AS far as I can recall I have never spoken with your correspondent Steve Green who makes so free with my name (Letters).
Although an acknowledged political activist I am not sure that he even lives in Shirley and certainly has not contacted me with any concerns about the regeneration scheme that I inherited on becoming council leader.
He does however seem to have made his mind up without any reference to real events and ignores the fact that the Heart of Shirley (now Parkgate) project was recommended by an all-party working group, has been the subject of probably the widest series of local consultations and considered in detail by both the Secretary of State and a public inquiry.
Delays in completion were caused not by the council but by the proper process of considering objections and subsequently the economic downturn.
Whilst there have been genuine questions raised by local residents, the outcome of consultation events and independent survey reported to council have been generally supportive and the leaders of both the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups raised no objections at Cabinet meetings.
It is also clear that the only issue that was identified by the all-party Planning Committee related to the number of parking spaces provided within the scheme and this is to be reconsidered on February 16 in the light of further information.
For Steve Green’s information, I do not sit on the Planning Committee and it is required to come to a decision on the facts and not on the basis of ill-informed comment or political pressure.
Councillor Ken Meeson
A retail warning
A RECENT programme on Radio WM was discussing the problems of Stourbridge town centre and it was difficult not to draw comparisons with Shirley.
In both cases the local councils claim to believe a large superstore will provide the answers to increase footfall for the remaining shops.
The Stourbridge councillor speaking on the programme sounded very confident of his case until a local trader from Willenhall rang in to say that his council had told them exactly the same thing, but the result of allowing a large Morrisons in the town centre had been disastrous for himself and other small traders.
Solihull Council has collaborated with the Parkgate developer to such an extent, it is almost impossible for the current scheme for Shirley to be rejected on planning grounds. The recent refusal by Lib-Dems and Labour was only token resistance, and the scheme will almost certainly be approved next time around.
Because of their ownership of the Powergen site, Asda have had Solihull Council between a rock and a hard place.
If the experience of Willenhall is anything to go by, the remaining traders in Shirley will find it harder and harder to survive, leaving Asda to rule the roost and the council will have to carry the can.
AF Griffiths, Stanway Road, Shirley
lance Cpl Matt Croucher was awarded the George Cross for saving the lives of his comrades, not for killing the Taliban, he received this honour for his bravery, and he deserves the respect of every British citizen regardless of their religion.
Birmingham Councillors Salma Yaqoub and Mohammed Ishataq brought disgrace on their office for not applauding Matt Croucher’s attendance in the council chambers, and Coun Yaqoub’s feeble attempts to justify her actions show that the Respect Party is as obnoxious now as it was.
ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Road, Yardley Wood
A nice number
WE have raised the poor value for money and high spending of some of our local parish councils in the past but really must highlight the extravagance of the parish councillors at Chelmsley Wood Town Council who are currently offering a salary package for a parish clerk that will cost their local residents £45,000pa.
In the past clerks to parish councils undertook this work on the basis of an honorarium payment and sense of doing something for the community but like topsy the workload has grown and now these councillors have decided their clerk’s post should be on scale NJC point 38 at £31,754pa plus employment costs and index linked pension just like the big council in Solihull.
Chelmsley Wood Town Council receives a precept of £250,000 pa collected on top of the Solihull Council Tax and we have to query just how much of this filters down through the administration to actually provide services to the residents of one of the poorest parts of North Solihull.
Secretary - Solihull Ratepayers Association