A CHELMSLEY Wood woman has slammed the regeneration of north Solihull and claims that the partnership behind the scheme are ignoring the views of local people.
Maxine Greenwood was one of 21 local residents who recommended In-Partnership to become partners of the £1.8 billion initiative. Originally she had encouraged her neighbours to be positive about the scheme, but as the process has worn on she has become increasingly disillusioned.
“For the most part people were particularly cynical about the regeneration. They felt they had seen it all before and that it was just another scheme. Initially I was saying “give them a chance, work with them, tell them what you want and let’s go with it”. Now I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter what you say. We have had consultation after consultation, but no one seems to be listening.”
Maxine’s home is one of those due to be demolished later this year, but the mother-of-two said that she has no intention of leaving.
“I’m staying put. Why should I move? If it was for the good of the community I would have accepted it, but they are not giving the area what it needs.”
The 51-year-old thinks that residents have been let down over a number of different issues including the protection of green space and the promise of better community facilities. Now she is urging the partnership to listen to what people are saying and make sure that the regeneration enriches the community.
Duncan Sutherland, director of North Solihull Regeneration Partnership, said: "We are extremely sorry that Miss Greenwood feels unhappy with the regeneration scheme, and we would really like to meet with her to put right any misgivings she may have about the project.
"We would like to reassure everyone that we have the interests of the people of the north of the borough at the very heart of this regeneration scheme. We are still committed to working with people each step of the way, and many of the schemes already underway have been altered through the direct input of local people. Our consultation has, and always will be, more than a paper exercise – we go out to the communities, even knocking doors to get people involved.
"We have always said we will transform north Solihull for the better – and we agree with Miss Greenwood that profit alone will not achieve that. We will provide excellent facilities for the communities that live here. But we can’t do that without some disruption, and we know that can sometimes be upsetting and worrying for those involved.
"We would like to re-iterate. The regeneration scheme is very much alive, and we cannot achieve what we want to achieve without the involvement of the people that live in the north of the borough.
"If anyone has any concerns we would happily meet or talk with them, so that we can do our best to put people’s minds at rest."