A PUBLIC inquiry will begin next week into the multi-million pound development that has divided Shirley in two.
Solihull Council will defend its planning committee’s decision to twice throw-out the controversial Parkgate scheme.
Starting Tuesday, those for and against the application, to redevelop the town centre, will make their case.
Planning chiefs had rejected the scheme on grounds of inadequate parking in December and February.
A Government Inspector must now decide whether to uphold or overturn the local authority’s decision.
Solihull MP Lorely Burt said: “I don’t think this will be an easy ride for the developers at all.
“I understand the council have commissioned an independent report which will make for very interesting reading.
“No-one can predict exactly what the outcome will be, but I hope that the views of many residents are vindicated.”
Ann Turner, from Shirley Residents’ Association, said that she was hoping for a good turn-out from local people.
Her group is one of several that claim there will be major traffic problems if the scheme is allowed to go-ahead.
Developer Shirley Advance has stood by the argument that there will be adequate parking provided.
“We’re at quite a sensitive stage and at the moment we would not comment further,” said a spokeswoman.
Solihull Council has not confirmed how much the appeal will cost them, but it has made money available from its reserves.
The public inquiry will be held at Solihull Civic Suite, from May 10-13. It will start at 10am each day.
Once the session is finished, the inspector will go away, with a decision likely by mid-July.