Library of Birmingham: Official opening of £189m building

Library roof gardens The new library features a rooftop garden and panoramic views of the city

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Birmingham's new central library has opened at a cost of £189m. But in an era of spending cuts and library closures across the country, is such an outlay justifiable?

The new building - complete with an amphitheatre, gardens and hundreds of thousands of books - has opened its doors to thousands of excited visitors.

But Margaret Bailey, of Brent, north-west London, said she would not be sharing in the enjoyment.

She has seen six of her 12 local libraries close since 2011 due to spending cuts and said she was angry so much money had been spent on just one.

"We are told you can't keep libraries open because of the cuts forced by central government and yet Birmingham finds £200m for this," she said.

"If staff are being cut and services being reduced I would not want £200m spent on one library. It makes a bit of a nonsense of them saying there is no money."

'Financial crisis'

Birmingham is not the first city to spend millions on its library - Liverpool's central library opened earlier this year after a £50m facelift - but this project has cost more than three times as much as any other in the UK.

So-called "super libraries" have been springing up across the UK while smaller branches are facing closures and cuts as councils try to save cash.

Book rotunda 2 The library will hold one million books including a copy of Shakespeare's First Folio

A £24m library in Newcastle opened in 2009 but the council has said it plans to close 10 smaller branches. In Liverpool, despite the big spend on its central library, four branch libraries have shut and others have reduced opening hours.

The number of libraries in the UK fell by 347 overall to 4,265 in 2011/2012.

Birmingham has made cuts to its library service too. Last year the number of full-time staff fell from 260 to 161 and opening hours were reduced by a combined 139 hours a week.

Borrowed cash

The library's director Brian Gambles said they had been fortunate the plans for the central library were approved just before the economic downturn struck.

"We got authority from cabinet to proceed with this project with that budget in October 2007," he said.

"If we had been a year later, I don't think they would have approved it. I think we would have been right at the outset of the financial crisis."

Most of the funding has come from borrowing with a small amount from donations. The council has also raised some cash by selling land. Mr Gambles said the spending was justified.

Benjamin Zephaniah Benjamin Zephaniah believes the new library is "something to be proud of"

"Even in the middle of a financial crisis, if the private sector investment essentially dries up, the thing that keeps the economy going is public sector infrastructure projects," he said.

However, the fate of the smaller libraries is a concern to award-winning writer Andrew Davies, who scripted the BBC television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

"One thinks they could have kept a lot of local libraries open [rather than spending money on one project]," he said. "I do think there needs to be some super libraries that you can go into with confidence and get absolutely anything.

"But I got so much from my little library in south Wales when I was a teenager. They mean a lot to communities. It would be a shame if they disappeared."

The new central library has a staunch defender, however, in one of Birmingham's most famous sons - the poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

"I think it's something we should be proud of," he said. "It will be an attraction that will draw people to Birmingham. It's an investment for the future. It will only add to what is already in the city centre.

"I don't know if the council is right to spend that kind of money. You can't have it bigger without spending more.

"The whole idea of libraries is changing. But there will be no one model. A city like Birmingham will need different libraries to smaller towns.

"The thing about smaller libraries is the workers have real knowledge about the items on the shelves. My only fear is that the big libraries are too big for the staff to know the books."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    @58. Therapne

    What happens when the electricity goes off?"

    I think you'll find e-readers run on batteries that last for several days without a charge. If your power goes off for several days, you would have more important things to worry about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    It's money we'll spent! I've personally been using the refurbished Liverpool library for university work and its superb!

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    It is a ridiculous way to allocate library spending. What use is a library if it is miles away from where people live? Why does anyone need a million books in one place? My local library, which I could cycle to before it was closed down, probably had a couple of thousand and I know I never read them all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    6 Minutes ago
    Not really sure why they would spend £200 million on a physical library when the entire knowledge of mankind is now available on the internet

    What rubbish & false.

    For every published article/book there are multiple unpublished articles/books, many of important historical/scientific significance.

    The internet is NOT the sum of humans/the world

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    If you are going to have these large mega libraries then they should be assigned an area to support smaller local libraries where you are able to browse whats on offer at your local library and pay to have it shipped to your local library from the central library. Who the hell is going to go to the trouble of travelling to Birmingham from out of town to borrow a book from this place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    A peoples palace in the city center to show off their wealth and enhance the cities prestige. Meanwhile the perfectly utilitarian libraries that parents take their schoolchildren to every week are closed. I think they made the wrong decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    I see that £650 million was spent on the pathetic circus that is football transfers over the summer.

    That makes this look a bargain - taxpayers money or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    The central library in any town or city isn't just about lending books - hardback, paperback, or e-book - that's what the local branches are for. The central library's collections are a vital part of the city's history and knowledge of itself - its past, present, and future. Use the reference section! Investigate the local history collection!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Another day, another grandiose taxpayer funded scheme so someone can cut a ribbon and feel important.
    Libraries yes yes yes. But £189m for a building to store books and computers and provide seating? It seems very high, when for the same money you could build six secondary schools

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Pranab (70) - I hold libraries in high esteem & think they are something we should cherish BUT:

    1) This one has been built at the cost of many other local libraries - I think this has reduced accesibility

    2) Cost has been massively overblown by trying to make an "Architectural Statement"

    3) A simpler/cheaper outer shell could still have an exciting inside to attract the youth you cite.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    "We are told you can't keep libraries open because of the cuts forced by central government and yet Birmingham finds £200m for this" said.Margaret Bailey, of Brent, north-west London

    Well Mrs Bailey, its Brent council that closed your libraries and why is it so awful that somewhere outside of london gets a first class facility?

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Yes, the architecture will divide a lot of people. Birmingham has some amazing architecture, old and new, and I'm not one for trying to replicate the past. This modern building can sit comfortably alongside the more traditional buildings, Birmingham is a city which celebrates its heritage and its future equally. I have to say it looks stunning at night when lit up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    I struggle with it. I'm pretty conflicted, dating back from the 90s when we kept getting told that "You cannot have that because it would cost X million pounds."

    But then we all woke up one day to find the treasury had handed 37 BILLION to Northern Rock at no notice and no questions asked and suddenly I figured money was no longer an object.

    I guess I am never destined to understand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Absolutely crazy!

    Technology & online retail has made accessing books & knowledge easy & cheap.

    From my experience the most important function of public libraries these days is as community centres. Maybe it has value as a destination building or landmark.

    Otherwise, this is a massively expensive museum

    Has this been a misguided ego trip for some local politicians ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Its ok if you live in Birmingham close to the library, you can visit and borrow books but in order to get the most benefit from libraries they must be localised and not centralised. The cost of this library would have sustained numerous small town and village libraries. Is the intention to centralise learning as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Why are we even questioning spending on a library at all ? Have we become so dumb that we don't realize the benefits of a library ? Should be asking what can be done to lure children and youngsters to the library, instead of standing like gangsters in the street, so that they can learn and exploit the resources the library will provide.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    It would look at lot nicer without all those horrible metalwork circles.

    Less is more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    I'm from Birmingham, knew the old library and have looked round the new library. I am so proud. No one would comment on the cost if it was in the capital - i do think for what we've got it's good value for money.
    Many modern buildings can look appalling, this is beautiful, inspriring and if that helps get people into libraries it can only be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    not too expensive - too bloomin ugly - for gods sake - first victorian bulding destroyed for 60's calamity. this second building is EVEN WORSE!! one fo the worst new buildings in UK - Birmingham - For Gods sake - go back to Victorian times - youve suffered enough as an arichitects playground

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    @64 "Not really sure why they would spend £200 million on a physical library when the entire knowledge of mankind is now available on the internet."

    Saves you having to wade through all the garbage on the internet. Libraries aren't full of adverts, special offers, conspiracy theories etc.


Page 15 of 19


BBC Birmingham & Black Country



Min. Night 16 °C

BBC Local Live

    Good evening 18:01:

    BBC Local Live is back from 08:00 on Thursday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    Midlands Today 17:58: Mary Rhodes Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    On the programme tonight: Tributes to West Midlands first police and crime commissioner Bob Jones - over 800 turned out to celebrate his life at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

    And, rebuilding the economy brick by brick - the impact of the recovery in construction and steam punk anyone? All will be explained at 18:30 on BBC One.

    Children playing 17:56: Alex Homer BBC News Online

    This is the back garden where the two children were playing with a football earlier today, according to their cousin Dennis.

    Missing children

    It is connected to a small alley you can access off Nigel Road. Anyone with any information about their whereabouts is asked to call police on 101.

    Park searched 17:51:

    West Midlands Police tweets: MISSING CHILDREN UPDATE - Officers are showing photos of the children to passers-by in Washwood Heath. Ward End park is also being searched.

    Cricket 17:45: Richard Wilford BBC WM Sport

    Looks like Warwickshire will face a couple of awkward sessions with bat tomorrow. Sussex 116/2, lead by 196, 15 overs left today.

    Coverage continues online via BBC Sport tomorrow from 11:00.

    Family gathered 17:38: Alex Homer BBC News Online

    Dennis Sava went on to say the family are Romanian and Saina speaks a bit of English while Adi is not as able to use the language.

    There are a number of family members and friends gathered at the home and outside at the moment.

    'Everybody looking' 17:27: Alex Homer BBC News Online

    I'm in Washwood Heath speaking to people about the two missing children. I've just spoken to the children's cousin Dennis Sava, a painter and decorator, aged 22. The father-of-one lives on Highfield Road nearby himself.

    He said: "Their father says they were playing in the back garden but when he went out to see them at about midday, they were no longer there.

    "Everybody is looking for them. We're just waiting for some word from them."

    Song for Bob 17:26: via Facebook

    Wolverhampton Today posts: Rest in Peace Bob Jones - a man who dedicated his life to serving the people of Wolverhampton and the West Midlands.

    A celebration of life for Bob Jones

    As Bob's coffin was carried out of the Civic, the audience sang his favourite song: Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

    See coverage of this service on BBC Midlands Today at 18:30.

    Murder suspect sectioned 17:14:

    A 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the double murder of a Solihull couple has been detained under the Mental Health Act, police say.

    Scene at Hermitage Road, Solihull

    The bodies of Pin Chang, aged 58, and his wife Quoi Chang, aged 50, were found with stab wounds, after reports of an attack inside the property in Hermitage Road earlier this month.

    'Too many people' 17:08: via Facebook

    We've been asking for your experience of students after BBC WM's report on claims students are turning some areas of Birmingham into "shanty towns".

    Tom Oufc Phipson posts: "I don't think this problem is restricted to students.

    "Yes students are given a bad name but there's plenty of examples around where families have too many people under one roof. Its a problem for the council to sort (add more bins in these areas) and the problem wouldn't exist."

    Have your say on the issue on the BBC WM Facebook page.

    News headlines 17:00: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    The headlines at 17:00 on BBC WM:

    Rail disruption continues 16:52:

    The signalling problem at Barnt Green has now been resolved and all lines are now open again, the National Rail website reports.

    While services return to normal disruption is expected to continue until about 20:30.

    Saina and Adi missing 16:45:

    West Midlands Police tweets: More info on the missing children. They are Saina Sava (11-year-old girl) and Adi Sava (4-year-old boy).

    Photos of missing children 16:35:

    Police release a description of the children they want to find, after they went missing in Washwood Heath at midday.

    Missing children in Washwood Heath

    Saina Sava and her brother Adi were last seen on Wright Road.

    'Ludicrous and unfounded' 16:33:

    Former MEP Nikki Sinclaire says she "strongly refutes" the charge of money laundering and misconduct in public office.

    She says in a statement: "I am disappointed that the police have chosen to charge me with the above offences without questioning me on them, after a two and a half year investigation.

    "I strongly refute these charges and will be firmly defending myself. I am certain I shall be found innocent of these ludicrous and unfounded accusations."

    Missing children descriptions 16:19:

    Police release more details of the two children they are searching for.

    The 11-year-old girl is wearing light blue jeans with diamante studs. The four-year-old boy is wearing a yellow t-shirt, yellow/brown shorts and has short hair which is brushed forward.

    Anybody who thinks they have seen them is urged to call 999.

    Helicopter search 16:08:

    NPAS Birmingham tweets: We've been busy searching for 2 missing children in the Washwood Heath area of Birmingham - see @WMPolice for further details. #airsupport

    Top story 15:58: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    In the news at 16:00, our top story: The former West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire has been charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office.

    We'll have the latest from our reporter Alice Rosenthal on this in the bulletin shortly.

    Search for missing children 15:51:

    Police are appealing for help to find an 11-year-old girl and boy aged four who have gone missing in Washwood Heath.

    The girl is described as 5ft tall with long dark hair in a bun. The four-year-old is thought to be in a black and red four-wheeled pushchair.

    Anyone with information or sees them is urged to dial 999. West Midlands Police says its helicopter is assisting in the search for the children.

    Missing children 15:40:

    Police are appealing for sightings of two children who've gone missing in Washwood Heath.

    An 11-year-old girl, a boy aged four, are said to have gone missing on Wright Road at about midday.

    Death probed 15:31: Express and Star

    CCTV footage from a police station is being studied by independent investigators after a mother-of-four died shortly after being arrested.

    Murder investigation 15:09:

    A body is discovered in a burnt out car in Birmingham, prompting a murder investigation.

    Det Insp Warren Hines says they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the death, following the arrest of a man yesterday evening.

    News headlines 14:57: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM
    School break in 14:45:

    Do you know this man?

    Photo of a man police want to speak to

    Police say they want to trace him after a break in at Moseley Secondary School on 5 July.

    Court appearance 14:27:

    Former MEP Nikki Sinclaire will appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 17 September, West Midlands Police said.

    Ms Sinclaire, 45, of Shirley, was arrested in February 2012 and has been on police bail.

    Three more people arrested over the matter will not face any further action.

    'False travel expense claims' 14:21:

    The CPS said it is alleged Ms Sinclaire used funds paid into her bank account by the European Parliament in respect of false travelling expenses claims.

    The offences are said to have taken place between October 2009 and July 2010.

    Nikki Sinclaire charged 14:14: BREAKING NEWS

    Former West Midlands UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire is charged with money laundering and misconduct in public office relating to travel expenses claimed while serving in the European Parliament, the Crown Prosecution Service says.

    Body found in field 14:07:

    A body found in a field in Burntwood is thought to be that of missing Walsall woman Amanda Hawkins.

    Ms Hawkins, 44, went missing from her assisted accommodation complex in Moxley on 30 May.

    Police say the body is believed to be that of Ms Hawkins but further tests will take place to confirm the identity and cause of death.

    News at 2pm 13:59: BBC WM

    Our top story is the murder investigation being launched after a body was found in a burnt out car in Erdington last night.

    'Down to earth' 13:54:

    Joe Mace, 50, from Wolverhampton, said he had known Bob Jones for 30 years.

    Joe Mace

    "A very good bloke has gone," he said.

    "He was articulate, friendly, simple. He wasn't stuck up even though he recently got elected to high office."

    West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Jones died on 1 July.

    Black bows 13:38:

    Locomotive No.7 'Tom Rolt' at Tywyn Wharf has black bows tied on the front of it to mark the funeral of Bob Jones.

    Locomotive No.7 'Tom Rolt' at Tywyn Wharf

    Mr Jones was a member and supporter of Talyllyn Railway. His family ask those who wish to mark his death to make a donation to the charity.

    'Popular man' 13:27:

    Paul Flint, 42, from Wolverhampton, is at the celebration for former Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones who died on 1 July.

    Mr Flint said he had known him for 10 years.

    "He was a very nice person, very personable, very easy to talk to," he said.

    "I saw him on various (Camra) trips and he was a very likable, very popular man."

    Sewer collapse 13:18:

    Formans Road in Sparkhill, Birmingham, is closed in both directions at the A34 Stratford Road junction, because of a sewer collapse, BBC Travel News reports.

    'Benefits Street' warning 13:17:

    James Turner Street in Birmingham had the spotlight shone on it when it appeared on Channel Four programme Benefits Street.

    Sign on a street in Southampton telling Love Productions not to film there

    The production company behind the programme, Love Productions, is filming in Southampton for a new series looking at immigration.

    It looks as though people in Southampton aren't keen though - this is one sign which has been placed warning camera crews not to film. BBC reporter Joanna Palmer tweets this photo on Derby Road in the city.

    Coffin procession 13:07: Andrew Dawkins BBC News

    Bob Jones' coffin has been brought into Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

    Bob Jones' coffin
    In the news 13:00: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    We'll have the latest local, national and international news headlines in the bulletin.

    Plus, we'll have the latest from our sports reporter Richard Wilford as Warwickshire hope to build on a sizeable score on day three of their County Championship match with Sussex. Listen live.

    Guard of honour 12:50: Andrew Dawkins BBC News

    More than 800 people are expected at Wolverhampton Civic Hall this afternoon for a service to the police and crime commissioner Bob Jones.

    Friends of Bob Jones gathering outside Wolverhampton Civic Hall

    The coffin is due to arrive at 12:50 and I'm told there will be a police guard of honour. Friends, family and colleagues who knew Bob are wearing red.

    A private funeral will take place later this afternoon.

    Body information appeal 12:40:

    Police want anyone with any information about the body found in a burnt out car in Erdington to get in touch.

    If you can help call police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    'Unusual crime' 12:34:

    A man remains in custody following the discovery of a body in a burnt out car.

    The identity of the person is yet to be established and a post mortem is due to take place, police say.

    Det Insp Warren Hines said it is the early stages of what is likely to be "a very complex investigation into an exceptionally unusual crime."

    "An arrest has been made and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this matter," he said.

    Murder arrest 12:23: BREAKING NEWS

    A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a body was discovered in a burnt out car in Erdington last night.

    West Midlands Police say they were called out to Feltham Road at around 20:30 by a member of the public reporting a parked car on fire.

    Heading to Wolverhampton 12:14: Andrew Dawkins BBC News

    I'm on my way to the service to celebrate the life of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, that is happening in Wolverhampton later.

    Mr Jones, died "in his sleep" aged 59 earlier this month.

    Hundreds of people are expected to attend the service at the Civic Hall. They have been asked not to wear black but an item of red clothing by his family.

    News headlines 11:58: Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    The headlines at 12:00 on BBC WM:

    • A former care worker from Birmingham has appeared before magistrates charged with seven counts of sexual assault and one of rape
    • Hundreds of thousands of school support staff and local government workers are going on strike in September
    • People in part of Birmingham claim students are turning the area into a shanty town - with too many people living in houses and litter everywhere
    Signalling problems 11:48:

    Due to signalling problems at Barnt Green, all trains between Birmingham and Worcester are not serving Bromsgrove, Network Midlands reports.

    Flood scheme plans 11:36:

    A new flood scheme for Perry Barr and Witton is being proposed by the Environment Agency.

    Members of the public are being invited to attend two drop-in sessions next week.

    The proposal includes a localised low level wall construction and wall replacement through Witton.

    Cricket commentary 11:25: Richard Wilford BBC WM Sport

    Another glorious morning at Horsham for day three of Sussex v Warwickshire.

    Sussex v Warwickshire - view from the press box

    Hear full commentary online now.

    Bus sex assault 11:16:

    Police have released a photo of a man they would like to speak to after a woman was verbally abused and then sexually assaulted.

    Man police want to speak to

    The woman, in her late teens, was approached by a man on the number 243 bus during the afternoon of 30 April. He got off the bus in Cradley Heath.

    In the news 10:59: Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Another strike by school support staff and local government workers has been announced.

    Members of Unison will walk out on Tuesday the 30th of September over their ongoing row over pay. Hear that story and others in the news at 11:00. Listen live.

    M6 lanes re-open 10:50:

    Highways Agency tweets: All lanes now open on #M6 sb btwn J3A and J3 due to an earlier accident. Thanks to @Highways_Agency Traffic Officers and @warkspolice.Delays

    'Terrific legacy' 10:39:

    The widow of Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones says the service today is to say "thank you" to her husband who spent so much of his life helping others.

    Sarah Jones says: "He was very good at listening. And then following it up and trying to do something about it.

    "All the letters I've had, at least half of them say say 'Bob did so and so for me'. It's helped us. It's a terrific legacy to have - that you've managed to help people."

    Inside a helicopter 10:28:

    Ever wondered what it looks like inside a police helicopter? NPAS Birmingham tweets this 360 photo of the cabin.

    Inside the West Midlands police helicopter
    Neighbour's arson charge 10:17: Birmingham Mail

    Neighbour charged with arson following fire at Coseley flats.

    M6 delays 10:11:

    Two lanes of the M6 Warwickshire are closed southbound between J3a M6 Toll and J3, A444 (Nuneaton), because of an accident, BBC Travel News reports.

    Travel time is 60 minutes. Congestion to J4, M42 (Coleshill).

    In the news 09:59: Steve Hermon Journalist, BBC WM

    Students say that claims they're turning some parts of Birmingham into ghettos aren't true.

    In the news at 10:00, we'll hear from a student living in Selly Oak who lives in a house with seven other people. Listen live.

    Which sport? 09:58: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony takes place in Glasgow later. To mark the occasion, and to have a giggle, BBC News has put together a short test to work out which sport best suits you. Answer the questionaire now.

    Commonwealth Games sports icons

    My closest matches are: Hockey - Rugby sevens and athletics (throwing).

    I did play hockey and throw shot put at school - though that was some time ago!

    Teachers' 'Trojan Horse' review call 09:44:

    The council-commissioned review into the so-called Trojan Horse allegations "ought to be reviewed itself", teachers say.

    Ian Kershaw's report

    Members of the National Association of Head Teachers said Peter Clarke's government-commissioned report into allegations of a hardline Muslim takeover of schools was more thorough.

    The two reports differed in their conclusions, although neither found evidence of extremism in the schools.

    Cricket: Sussex v Warwickshire 09:30: BBC Sport
    Council meeting 09:15:

    Birmingham City Council health and social care scrutiny panel meeting is live online from 10:00.

    The agenda includes an inquiry session on dementia.

    Summer fun ideas 09:07: via Facebook

    Wolverhampton Today posts: Looking for something to keep the kids occupied today (and throughout the summer hols)? Then check out the special activities taking place at Bert Williams Leisure Centre, Central Baths and Aldersley Leisure Village... more details here:

    Summer fun at Wolverhampton leisure centres
    News headlines 08:57: Kevin Pashby Journalist, BBC WM

    I'm reading the news bulletins on BBC WM this morning. The headlines at 09:00:

    • There's calls for restrictions to be brought in to limit the number of people who can live in one property - over claims students are turning parts of Birmingham into shanty towns
    • A fourth man has appeared in court charged with murdering a man in Sparkbrook at the start of the month
    • US intelligence officials say they have no evidence of "direct" Russian involvement in the Malaysian jet crash over eastern Ukraine
    Metro delays 08:53:

    The Metro tweets: Midland Metro running with minor delays due to a tram failure in Birmingham

    Bob Jones memorial 08:50:

    Friends, and colleagues will gather in Wolverhampton today at a memorial service for the West Midlands police commissioner Bob Jones, who died earlier this month in his sleep.

    Bob Jones

    Hundreds are expected to attend today's celebration of his life at the city's Civic Hall.

    Speedway: Wolves 44-46 Lakeside 08:40:

    Speedway, Wolves' hopes of making the play-offs in the Elite League took another turn for the worse with a 46-44 defeat at the hands of Lakeside at Monmore Green last night.

    Ricky Wells was Wolves' top scorer with 12 points.

    Team manager Peter Adams says Lakeside were lucky to win after two of his riders suffered bike problems.

    As it happened
    • News, sport and weather for Wed 23 July
    • Join us again from 08:00 on Thursday
    • Listen: BBC WM
    Baton guard 08:33: Halesowen News

    A former Wolverley CE Secondary School pupil is guarding the Queen's Baton on its relay around Scotland as part of this year's Commonwealth Games.

    The baton arrives in Glasgow today.

    Cannon Hill Park 08:30:

    BBC Local Live's Ed Barlow snapped this picture of "tropical Birmingham" while running through Cannon Hill Park this morning on his way to work.

    Cannon Hill Park

    Share your Birmingham and Black Country photos with us - email, tweet or upload them on Facebook.

    Slow traffic 08:20:

    BBC Travel News reports of delays of up to 40 minutes on the A456 eastbound in Halesowen between the B4183 Hagley Road junction and the B4043 Manor Lane junction.

    And in Birmingham there's slow traffic on the inbound A38(M) Aston Expressway and the A38 southbound and northbound around St Chads Queensway because of the tunnel closures.

    Sparkbrook murder charge 08:13:

    A fourth man has appeared in court, charged with murder after a man was stabbed in Sparkbrook earlier this month.

    West Midlands Police say Sardar Khattak, 34, from Bordesley Green, has been remanded in prison.

    So far four men have been charged with the murder of Ullah Khan, who died from a stab wound to the neck as violence broke out between two groups of men on 2 July.

    'Shanty town' claims 08:09: BBC WM

    People in a part of Birmingham claim students are turning the area into a shanty town - with too many people living in houses and litter everywhere.

    Residents in the Bournbrook district of Selly Oak say they're fed up with landlords turning properties into student accommodation.

    Hear more on this story on BBC WM.

    Mostly fine and dry 08:05:

    Patchy low cloud will soon clear, to leave another mostly dry and fine day and it will become very warm or locally hot.

    Isolated heavy and thundery showers may move westwards across some southern parts in the afternoon. A high of 28C (82F).

    Good morning 08:00: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you the very latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you'd like to get in touch, and let us know about something happening in your area, please email or tweet @BBCWM.



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