WONDERFUL news for Stourbridge last week when it was finally announced we are to have a new police town centre police base and response team following a long campaign by myself, local councillors and residents.

This is something I have wanted to see happen since I was elected in 2019 and it is one of my priorities I can now tick off.

The people of Stourbridge have been adamant since the closure of the police station in 2017 that they wanted to see a police base back to deter crime and offer reassurance that policing was a priority.

The arrival of the new chief constable, Craig Guildford, and his focus on community policing has driven us to this point and I would like to thank him for pushing forward with this plan and for working with me to make the case that a police base in Stourbridge was needed.

The response from local people has been very positive. Many business owners in the town centre have been in contact to welcome the news. I am looking forward to going to visit when the location is announced and it is operational.

Inflation has fallen again from four per cent to 3.4 per cent and wage growth is now higher than the cost of living – a big relief after several years of high prices due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. This time last year inflation was 10.4 per cent so the government has made significant progress. Energy prices also continue to fall along with food prices.

However, inflation is still above the Bank of England’s two  per cent target so there is some way to go. Forecasters say it should go below two per cent and this might well lead to a cut in interest rates. It is a forecast, and other things could happen, but I am confident we will get there this year.

I have been applying pressure at government level about residents’ concern that broadband telegraph poles are put in roads and inconvenient places and without consultation with local people.

I have been in contact with quite a few fed up householders and I promised to help. The good news is ministers have listened and issued new guidance limiting telegraph broadband pole installation.

A letter reminding installers of their obligations has been sent. It says: “New telegraph poles should only be in cases where installing lines underground is not reasonably practicable, and only after ensuring that appropriate community engagement has taken place and that the siting of new infrastructure will not cause obstructions to traffic or unduly impact the visual amenity of the local area.”

Installers need to keep to the letter of the guidance. I will be keeping an eye out for any problems.