THIS week Shirley residents will get their first glimpse of updated plans to transform their town centre.
And, depending on who you speak to, the Parkgate scheme will either revitalise, or kill-off, trade along the Stratford Road. The developers Shirley Advance have announced a number of changes to the original scheme. They include:
l The ASDA superstore – at the heart of the scheme – has been scaled-down. It’s now 10 per cent smaller.
l There will now be a mix of townhouses, and apartments in the scheme.
l The temporary car park, which would have been introduced to Shirley Park during construction, has been scrapped.
But concerns remain about the loss of parkland and the possible impact on the existing, smaller businesses. Robert Birch, from Shirley Advance, argued that the development is desperately needed in Shirley. He said many shoppers had deserted the town centre in favour of out-of-town supermarkets, and other retail centres. “There’s been no commercial investment in Shirley for years,” said Mr Birch.
“In that time you only have to look at the money spent in places like Kings Heath, and the changes that have been made.
“That’s why it is so crucial this scheme goes ahead, to bring the trade back into Shirley centre.”
A public exhibition – showing the new plans – will take place at Shirley Baptist Church today (Friday) between 2-6pm. The event continues tomorrow from 10am-4pm. Details are also available at www.parkgateshirley.com