Archive | Lifestyle

How landscaping our gardens could be contributing to localised flooding

Posted on 13 September 2017 by editor

We all like a nice garden and driveway. But does our desire to strive for low maintenance landscaping contribute to flooding? The answer to this is yes. As more and more of us opt for block paving and concrete driveways, greater excess water ends up in the storm drains, where previously it would be absorbed by grasslands and flower beds.

Did you know that if you install a new driveway and it slopes towards the road, then building regulations require you to install a soakaway? Few people know this, but a simple 5ft square soakaway ensures that any excess rainwater is absorbed appropriately into the ground, rather than ending up in the local river. If you don’t install a soakaway, then it could lead to problems down the line selling your property. Even worse, it will only take one unhappy local neighbour to bring a civil claim against a homeowner and successfully win, and the courts will be overwhelmed with claims.

Kerb appeal is of course very important and there’s nothing better than a nice landscaped garden to welcome you home at the end of your day.

Despite this, we all have a duty as homeowners to ensure we provide a sustainable neighbourhood. The risk of flooding had increased over the years, there is of course lots of speculation and science to indicate why this maybe happening, but ultimately, if we want low maintenance driveways and landscapes, then we need to ensure that it complies with building regulations.

If you are looking to develop your landscape or driveway and you know that your driveway slopes towards the road, you should be asking your driveway company if they are going to install a soakaway. If they say no, then move onto another company because they should be complying with regulations. If building regulations find your new driveway in breach, then it is your responsibility to rectify the matter, not the driveway company. It also won’t be the driveway company that lands up in the courts, it will be the homeowner.

This article has been brought to you by – a local business that is Which? Trusted Trader accredited and Trading Standards No Rogue Traders approved. They specialise in the installation of block paving driveways and fine patios.

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Company seizes opportunity to recruit at Gay Pride

Posted on 03 May 2016 by editor

With over 100,000 people due to attend Birmingham’s gay pride, the festival is a good opportunity to recruit from the LGBT community. Police Recruitment Manager – David Vidgen has used this tactic before, deploying the recruitment team to the event in order to raise the awareness of careers in the service. The LGBT community can often be hard to reach, in many companies there can be a stigma and it can be difficult for gay workers to reach their potential. Attending Gay Pride is a real opportunity to showcase the work a company has done, not least allowing gay workers to tell and share their stories and experiences of working for a particular employer. It can also allow the company to show the human element of their business, rather than the corporate machine.

From experience, Gay Pride is really good at promoting long-term career opportunities and for overcoming perhaps some negative organisational perceptions. People often have a perception of a company, and the LGBT community can sometimes find this perception as a barrier to entry. Often the perception is incorrect, so attending Pride is a real opportunity to breakdown barriers and to highlight the good work a company does, not just in the LGBT community but across all user groups.

Gay Pride is attended by over 75,000 people from all across the world. It runs Saturday to Bank Holiday Monday and includes a variety of events including a Parade through Birmingham, music festival, food, cabaret entertainment, funfair, plus lots more. You can get involved in the 2017 event by visiting Birmingham Pride website.

Gay Pride is just one of a number of ways that David Vidgen has utilised large scale events as a means of recruitment. Having a presence at venues where these is considerable footfall can be advantageous, not least because of the exposure it can provide. Many companies under estimate the value of taking the business to the community. It provides a great opportunity, not only to recruit from the adult population, but to target the next generation of employees. If the company has a negative perception, there’s no better way to overcome this than by putting the company out there. Targeting the next generation helps to break down barriers and leave a long lasting impression with a group of people who in time will be your next pool of potential applicants. There are particular industries where this would be favourable, most notably the police service. The police service has a terrible reputation in some communities, and sitting behind the desk or failing to turn up when crimes occur, will certainly not help solve this problem. Resources or not, without effort to overcome prejudices or negative perceptions, those perceptions will never change. What’s more, just saying that applicants from particular groups are welcome to apply, again this does nothing to combat any negative perceptions. The approach must be multi faceted, and must include the highest standards possible of recruitment to ensure that the right people are employed. Where employees have been recruited over a period of time and through differing recruitment standards, a modified approach needs to be taken to address any under performers, or those who don’t display the qualities of a modern organisation. You also need to include role-models and ambassadors, and free them up from others duties so they can commit 100%. All too often, they have other commitments, and this impacts on their ability to carry out the task to the best of their abilities. Where advertising has been utilised in the past, this has made little to no effect on the recruitment of staff from under represented groups. Advertising post millennium is now so fragmented, advertising just doesn’t have the coverage it once had. Don’t waste your money on adverts, focus on outreach campaigns, as these provide the perfect platform to actually get out there and speak. This is why so many political parties carry this task leading up to local and national elections. The problem is, they don’t turn out in the community at any other time, so the public are skeptical. If you are going to undertake outreach programmes, make sure they are regular, because it’s this regularity that breads familiarity.

This article has been written by David Vidgen.




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The true cost of selling your home in Birmingham

Posted on 18 May 2015 by editor

There have been many reports in the past year that house prices in Birmingham have increased by around 10%. Which is obviously great for most households who want to see equity in their property. But as house prices increase, so does the lion’s share of commission. Estate agents have cut their fees to as low as 0.5%, but because house prices have increased, it’s really nothing more than a trivial balancing act.

History tells us that the housing market is full of highs and lows. We are all more than aware that most first time buyers are being priced out of the market, and this is further compounded by means testing that puts many mortgages beyond most. The days of borrowing 5 times your salary are gone, and all outgoing expenditure is scrutinised so any mortgages, gym memberships etc are all now deducted from any possible mortgage offer.

So what happens when you need to sell your house but you can’t fund any fees or legal costs. Well, there are plenty of companies out there that will help you sell your house fast. One example is whom are based in Kings Heath, Birmingham. They specialise in helping you sell your house fast, and provide a no obligation cash offer within 24 hours after researching your market. They even offer £1000 towards your legal costs. This kind of buying and selling homes is really advantageous for homeowners who want to sell their property, even if your home has sitting tenants, are you on the brink of having your house repossessed, or you simply would like to sell your house, but continue to live in it and pay rent. Having your house purchased for cash is a really quick way to release equity for serving other projects or needs, this is not only ideal for individuals who are perhaps stuck for cash, but great for perhaps landlords who need to reduce their portfolio.

Selling your house via an estate agent when you want a quick sale is near on impossible. The condition and location of your property can cause some real problems; estate agents are notorious at keeping you waiting many months, as well as insisting you have a for sale board outside your home and strangers viewing your property. Companies that specialise in selling your house quick, take all this strain away and in most cases for no more than you would have perhaps paid an estate agent and fees. A cash buyer can give you some real flexibility and security when selling your home, and of course it’s completely chain free. But be careful, there are some unscrupulous businesses out there that will try and take advantage of you perhaps being in financial difficulties.

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Birmingham unveil £4bn transport plan

Posted on 17 November 2014 by editor

Birmingham City Council has unveiled a £4bn transport plan including new tram lines, high speed bus network and building new train stations. The 20 year plan have yet to be completely financed, but further funding is expected to come from Government and European sources.

Some of the plans being considered are a new super tunnel and an upgraded ring road.

Birmingham is considered to have poor inner city transport systems, and is fraught with congestion. This is primarily caused by the 1 million car journeys made into Birmingham each day. In the next 20 years it is estimated there will be 80,000 more vehicles if alternative transport systems are not put in place.

Some of the plans feature:

  • Rapid Transit Bus routes include a further 9 routes, priority lanes, 20mph average speeds and cashless payments
  • New Metro lines including links to Birmingham Airport, NEC and the new HS2 station in Digbeth

John Peters, who travels into Birmingham each day by car describes the current system as “dire” and welcomes upgraded transport plans. “Changes are urgently required, the current road network is barely sufficient, so with further cars estimated in the future, the road network desperately need to be relieved by improvements in other transport areas.”

For the second year running the Queensway Tunnels have been upgraded during the summer months, with improvements to the lighting and ventilation system.

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Largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria opens in Birmingham

Posted on 17 November 2014 by editor

For the 14th Year running the German Christmas festive market has opened its doors with over 180 stalls. Organisers have stated that it’s the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria.

The market brings a real festive spirit to Birmingham, providing a real opportunity to sample traditional German food, beer, mulled wine and Christmas gifts, open daily between 10am and 9pm until 22nd Dec 2014.

“Anybody who has visited the market in recent years, will know that it provides a real sense of fun, festivity and outstanding food.  The traditional German Bratwursts are simply mouthwatering, and the beer is top notch. My kids love the atmosphere and the Carousel, it really makes for some great photo opportunities” said David Ward.


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Glamour Locks Hair Extensions – New Business Start up in Birmingham

Posted on 03 June 2014 by editor

To celebrate small business week, we are profiling a new start-up business that is taking Birmingham and Solihull by storm. Glamour Locks Hair Extensions offer that celebrity look at just a fraction of the cost with their new 100% human hair extensions with tiny tips.  Cheaper than original hair extensions, these tiny tips do not damage the hair because they do not require heat, brading, glue or sewing.

Emma Smith the founder of Glamour Locks said “the hair extensions that we fit are unique to the industry in that they use tiny tips technology that does not damage the hair. This allows users to wear the extensions with great comfort and for up to two months at a time per fitting, after which we simply remove and refit. Each set of extensions are designed to last approx 12 months. So unlike other hair extension brands, our hair can be reused, so is considerably cheaper and cost effective. The removal and refitting process just requires the use of new tiny micro tips that secure the hair in place every two months. This is because the users natural hair grows, so the extensions need refitting.”

Hair extensions have become widely used and accepted across the globe. This in turn has fueled the consumer markets, as the general public strive to achieve that celebrity look. From a start-up business perspective, you can see why Glamour Locks have entered the market. With every celebrity, actor, singer etc now using hair extensions, this is a phenomenal business opportunity to reach out to consumers who want that celebrity look and feel. We already know from the cosmetics market that if a product is priced reasonably, it will attract buyers. It appears that Glamour Locks are doing just this and we wish them every success.

Glamour Locks Hair Extensions are based in Kings Norton, Birmingham serving both the Birmingham and Solihull markets. You can visit their website at:

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Snow set to disrupt businesses in Birmingham this weekend

Posted on 03 December 2013 by editor

Up to 20cm of snow is forecast across England and Wales this weekend and is set to disrupt the retail sector and transport systems. Temperatures are due to drop by approx 8 degrees during the day, to around 2 degrees. Businesses are being told to prepare by ensuring that they have adequate salt, and where roads and access is required to ensure that it is cleared using a snow plough or alike.

The retail sector, which appears to have enjoyed a healthy November could be hit as shoppers avoid venturing out in the cold weather.

The forecast for Monday and Tuesday looks set to be mainly dry but rather cloudy, with light winds and the odd brighter spell. On Tuesday rain is expected to spread southwards across Scotland, moving across England and Wales on Wednesday.

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Advertise Jobs for FREE

Posted on 08 October 2013 by editor

Do you have jobs you want to advertise? We will allow you to advertise jobs for free on birminghamnewsplus in return that you mention, share and promote your jobs on our website by pasting the following HTML code on your website:

<a href=””>Find our Jobs on Birmingham News Plus</a>

or, simply share this page on twitter, facebook or google+ using the share button below.

It really is that simple. All we ask is that you tell others about our website by using the above HTML code, plus you share on twitter, facebook and any other social media platform.

Posts will normally go live within 48 hours. We accept vacancies in microsoft word format, acrobat pdf, excel, rich text format, plain text format or on the body of an email. Please remember to include your closing date. In the event that this is not included, posts will be removed within 28 days.

Simply send your vacancies by email to:

Advertise Jobs for FREE is at the discretion of the editor and birminghamnewsplus reserves the right to reject adverts if they do not meet our diversity standards.

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Longbridge Back in Business

Posted on 28 August 2013 by editor

After 10 years of decline and demolition, Longbridge is finally back in business. Today sees the first phase of a £1bn project to redevelop the former MG Rover landscape into a vibrant and thriving new town centre. The first phase of the development includes a new Sainsbury’s, Premier Inn, Greggs, Costa and much more. The centre also boasts a peaceful new park.

Ken Woolis was employed at MG Rover for 37 years and is now working for Sainsbury’s on the site.  He said: “It’s great to be back… I was part of the history and now I want to be part of the future of this shop.”

Mike Murray, from development firm St Modwen, said: “We’ve created 3,000 full-time jobs here so we’re half way back to the original amount of jobs that were here at Longbridge.”

Development is expected to continue for another 15 years on the site.

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Birmingham Businesses Prepare for Snow

Posted on 29 October 2012 by editor

Birmingham based businesses are bracing themselves for a cold snap after early autumn snow showers last week provided a bitter taste of what this winter may entail.

Snow in previous years has caused massive disruption to road and rail networks, which in-turn affect local businesses. Snow ploughs have previously sold out, so businesses are being encouraged to buy early this to avoid disappointment. Snow Ploughs are available at

David Peters a local photographer and business owner said, “Snow causes severe disruption to our daily routines. Simple journeys either by foot or car for most are very difficult, as driveways and walkways become blocked and unsafe. We are preparing early by purchasing some heavy duty snow ploughs, this will allow us to clear paths and roads very easily, not just for my own business benefit but for others in close vicinity.”

The forecast for the winter indicated freezing conditions, and if like the last two winters, it will be weeks of below -freezing temperatures. Birmingham Airport has also suffered in previous years with closure and many flights being cancelled.


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