Tennis Court Revamps In Walsall Could Come At A Price For Players

17 council-owned tennis courts in eight parks across the borough will benefit from a £300,000 grant approved by the Lawn Tennis Association, but it may come at a price for players.

Work on the courts, including those located at Walsall Arboretum, Leamore and Pelsall, will start in April 2023 and are expected to be complete by the end of the summer.

Each set of tennis courts has been assessed to see what is needed to improve the facilities and work carried out will include resurfacing, new fencing, new nets and remarking.

Gate systems will also be installed requiring users to enter an access code to enter, whereas the current system for booking will be adapted to include a new charging model.

Pricing has not yet been established, but proposals include a yearly membership scheme costing £30 per adult, £10 for juniors or a family membership of £60, or a pay-and-play model costing £3 per hour at peak times.

Walsall Council is also considering the possibility of charging at certain sites and not others, or leaving a certain number of courts free to play each day.

You can currently have your say on the proposals via >

Police Urge Council To Revoke Walsall ‘Table-Dancing’ Club’s License

West Midlands Police have written a letter to Walsall Council encouraging them not to renew the Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence (SEV) for Savannah’s Gentlemen’s Club on Newport Street in the town.

The adult-only club currently sits on the floor above Valesha’s nightclub, which recently made headlines after 29-year-old Akeem Francis-Kerr was stabbed to death in early March.

Both Valesha’s and Savannah’s hold the same premises license, which was suspended as a result of the incident, with police reporting that the former has an association with gang members. A full hearing is due to take place soon.

However, Savannah’ still holds a current SEV license, which is due to expire on April 5.

The Express & Star reports that Savannah’s made an application to renew its SEV license in April 2022, but a letter from West Midlands to the Council states that it was “seriously deficient”, failing to make appropriate disclosures regarding the names of all of the appropriate people responsible for management.

A decision on whether Savannah’s SEV license will be revoked is expected to be decided by Walsall Council’s licensing sub-committee next week.

Free Anti-Slip Socks Plan To Reduce The Number Of Falls

Hundreds of pairs of anti-slip socks have been distributed to Walsall residents to help reduce the number of falls in the Borough.

The socks, which are made from stretchy polycotton with a mesh netting, are available in a range of sizes and have a silicone tread on the top and bottom of the sock to prevent slipping.

The free socks are in addition to an initiative launched by Walsall Council in November last year, where almost 1,000 ferrules, the rubber base of walking sticks that help increase manoeuvrability, stability & safety, were handed out.

If you are prone to falling, or if you have a walking stick where the rubber ferrule needs to be replaced, you can head to your local library, Walsall Manor Hospital, the Goscote Centre or Walsall Registry Office and a member of staff will be happy to help you out totally free of charge.

Councillor Keir Pedley, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care at Walsall Council, said, “Preventing falls is a priority for the Council and providing free anti-slip socks and ferrules is an easy and inexpensive way to help protect our residents.

Walsall Libraries Secure Funding For Digital Future

Walsall Council has secured funds totaling £202,349 from the Arts Council England Libraries Improvement fund.

The money will be invested in upgrading the digital infrastructure of the borough’s seven libraries, as well as its archive service and mobile library.

Plans include the updating of existing technology within the libraries, including the ability to print via Wi-Fi from your own device.

Other areas of improvement include touch-screen technology and better study and homework facilities.

The libraries that will benefit from the funding include: Aldridge, Bloxwich, Brownhills, Darlaston, Lichfield, Streetly and Willenhall.

Bloxwich Bonanza Is Back, Bigger And Better Than Ever

Bloxwich Bonanza is back for 2023! Following the success of last year’s free community event, which was attended by over 3,000 people, the community have got together once more to put on a summer fun-day for all the family.

Taking place on Saturday August 5 between 11-4pm, soak up the atmosphere at Bloxwich Park and enjoy a diverse range of live entertainment, browse the stalls and grab a bite to eat.

Get ready for the return of the popular dog show! Simply bring your talented pooch along on the day and impress the judging panel, made up of local councillors, to try to win glory in three categories: Best Costume, Most Obedient and Best Tricks.

Brand new this year for the little ones is the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. If you attended last year, you may remember the Bloxwich Bonanza mascot?

Now officially named Bufford, the cuddly bear will back in attendance for the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Children are asked to bring their own teddy bears and a blanket and the Bloxwich Bonanza team will provide them with some snacks to enjoy alongside Bufford.

The Bloxwich Bonanza is entirely put together by the town’s community who are looking for more volunteers who can help out in any capacity on the day or the lead up to the event.

If you can spare some time, please get in touch with them on their Facebook page, or by emailing:

See you there!

Birmingham Festival 23 celebrates one year anniversary of Commonwealth Games

Birmingham City Council is planning an exciting festival to mark the one-year anniversary of the Commonwealth Games.

A programme of free events that plan to showcase the creativity across our communities will take place in Centenary Square over 10 days and will be announced in full in June.

In addition to live music, performances and creative activities, the Birmingham 23 festival will feature a big screen that will re-live some of the magical moments of the summer of ’22.

The event will take place between Friday 28 July and Sunday 6 August and is being put together by a number of companies that were involved in the Commonwealth Games Festival, including Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces (OPUS) and JA Productions.

Alongside Team England Netball Captain, Ama Agbeze, Steven Knight has been confirmed as a patron of the event.

“I’m proud to be a Patron for Birmingham Festival 23 and proud that Birmingham City Council truly values culture,” said Steven.  

“The Games are still very fresh in people’s minds, it was such a joyful period in the city’s history. And now, with a great team pulling out all the stops to make this year’s events a celebration of the anniversary, people will again have something to look forward to that everyone can enjoy, and it’s all FREE. I can’t wait to see what the programme has in store.”

In the lead up to the festival, there’s an open call to creative community groups and artists to get involved in the festival programme. For more information, head to


Great Barr Thai boxer becomes British champion under unusual circumstances

A 16-year-old Thai boxer from Great Barr has achieved an incredible feat of becoming British Champion after he was called up to fight with just six hours’ notice.

Gene Smith, who represents the K-Star Thai Boxing Academy in Perry Barr, was partying on Friday night with family and had set out for work the following morning until he was called up to fight for the British World Kickboxing and Karate Association Muay Thai Title in Warrington.

Gene Smith, bruised but not beaten, celebrating victory.

Muay Thai, which is commonly referred to as Thai Boxing, is a combat sport that uses stand up striking along with various clinching techniques.

Despite weighing 52kg, Gene was asked if he wished to take on the fight in the under 60kg category and didn’t hesitate to accept the offer. On the journey to Warrington, he even tried to pile on some extra pounds by stopping to fill up at KFC.

“Weight can give you an advantage,” Gene told Pioneer Magazines. “I wanted to put on some extra weight before I stepped onto the scales”.

Undeterred with his initial concerns that he wasn’t fully fit, Gene overcame his opponent with style and lifted the coveted title. He now says that he’s “ready for anything”.

His next big challenge will be at the high profile WBC World Muay Thai Festival in Venice in June, where the plucky teenager has been called up to fight for England.

Gene, who went to school at Barr Beacon, says that he’s now looking for sponsors to help fund the trip.

If you can help, get in touch with his team at:

Walsall Council Launches Virtual Assistant

Walsall Council has launched a virtual assistant to help residents of the borough get answers to a variety of questions.

Named WALIS (Walsall’s Interactive Service), the chat bot icon can now be found on the bottom right-hand corner of all Council webpages.

The service is automated and allows users to type in what they are looking for help with, including bins and recycling, school admissions or Council Tax queries.  Other categories include street cleaning and graffiti and planning and building control.

Essentially, the bot offers an easier way to traverse the Council’s webpages.

McDonald’s Drive-Thru Plans For Former Buffet Island

Fast-food chain Mcdonald’s has issued a proposal to build a new drive-thru at the former home of Buffet Island on Queslett Road, Great Barr.

Buffet Island closed in 2020 and the building has been vacant for almost three years. Last year, real estate company Avison put forward plans to demolish the building so that the area, which includes a large car park, could be used for something else.

McDonald’s states that the building of a new restaurant and drive-thru would create 120 local jobs and support the local econmony.

One of the biggest concerns for local residents is the traffic that the new drive-thru could cause in an already-notorious traffic hot-spot.

Mcdonald’s says that it has a “carefully planned internal queuing system to regulate traffic within the site”. The project would accommodate 47 on-site car parking spaces, new recycling and waste facilities and new landscaping and tree planting on the site.

The company has also pledged to invest in local charities and children’s sports programmes.

A public consolation is now online allowing residents to voice their opinions on the plans. Find out more at:

The Guildhall In Walsall To Be Transformed Into Arts’ Centre

The Guildhall in Walsall is to be transformed after Walsall Council secured a grant of £3.7 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The grant is part of a £30.2 million Cultural Development Fund provided by Arts Council England to help support and grow creative businesses and art, science and technology projects.

The Grade II listed building will become the Creative Industries Enterprise Centre (CIEC) and will feature a gallery space for exhibitions, conference facilities hosting a range of creative events, and a café.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration Walsall Council said:

“This funding is a great endorsement of our continued work to drive innovation and regeneration across the Borough. Once known as the ‘Town of a 100 Trades’, Walsall’s rich creative heritage continues to this day. This project will champion Walsall’s unique offer and secure the area as a great place to live, work, visit and invest. “

The New Art Gallery, Urban Hax and Walsall Cultural Compact are involved in the project, who hope to continue Walsall’s push into becoming a centre of creative excellence.