A headshot of Rhi Storer

About Me

An award-winning journalist currently working as a Press Officer for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Previously, Local Democracy Reporter at Birmingham Mail and BBC and Reporter at The Guardian.

A recipient of the John Schofield Trust fellowship 2023 and winner of the Scott Trust bursary 2019.

Writing specialisms include news, politics, local government, crime, housing, and transport.

My Latest Work

How I'll make the West Midlands successful, by new mayor Richard Parker

It is no secret that I want to bring buses back under public control. The current system isn't working. We need bus services to be more accessible and affordable. On the doorstep I have heard countless tales of people not being able to go to work, their doctors' appointments, or school, because of our inadequate transport system.

Currently, we are pumping almost £75 million of annual subsidies into our bus system to avoid inflation-busting fare increases or severe reductions in services and rou

Andy Street outlines plan to treble social housing delivery

West Midlands mayor Andy Street has pledged to treble the number of social homes being built in the region as he campaigns for re-election.

Mr Street said the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) would directly fund the building of social housing for the first time using newly devolved affordable homes powers.

Central government committed to handing over control of the region’s Affordable Homes Programme to the combined authority as part of a devolution deal signed in March 2023.

Edgbaston cricket stadium redevelopment receives funding boost

A major hotel will be built and a spectator stand will be redeveloped at Edgbaston Stadium under new plans.

Part funded by an £18m loan from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the project includes plans to develop a four-star hotel at the Birmingham cricket ground.

The proposed hotel would include a a rooftop terrace, as well as pitch-view rooms with balconies.

Subject to planning approval, the work is due to begin September 2025, with construction expected to take up to two years.

Cheers to being crooked again. English pub razed after a fire to be rebuilt as it was

The 18th century Crooked House pub near Dudley, England, burned and was unlawfully bulldozed. Now its owners have been ordered to rebuild and keep its previous, lopsided specifications.

The owners of a quirky 18th century British pub unlawfully bulldozed after a mysterious fire last year were ordered Tuesday by a local council to rebuild it — and to stick to its original, lopsided dimensions.

The watering hole — known as the Crooked House for its leaning walls and tilting foundation — favored

Mayors put forward alternatives to HS2 scrapped northern section

Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, and Andy Street, the Tory mayor of the West Midlands, have joined forces on alternative and cheaper plans for the scrapped section of HS2, warning that “to do nothing is not an option”.

Burnham and Street shared a stage on Wednesday to put forward three options after the government abandoned the long-promised northern section of the high-speed rail line.

The mayors said their largely privately funded alternatives would cost “considerably le

Black Country historic pubs submitted for Grade II listing

A group of historic pubs have been submitted for Grade II-listed status in a bid to protect their legacy.

Five pubs across the Black Country were nominated by the public as part of the List Your Local initiative by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in partnership with the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

The list has been sent to Historic England to be reviewed and if agreed, the public body will then ask the secretary of state for culture, media, and sport, for approval.

It follows t

Boosting the power of Britain’s creative industries

In the overall push for economic growth, one sector in particular has gone from strength to strength over the past decade: Britain’s creative industries.

Britain’s creative industries are universally renowned and generate increasing revenues, both internationally and domestically. Over the past decade, the sector has grown at more than 1.5-times the rate of the wider economy, contributing £108bn in gross value added (GVA) annually.

The creative industries are also, increasingly, a major provid

Head start for afro haircare entrepreneur who turned down Dragon

A first-time entrepreneur has taken her afro haircare business from being valued at £125,000 on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme to £3 million in just two years.

Kameese Davis, chief executive of Nylah’s Naturals, turned down an offer of £50,000 from entrepreneur Sara Davies for 40 per cent of her business after appearing on the TV show in 2021.

Davis, 41, from from Sandwell in the West Midlands, has secured £530,000 for a minority stake from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and the West Mi

Preity Zinta to receive honorary doctorate at Diwali weekend celebrations in Birmingham | Hindi Movie News - Times of India

Preity G Zinta, one of the most popular and recognisable stars of Indian cinema, is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University ( BCU ) ahead of her visit to the West Midlands next weekend to help with the region’s Diwali celebrations.The 48-year-old will accept the honour in recognition of her contribution to Bollywood and the business world.It is understood the honorary degree will be formally presented to her by BCU in India next year.Ms Zinta will join Andy Street, M

Failure to complete HS2 will be betrayal of levelling up promises, voters warn

Failure to complete HS2 will be a betrayal of the Tories’ promises to level up the country, voters have warned as Rishi Sunak prepares to mutilate the project.

The PM is preparing to use his first party conference as leader to ditch the leg of the high speed line between Manchester and Birmingham. But the gathering turned into civil war as soon as it started on Sunday as his ministers and MPs squabbled over how to avoid the threat of electoral oblivion.

Polling shows Mr Sunak faces a backlash

UK steel purchase for tram tracks announced

The purchase of more than 860 tonnes of UK-made steel, for new rail tracks needed for the ongoing expansion of the Metro tram network, has been announced by the West Midlands mayor.

Andy Street signed a charter that enables government and other organisations to signal a commitment to using UK steel in major projects.

The announcement and signing took place as he officially opened steel firm Marcegaglia UK's new Oldbury facility.

West Midlands Metro has said it would expand in the future to se

Huge light rail order for UK steel boosts industry amid calls to buy British

Britain's steel industry will receive a huge boost today when an 860-tonne order to help build a light railway extension is unveiled.

West Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street is due to sign the UK Steel Charter pledge to use British-made metal as much as possible in public procurement deals. He will become the country’s first Metro Mayor to adopt the Charter, which is pioneered by trade body UK Steel.

Mr Street, who is due to visit Marcegaglia’s Oldbury site in Sandwell, said: “By signing the UK

Police object to shop's alcohol licence as area plagued by anti-social behaviour

West Midlands Police have objected to a convenience store applying for an alcohol licence because the surrounding area is blighted by 'anti-social behaviour'.

The police listed their objections to the alcohol licence at Soho Road convenience store and post office, located in Handsworth, at a licensing meeting at on Monday.

A range of objections from anti-social behaviour to the prevention of crime and disorder were heard.

'Biggest brownfield site in Europe': Rolfe Street regeneration plans approved

Plans to regenerate Rolfe Street, one of the most significant areas of brownfield urban renewal in Europe, have been approved by councillors.

The Rolfe Street masterplan was approved this week (21 June) by councillors at Sandwell council's cabinet in a move to bring up to 600 houses to the area.

The masterplan includes a public square; new green spaces linking up existing canals in the area; and new connecting points between the train station and the Midlands Metropolitan hospital.

Sandwell councillors agree to review parking charges after public outcry

Councillors have approved plans to revise parking charges to help local businesses after a public backlash.

A by senior councillors this week noted the local authority's changed position on the charges after "significant concerns" were raised by members of the public.

Sandwell Council wished to raise an annual five day season ticket in from £800 in 2023 to £1200 by 2027 - a 50% increase. Public backlash, however, has forced the council to withdraw parking charge increases in 2026 and 2027.

Senior cabinet member quits Dudley Council after accusations towards leader

A Dudley councillor who threatened to resign from her position in cabinet following accusations about the leadership style and conduct of council leader Patrick Harley has had her resignation accepted.

Natalie Neale, who holds the adult social care portfolio, sent an open letter to Patrick Harley, the leader of council, claiming he was not "a suitable person to lead the council". Councillor Harley responded that "I will therefore be treating her email as a resignation from my cabinet."

'Absolutely stupid' parking charges in Sandwell mitigated after public outcry

Parking charges are set to be mitigated by Sandwell council after public outcry over the proposed increases.

A by senior councillors this week (19 June) notes the local authority's changed position on the charges after "significant concerns" were raised by members of the public.

The scale of parking charges remain largely unchanged. This year, one hour of parking within West Bromwich remains £1.00 - rising to £1.80 by 2027. A day ticket is £8.00 rising to £10.00 by 2027.

Community centre transferred from council to family services group for £1

A community centre in is set to be transferred from Sandwell council to a family service for £1 under an asset transfer.

Hurst Road community centre is set to be transferred from the council to Sandwell Asian Family Services (SAFS) for an annual rent of £1 with a 99 year repair lease.

The asset transfer would enable SAFS to expand their services in an area of Sandwell the council describes as having "little community infrastructure".

Sandwell council to apply for powers to fine careless drivers

Drivers in Sandwell who perform illegal U-turns or stop in yellow box junction may soon be fined by the local council, cabinet papers reveal.

The papers, to be debated by Sandwell councillors at next week's cabinet meeting (21 June), show the local authority will apply to the government for enforcement powers to fine reckless drivers.

The deadline for Sandwell council to apply for the powers from the Department for Transport (DfT) is 25 October.
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