Coventry City Council

Election results for 2019

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City's first Asian mayor dies

Coventry's first Asian Lord Mayor has died, it's been announced.

Councillor Sucha Singh Bains and wife
Coventry City Council

Sucha Singh Bains served virtually continuously as a councillor since he was first elected in 1990, said the city council.

Apart from a brief two-year absence he represented the people of Upper Stoke for the Labour Party, serving as Lord Mayor in 2003-2004.

Leader of the Council, Councillor George Duggins, said: “Sucha was a good friend and a wonderful councillor who cared very deeply about the people of his ward and of the city.

“He worked tirelessly and he was an example to all councillors. I came to the council shortly after Sucha and he was always a great friend and great source of advice."

The 83-year-old died after a long battle with illness, it added.

School polling stations row deepens

Election officers have hit back angrily at calls from the education secretary for general election polling stations not to be placed in schools.

Gavin Williamson said he had written to council leaders, urging them to avoid disruption to school nativity plays and Christmas concerts, which could clash with the 12 December election day.

Children in a nativity play
Getty Images

Jess Phillips, Labour candidate for Birmingham Yardley, tweeted a parent had contacted her to say a primary school's been forced to call off its fundraising Christmas fete in order to be a polling station. The news split opinion on social media.

Election officers have responded to the education secretary to express their "extreme disappointment" and said in many places there weren't alternatives.

The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA), which represents returning officers. told Mr Williamson his letter demonstrated a "complete lack of knowledge and understanding".

The AEA said a winter election brought added problems and laid the blame in sourcing polling stations at Parliament's snap decision to hold an election.

Coventry City Council said it had to confirm bookings by the end of last month in order to get polling cards printed and none of the schools due to be used had Christmas clashes.

Boarded-up medieval kitchen could reopen

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

A medieval kitchen which has been boarded up since the 1950s could be opened up to the public.

St Mary's Guildhall, Coventry

A planning application to investigate the possibility at St Mary's Guildhall, is due to be submitted by the city council in Coventry.

The local authority's making the move after experts recommended it review the future of the building and make it a better visitor attraction.

The kitchen's believed to be one of the last intact medieval kitchens in England and, if the application's approved, they'll find out how much work is needed to restore it since it was covered up in 1954.

The recycler of Seville

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

A Spanish firm which converts non-recyclables into new plastics is being lined up as an “ideal addition” to a proposed £34.5m recycling facility in Coventry.

Council house

A council official is to visit Plastic Energy at its site in Seville later this month to see its production plant in action.

Based on the findings, the council could attempt to bring the firm to the city in a move which would mean Plastic Energy’s first plant expansion in Europe.

An authority report said “an investment in this technology could make a commercial return” for the council.

Residents on 'minging' streets amid missed bin collections

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

Missed bin collections have led to complaints of rats, flies and smells in Coventry’s streets.

"The streets are a sea of bins everywhere and minging," one resident, Gill Dawkins, said.

“What with litter everywhere stuff dumped outside of peoples houses, bins overflowing. It is disgraceful,” she said.

Generic of bin man taking away waste

Some residents complained they hadn’t had some bins collected for four weeks, although Coventry City Council said extra Saturday crews had helped them catch up fully on the service.

The local authority blamed problems on foreseen issues such as booked staff holidays and levels of summer garden waste, alongside “a higher than usual” level of staff sickness.

City council deputy 'taking early retirement'

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

The deputy chief executive of Coventry City Council is taking early retirement.

The local authority said Martin Yardley oversaw its Place Directorate, the department running most of its front-line services.

His exact leaving date has not been revealed, but the council says he'll still be looking after major developments "over the coming months".

It adds that the focus on Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021 won't change.

Council leader questions latest Ricoh appeal

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Sport

Coventry City Council leader George Duggins has called on the owners of Coventry City football club to explain "what they are hoping to gain" by taking the matter of the sale of the Ricoh Arena to the European Commission.

Ricoh stadium
Getty Images

The club is making the move after being denied an appeal over the sale by the British courts, but owners Sisu claim the Ricoh was undervalued by £28m, and is asking the Commission to see if the deal breaks state-aid rules.

Coventry will play at St Andrew's in Birmingham next season after failing to agree a new deal with arena owners Wasps.

Council 'left disabled man struggling'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

A council has been rapped by a government watchdog for failing a disabled man who was left struggling to maintain his hygiene for 16 months due to delays to home adaptations.

Coventry council house

The man, who struggles to walk upstairs, can only walk short distances, and uses a wheelchair outside, first requested adaptations to his home to the council in March 2016.

By law, the authority should have ensured works were carried out within 12 months of confirming the application, but the work was not signed off until November 2017 – a 16-month wait.

As a result of the findings, the council has agreed to pay £500 to the complainant “to acknowledge the distress and inconvenience caused to him”.

A spokesman for the council said: “We are aware of this case and the judgement. “As a result our systems for recording correspondence and information have already been improved.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found Coventry City Council had “failed in its primary duty under social care legislation” to meet the man’s eligible needs.

'A great honour' for Coventry's new mayor

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Tom Davis

The new Mayor of Coventry has described her appointment as a “great honour and privilege”.

Councillor Linda Bigham

Councillor Linda Bigham was sworn in at Coventry Cathedral today, watched on by her three children, three grandchildren, and husband Kerry.

The 71-year-old Labour councillor, originally from Birmingham, has represented the city's Longford ward since 2004.

“I cannot believe I am in this position and it is only now that you realise what a journey you have been on," she said.

European Commission 'assessing' Ricoh sale to Wasps

The European Commission says it is currently assessing a complaint it has received in connection with the sale of Coventry's Ricoh Arena to Wasps.

Ricoh Arena
Getty Images

Coventry City's owner Sisu has taken its legal complaint to Europe after the Supreme Court threw out its appeal over a judicial review into the sale by Coventry City Council.

Sisu claims the Ricoh was undervalued by £28m, and is asking the European Commission to see if the deal breaks state-aid rules.

The European Union has rules on how much government money can be given to commercial enterprises to ensure one does not get an unfair advantage over another.

An EU spokesperson said: "The Commission has received a complaint regarding the sale of the Ricoh Arena to Wasps Rugby Club and is currently assessing it in line with its standard procedures."

Coventry City had been in talks to stay longer at the Ricoh Arena, but Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood said the club had "entered such discussions in good faith" and that because the case had been taken to the EU, its conditions for negotiations hadn't been met.

English Football League clubs will discuss the issue on 29 May.