PARKGATE has been thrown out for a second time by Solihull Council’s planning committee.
In a three-hour meeting on Thursday evening, councillors once again voted by a majority to reject the controversial scheme.
Opponents will be overjoyed by the decision, but a public inquiry - that could cost the council thousands - looms on the horizon.
The application, to develop Shirley town centre, was identical to the one refused in December and it was rejected for exactly the same reason - parking.
Developers Shirley Advance, who have already lodged an appeal against last year’s decision, had hoped a new report would allay these fears.
But Councillor Glenis Slater (Lib Dem, Elmdon) remained unconvinced by traffic surveys and the number of spaces proposed.
“I feel that I’m being put under pressure by this constant talk of the costs if I don’t approve the application. It’s like being bullied.”
And in a surprise turn of events, she found one of the Tories - who had actually backed the scheme in December - seconding her motion.
Coun Ken Allsopp (Con, Meriden) said: “I feel like I’ve had a gun put to my head. This is a planning application and we have a right to refuse it.”
But the other Conservative members stuck to their guns and warned that refusal could incur huge costs.
Coun Stuart Davis (St Alphege) said: “I’m quite convinced if this goes to appeal we will lose hands down. Has anyone here tonight got half a million to spare?”
After the meeting, ward councillor Simon Slater (Lab, Shirley West) said he was delighted by the outcome.
“This is a victory for those who have campaigned hard against the scheme.
“At the end of the day, this council must represent the interests of the people - not big business.”
Robert Birch, of Shirley Advance, said: “We will now have meetings and look to continue with our appeal to the Government.”