised by a massive and expanding car industry – already the largest in the world by a long way.

Here is an epic journey, brought to life with the new series from BBC Two China on Four Wheels. It’s a sometimes surprising trip through a fascinating country – and Polesworth Garage’s new motors franchise is the star of the show.

Intrepid reporter Anita drove a SUV made by Great Wall which took her on an ‘voyage’ through the industrialised east from Beijing to Shanghai, navigating congested urban sprawls and winding mountain roads while visiting some of the country’s most sophisticated and luxurious cities.

“We had three weeks away but there’s a heck of a lot to squeeze in, in that time. The schedule is hectic,” she said.

And her verdict on the Great Wall SUV: “Very comfortable,” she enthused, reporting no technical problems at all on her 21-day motoring marathon. But commercial pick-up fans in the region can save themselves a theoretical 5,000-mile trip with the 34-year-old presenter. For at Polesworth Garage, the Midlands premier vehicle dealership already has in its stable the best value-for-money pick-up in the UK in the Great Wall Steed. At £13,998 plus VAT and road fund licence, it’s streets ahead of its rivals, said Polesworth Garage managing director Martin Newbold. Great Wall, named after the famous country-stretching edifice, was formed in 1976 and is now firmly established as China’s SUV market leader – having manufactured more than 700,000 units to date. In 2012, the company became the first to sell all-Chinese built vehicles in the UK.

China’s motoring phenomenon has already saved the giant Buick brand from going down and given Audi its biggest sales platform in the world. Its expansion has increased the numbers of the very rich with Starbucks, Gucci and Prada commonplace names in the big cities but the poor now number 250 million – out of a total population of 1.2billion. The images of supercars, skyscrapers and billionaires conceal a complicated country riven with social and political intrigue, and with traditions and customs which might seem unusual.

The cars may feel familiar but this culture is anything but.

China on Four Wheelsstarts this Sunday on BBC Two at 8pm. It is repeated at 11.20pm on Tuesday, September 11 with the second of the two part series on Sunday, September 16. To get a flavour of what’s in store go to

More importantly to get a real taste of China at its best, then take a test ride in the Great Wall Steed by calling 01827 895125 today or email


ADDED ELLEGANCE: IT’S the model with fun, stylish women in mind – and that’s just for starters.

For Nissan has joined forces with the world’s best-selling fashion magazine, Elle, to develop a special version of its ever popular city car, the Micra.

And one of the first Nissan Micra Elles, which went on sale in the UK this week priced from £12,000, is in the showrooms of Polesworth Garage – the Midlands premier independent car dealership.

With bags of stylish looks and special features, the car comes with a panoramic glass roof, chromed accents to the lower part of the grille, chrome interior door handles, 15-inch titanium grey alloy wheels, fog lamps and a roof spoiler.

There are three colours available – Shiraz Red, Alabaster White and Atlas Blue – as well as a new seat fabric covering.

The award-winning Nissan Connect integrated satellite navigation and infotainment system is available as an option. Discreet Elle badges on the tailgate and front wings, front floor mats and front door guards mark out the new model on the high street.

But that’s not all. As the Micra Elle is based on the mid-range Acenta model, it has a long list of standard equipment including automatic air conditioning, Intelligent Key for keyless entry and push button start, electrically heated and folding door mirrors, along with a speed limiter and cruise control.

You’ll have to hurry though as just 500 Micra Elle models will be coming to the UK and buyers have the choice of either the 1.2-litre 80PS normally aspirated three-cylinder petrol engine or the sophisticated 1.2 direct injection supercharged (DIG-S) petrol engine, which develops 98PS yet produces just 99g/km of CO2.

The DIG-S engine has plenty of punch for the urban jungle with 142Nm of torque and a 0-62mph time of 11.3 seconds. It also has a maximum speed of 112mph and posts combined cycle fuel economy figures of up to 68.9mpg.

Both 1.2-litre engines produce emissions low enough to qualify for Nissan’s ‘Pure Drive’ badge, given only to the cleanest cars in Nissan’s line-up.

‘This is far more than just a badge on a car,’ said Geraldine Ingham, chief marketing manager for Nissan in Europe. ‘There is a lot of common ground between the Micra and Elle, with both the car and the magazine appealing to very similar buyers.

“The vast majority of Elle readers are fun, positive, stylish women, all highly individual and with the capacity to surprise  . . . just like the Nissan Micra Elle.”


TOW-RIFIC NEWS: 2012 may not have been the perfect summer for sunseekers holidaying in the UK – but one in five Brits are still hitting the “good life” trail this year as caravanning and camping makes a comeback.

Now the Midlands premier independent car dealership at Polesworth Garage is encouraging newcomers to the outdoor experience make sure they know what they’re doing before they take to the roads.

The call comes following research conducted by Nissan revealed that four-out-of 10 ‘towers’ have had no formal training or advice before they take to the road.

The Grendon Road company is inviting motorists to visit the dealership and learn more about the practicalities of towing a vehicle as it supports experts at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, who are backing the Nissan Safe Towing campaign.

Available to all novice and established towers is a complimentary 19-page guide to safe towing, providing informative advice on vehicle hitching, torque and manoeuvring.

What’s more, Polesworth Garage is offering a FREE towing course with all purchases of a Nissan X-Trail and Pathfinder made before September 30.

The Nissan study of more than 3,000 adults revealed one in five of these holidaymakers have only taken up the pastime in the last six months.

One of the biggest areas of concern for new ‘towers’ is their lack of knowledge on the towing capabilities of their vehicle, resulting in drivers buying and renting caravans their car doesn’t have the sufficient power and torque to tow.

Risks are heightened by the pressures ‘towers’ face from other road users with more than 40 per cent of those interviewed admitting to having felt forced to take risks.

Polesworth Garage managing director Martin Newbold added: “Choosing the right towing vehicle is fundamental to an enjoyable and safe towing experience. The most common error made by towers is in hitching overbearing loads. This is both illegal and dangerous.

“Vehicles like the Nissan X-Trail deliver powerful torque which benefits drivers with maximum pulling power at low engine speeds and requires fewer gear shifts.

“This is of vital assistance to new ‘towers’ offering greater manoeuvrability and overall control, especially in water-logged fields as many holiday makers have been experiencing.

“We look forward to motorists coming to the dealership to learn more about the key safety guidelines surrounding towing.”

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said that with more ‘towers’ than ever hitting the roads it was essential drivers are up to speed with road safety.
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