Councillor Ade Adeyemo’s speech at Full Council on the closure of Solihull Ambulance Station - Tuesday 4th February 2020.
“In November 2013, I came across for sale signs at the former Ambulance Station on Hermitage Road in Solihull.
“I immediately brought it to the attention of our then MP, Lorely Burt, who pulled out all the stops to ensure that double-crewed ambulances remained in Solihull.
“At the time, the West Midlands Ambulance Service agreed to retain ambulances and fast-responder cars at several locations within the borough. These are now all gone and the Ambulance Station at Solihull Hospital was the last remaining facility left in the borough.
“Almost exactly 6 years later, on the 13th of November 2019, I was informed that the West Midlands Ambulance Service had made the decision to close the current Ambulance Station at Solihull Hospital, the closure date being the 30th of January 2020.
“As before, managers at West Midlands Ambulance Service tried to hide their decision, fearing a public outcry.
“Make no mistake, this was nothing to do with the general election or purdah. They did not own up to the closure until after my article was published in the Solihull Observer, just before Christmas.
“Even then, they peddled the lie that the Ambulance Station was not due to close until the end of March 2020, whilst staff were being told otherwise.
“Solihull Ambulance Station is now closed - it was formally closed on the 30th of January, as I had been originally informed. Staff previously based in Solihull have all now been reallocated to other bases, including Warwick and Erdington.
“To be frank, I have zero trust in the management of the West Midlands Ambulance Service. They have been economical with the truth and deceptive throughout this shambolic closure.
“That they have closed such an essential facility, and kept everyone in the dark, including…
• The members of parliament for Solihull and Meriden,
• Solihull Council officers,
• The Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care,
• Elected members and local residents,
…just shows how unaccountable they have become.
“I think you will all agree with me that their behaviour in this matter has been utterly despicable and shows disdain for the people of Solihull and its environs.
“Since I was informed about the closure, I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues in Solihull and Meriden have done our upmost best to try and prevent this closure. We have collected over 1,300 petition signatures and we have run press and social media campaigns to ‘Save Solihull Ambulance Station’.
“Contrast this, and Lorely Burt’s actions in 2013, with those of our recently elected representatives. The response from both of our Conservative Members of Parliament has been abject, to say the least. I believe they both wrote letters... eventually!
“This was the first test of their commitment to keeping NHS services in Solihull, and they have failed miserably!
“Managers at Solihull Hospital are not innocent in this matter. For a long time now, they have been antagonistic towards the Ambulance Service, imposing parking charges on paramedics, not looking at the wider benefits their presence brought to Solihull and its residents. I have no doubt that this antagonism also played a part, however small, in the Ambulance Service’s decision to close Solihull Ambulance Station.
“Whilst the Ambulance Station is now closed, the fight to save it is not yet over. I understand from the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care that the West Midlands Ambulance Service will be called to Scrutiny, where I hope that they will be properly brought to account for their disastrous decision“.
It has been brought to my attention that the Ambulance Station at Solihull Hospital will close at the end of January 2020.
I am told that senior managers at the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) decided almost three weeks ago to close the Ambulance Station but chose to delay the announcement until after the December 12th general election because it was deemed 'politically sensitive'.
If true, this is a major blow for the residents of Solihull. The prospect of having to wait for an ambulance to arrive from Erdington, on the other side of the M6 Spaghetti Junction, is deeply concerning.
I am seriously concerned that this could put lives at risk. Therefore, I implore WMAS to reconsider their position and keep the Ambulance Station and its staff in Solihull.
Councillor Ade Adeyemo has called on Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, to conduct a review of the recent 'East Birmingham and North Solihull Consultation’ carried out by National Express West Midlands (NXWM), in collaboration with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM)
Commenting on the proposed changes to bus services in Solihull, Councillor Adeyemo said, "Several residents in my ward (Lyndon) have complained about the manner in which the consultation was handled.
'Firstly, the consultation was advertised as 'East Birmingham and North Solihull', with a 'public stakeholder session' arranged in Kingshurst. In fact, a whole raft of changes is proposed to bus services in the south of the borough. Most of these changes were not well publicised and many bus users will not be aware of the changes until they come into force at the beginning of September.
"Secondly, I am particularly concerned that NXWM published new timetables for the routes being consulted upon before having the opportunity to review consultation responses. What is the point in holding a consultation when the 'result' has been pre-determined?
"Finally, why was the consultation held in the middle of the holiday period? Surely, both NXWM and TfWM would know that holding such a consultation during the holiday period, when a lot of bus users are away, would exclude most from the consultation!
"This so-called consultation has been a massive waste of everyone's time! Ultimately this sham of a consultation only serves to erode what little faith Solihull's bus users have in National Express West Midlands (NXWM) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).
"It is for all of the above reasons that I have written to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, expressing my concern about the way in which this consultation has been carried out. This is happening on Mr Street's watch and he should be just as concerned as I am about the shabby way that NXWM and TfWM are treating the residents of Solihull. I hope that The Mayor will now conduct an urgent review of how this consultation was carried out as well as the suitability and efficiency of bus services in Solihull.
"Over the past few years, we have seen changes to bus services pushed through with scant regard for the needs of bus users in Solihull. Changes have included alterations to bus routes and timetables and in some cases, outright cancellation of routes that local people have come to rely upon. Changes to bus routes also have a disproportionate impact on elderly, disabled and visually-impaired users.
Councillor Adeyemo was also critical of Conservative-led Solihull Council, which he has accused of "Sitting back and being passive whilst bus companies play fast and loose with routes that local residents rely on.
"Routes have been changed, the numbers of buses per hour have been reduced and some services have been stopped altogether, all in the name of 'efficiency savings'. In the meantime, bus users in Solihull are having to endure longer waits for buses to arrive.
"Solihull Council is supposed to be working in partnership with TfWM and the bus operators. However, it is rare that anything is ever done when bus operators cut or make major changes to essential routes. Standing by and 'allowing' the former 37 bus service (now Number 4) to bypass the critical Olton Station transport hub is a glaring example of this inaction. Right now, the bus operators call the shots, to the detriment of local residents.
"Solihull deserves better. We demand better"!
Councillor Ade Adeyemo (Lib Dem, Lyndon) has blasted Solihull MP Julian Knight for ‘claiming credit’ for securing funding for a new unit to be built at Heartlands Hospital.
The Department of Health confirmed funding on Monday for the Ambulatory Care and Diagnostics (ACAD) Centre to be built at Heartlands Hospital. The state-of-the-art facility will help manage the Trust’s growing activity and the needs of patients across Birmingham and Solihull.
Councillor Adeyemo said, “This is yet another example of the Solihull MP claiming credit for something he had nothing to do with. The ACAD facility was on the cards well before Julian Knight became aware of it.”
Planning permission for the new ACAD facility was granted in 2017. Demolition of buildings on the site started in 2018 with construction works scheduled to start in 'spring 2019'. Construction of the new facility is scheduled to complete in 'late 2020'.
“Sadly, we are now used to this MP’s hypocrisy and his habit of claiming credit for everything under the sun.
"Solihull deserves better than this. We deserve an MP who represents the wishes, hopes and aspirations of the people of Solihull.
"We demand better".
Councillor Ade Adeyemo
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Solihull
Councillor Ade Adeyemo compares Solihull Council Leader Ian Courts’ WMCA Climate Emergency declaration to ‘Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus’.
On the 28th of February, Ian Courts was one of the Conservative Councillors who unanimously supported the then Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Bob Sleigh, as he refused to support Councillor Karl McNaughton’s motioncalling for Solihull Council to declare a climate emergency. Instead, Councillor Sleigh resolved for the motion to be ‘referred to the relevant Cabinet Member for further consideration’, effectively kicking it into the long grass.
Commenting on the WMCA declaration, Councillor Ade Adeyemo said, “I and my fellow Lib Dems Councillors welcome the WMCA Climate Emergency Declaration. It is a step in the right direction but there’s much more to be done to make sure that our children can live in a greener, safer and more prosperous world.
“The climate emergency is an existential threat. Air pollution is damaging too many lives. The Conservatives in Solihull haven’t taken this problem seriously. We have no time to lose: this is an urgent crisis that demands real action now.
“I was dismayed when the Conservatives, on the 28th of February, refused to back Councillor Karl McNaughton’s motion to declare a Climate Emergency in Solihull and commit to achieving carbon neutrality, even if it was "just an aspiration", as I recommended in the Council chamber.
“Yet, just four months later, there was their new Leader, Councillor Ian Courts, "spearheading" the WMCA's Climate Emergency Declaration. Quite frankly, the Conservatives' change of heart is tantamount to Saul's Conversion on the road to Damascus!
“It is shocking just how out of touch Conservative Councillors and the Solihull MP are on the big issues of the day that affect the lives of local residents. Everyone can see that they are having to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age.
“It is not that long ago that David Cameron ordered his aides to ‘get rid of all this green crap’. On current evidence, it's clear that Solihull’s Tories still can't shake off the ‘green crap’ mentality.
"Solihull deserves better. Demand better".