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Delays to scheme spark fury

SHIRLEY residents are fed-up waiting for work to improve their town centre, a councillor has claimed.

SHIRLEY residents are fed-up waiting for work to improve their town centre, a councillor has claimed.

Coun Gary Allport (Con, Shirley South) said last week that more and more locals had lost patience over the delays.

He was speaking at a public inquiry into the Parkgate scheme – which has twice been thrown out by planning chiefs.

Developers Shirley Advance lodged an appeal, and are hoping that the Planning Inspectorate will give them the green-light.

“A considerable number of Shirley residents are very, very, angry that this development has not gone through before now,” said Coun Allport.

“Twelve months ago this sentiment was not being expressed with this strength. Now it is, and by many people.”

Three of the Tories newly-elected councillors, Mark Parker, Peter Doyle, and Hannah Tildesley, have also backed the scheme.

But other political parties maintain that the plans – anchored by an Asda superstore – will strangle small businesses, and cause parking chaos.

Tim Hodgson – a Lib Dem councillor until earlier this month – added that Parkgate would “wipe-out” precious parkland.

“There have been substantial changes to this scheme over the past few years,” he said, “but we’re still going to lose a large part of Shirley Park.”

And Coun Howard Allen (Green, Shirley West) called into question whether the community had been given a say.

“I don’t think putting up posters explaining what the scheme will deliver counts,” he said.

“I’d be happy for the inspector to knock on some local doors, and ask residents if they feel they’ve been properly consulted.”

Inspector David Cullingford will now go away, and consider whether to approve, or throw-out the appeal. A decision is due this summer.

 

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