A ROW has erupted over which details surrounding plans to expand Touchwood shopping centre can be discussed in public.
At a meeting of the full council this week, the leaders of the Conservative and Labour groups crossed swords over the proposed development.
Labour leader David Jamieson said that his group had lobbied earlier this year to move the plans into the public domain but were told the information was too commercially sensitive.
"So imagine my surprise," he told members. "When I saw the front page of the Solihull Observer only a few weeks later and saw the leader of the council commenting on the proposals.
"Is it the case that its one rule for him and one for the rest of us?"
Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the council, hit back, saying that he had only spoken on the general plans for expansion, which were already well-known. He said that information had been leaked to the local press - but not by him or his group - and he had been left with no choice but to set the record straight.
Earlier this month, Coun Meeson told the Solihull News that discussions between the council and Touchwoods owners Land Lease were at a very early stage.
"We have had an approach from Land Lease and thats as far as its gone at the moment," he said.
It is understood the expansion, in the direction of St Alphege Church, could see the council house incorporated into the shopping centre or moved elsewhere.
Councillor Jamieson said: "We think the general thrust of the argument should have been put in the public domain, for public discussion, as it is major change for our little town centre.
"Its obviously a sensitive area, close to a beautiful church and some old buildings, and this would significantly change the aspect of that area."