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Parkgate: ‘Why I voted against £80m project’

CONSERVATIVE councillor Ken Allsopp has told the Solihull News why he had a change of heart about backing the Parkgate scheme.

CONSERVATIVE councillor Ken Allsopp has told the Solihull News why he had a change of heart about backing the Parkgate scheme.

He had voted to approve the development in December, but last week he supported a motion to throw it out.

Arguments were thrashed out over a single issue - whether or not there was adequate parking for shoppers.

The planning committee had received two highways surveys - one commissioned by residents and the other by the developer - which told very different stories.

“There wasn’t much information about the parking situation last time, but this time they went into a lot more detail,” said Coun Allsopp, pictured right.

“Phil Jones Associates [commissioned by residents] said there weren’t enough spaces and I came down on that side of the argument.”

Coun Allsopp (Meriden) also criticised the pressure being put on the committee to approve the scheme.

“We were told several times about the costs if this goes to an appeal, but I think I made the right decision.”

Overall, four members of the committee voted to throw-out the plans, three moved approval and one abstained.

Gary Palmer, Solihull Council’s chief planning officer, warned that the authority might struggle to defend its decision.

The situation is complicated by the fact that a larger version of the scheme was given the green-light in 2006.

The night after the meeting, senior councillors were told that there was money available in council reserves to fight any appeal.

 

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