I WAS very pleased to read that our old friend P Thomas is happy about the go-ahead being given to the Shirley redevelopment after several years of false starts, prevarication and nonsensical argument over such weighty matters as the “Ring of Oaks” etc., and I too am glad that we will eventually see that dead stretch of the Stratford Road brought back to life.
As a (then) member of the council’s planning sub committee, I was part of the process that formalised consent for the original proposals; however, although I voted in favour of the scheme, I voiced misgivings about the scale of the proposals and expressed my disappointment that the development had not been extended from the corner of Haslucks Green road to the park entrance.
Here was the perfect opportunity, not only to build a new, vibrant shopping centre, but also to rationalise the oddly-shaped bits of land at the rear of the existing shopping parade; the abomination that is the Allied Irish Bank building would be gone, and the Baptist Church could have become the centre piece of the new development.
Sadly, my ideas weren’t followed up; however now that building can begin, I still worry that the Asda-anchored development will suffer poor take-up of units because of the lack of retail space and cohesive presentation.
The ‘old’ section will remain quirky and haphazard, and the ‘new’ section will stand out like a sore thumb; personally I believe Shirley deserves better.
John Bramham, Elmdon