WELL done to Solihull council for throwing out the plans for Shirley. May I now hope that all those Conservatives on the council try as hard to get the plans for Knowle and Dorridge passed and leave Shirley alone. Perhaps the next target should be the demolition of the eyesore at top of Haslucks Green Road, with Asda footing the bill.
G E Armes, Harwood Grove, Shirley
Let’s go retro
I READ with great interest about the councils decision to reject the ‘Shirley Parkgate’ plan.
This is wonderful news as the ancient oak trees, parkland and green belt will be saved.
Perhaps the council should consider re-generating Shirley shopping centre with a more old fashioned approach.
To develop the shopping centre would surely mean more traffic and a very, very congested A34. Let’s keep an old style shopping centre and encourage new businesses with financial incentives.
The residents would seem to want to keep the atmosphere and trees of ‘Old Shirley’.
I M Boyle, Millfield Road, Solihull
Against the odds
if some developer comes up with a plan for the heart of Shirley that does not encroach on precious parkland, does not involve the destruction of our precious trees, hedgerows and the like, realises that we need another supermarket like we welcome six feet of snow then we will make some headway. I am pleased that some of our councillors have been brave enough to make a stand against all odds for what they believe in.
H Howell, address supplied
Out of order
I WAS delighted to see the highly inappropriate Parkgate plan was thrown out by councillors last week (Solihull News, December 10), but very concerned to see the comments from the Council’s Head of Planning Gary Palmer.
He and his team had recommended the planning committee give the application the go-ahead and it appears that one of the reasons was to avoid huge costs if any refusal went to appeal.
Surely Mr Palmer and his team should be assessing applications based on planning law, not how big the developers’ pockets are and their ability to contest any decision?
Name and address supplied
Lorely Burt in her fortnightly column should at least try to get her facts straight and also remember that regulations prohibit planning decisions being made on party political grounds (Solihull News).
Her statement that no assessment of need has been carried out does not stand up to scrutiny and indeed it was such an assessment that supported the council’s refusal of the original Asda application whilst she was busy pursuing her political career in Dudley.
Far from ignoring the residents of Shirley, it was Conservatives that supported the ‘Say No to Asda’ campaign and tried to stop transfer of the Powergen lease. Success in defending the original application for a massive superstore was gained at the price of accepting the Inspector’s view that a large supermarket should instead form part of a comprehensive regeneration scheme within the established shopping area.
Various options were considered and eventually the ‘Heart of Shirley’ (now Parkgate) scheme was recommended by an all-party working group. That scheme was again the subject of numerous assessments, public information events, independent consultations, referral to the Secretary of State and a public inquiry, at which the Government inspector stated that Parkgate was the only viable option for regenerating an area that had once been known as ‘The Golden Mile’.
Throughout the process the council has scrupulously followed proper procedures. The revised Development Agreement was not signed by Conservatives as she alleges and significantly the decision of Cabinet was not even ‘called in’ by members of her party, as they were entitled to do.
Ms Burt may now rejoice at refusal of Parkgate and the potential loss of a £multi-million investment in the local economy, improvements to Shirley Park and hundreds of jobs for her constituents, but the developers have a right of appeal and any hint that the decision was politically biased could be a significant factor. Perhaps she is right in predicting that there may be a substantial financial cost to council tax payers as a result of the actions of Lib/Lab councillors.
Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the Conservative group
A bad bump
I would like to thank the person who reversed into my red Mini with a black and white roof, at about 6pm on Monday, December 13 in the Tesco Car Park Knowle. Thank you most kindly for the hefty bill I am now facing just before Christmas, due to the broken rear light and a football sized dent to the boot and rear wing. This was not a minor tap, and whoever did this must surely have noticed!
Perhaps next time, they will consider leaving a note – or if they are unable to write because they are illiterate, they could have waited for me to return.Let’s hope the damage to your car was more than to mine, but I doubt it.
Hilary Frost via e-mail
CHARLES this is the world we have to live in, where street violence is on every corner, our empty shops smell of urine and vomit, not fresh paint and flowers, where muggings are common and vandalism not even considered a crime.
We don’t have a community copper never mind armed bodyguards, we won’t be able to go on a holiday to get over the shock, and no one will be pinning another medal on us for being so brave. This is today’s Britain that successive governments have failed; its citizens, your subjects who can’t find jobs because they’ve been shipped abroad so you can have bigger dividends on your preference shares, where energy prices and transport prices are the highest in Europe and pensions the lowest.
ST Vaughan, Glastobury Rd, Yardley Wood
This is our home
REGARDING the letter last week concerning the Coptic Church in Caldwell Grove, Solihull. The gentleman concerned seems to think that because he and the congregation are professional people they are entitled to more than others. Firstly, I and my wife spent the best part of a day getting signatures for the petition and at no time did anyone mention race, religion or politics.
The whole excercise was to show that we, the residents, are concerned about what goes on in our neighbourhood. We do not want anyone whoever they may be coming into the area causing chaos with traffic, parking etc. We have suffered for years with people parking their cars anywhere they deem fit, no matter what the resulting problems.
I haven’t even mentioned the size of the church extension, the height of the tower, and whether it fits in with the area. I am sorry if this upsets some people, but we live here, and we are trying to look after our neighbourhood .
Eric T Hall, Hermitage Road, Solihull