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Shaping north Solihull’s future

MORE than 150 residents took part in a recent workshop and had their say on the future of north Solihull.

MORE than 150 residents took part in a recent workshop and had their say on the future of north Solihull.

Ian Cox, head of the area’s regeneration project, said he wanted to hear the views of local people.

After days of debate, ten-priorities have emerged and were announced last week at Bishop Wilson School.

These ideas will be used to shape the future of the £1.8billion regeneration project.

Here the Solihull News looks at the key issues residents have raised.

* Do you live in north Solihull? Are these the issues that concern you - or are there others? Write in to 150, High Street, Solihull, B91 3SX.

1. Lack of trust: Many who were invited to workshops have lost faith in the regeneration process. While some feel promises haven’t been kept, others have been annoyed by the disruption caused to them. One of the main challenges facing the regeneration is to tackle the disillusionment.

2. Housing: There are concerns houses were being built on every scrap of land available. For example, there are concerns the current site of Bishop Wilson School - which is relocating elsewhere -will be swallowed up by more properties.

3. Public image: While many residents in the north are proud of their community, they’re aware of its bad reputation. The “identity crisis” was discussed at length, with some locals feeling the area gets too much negative press coverage.

4. Green space: Parks and open spaces must be protected - that’s the view of many residents. There are concerns some of the green spaces, left behind from when the area was farmland, could be earmarked for development.

5. Connectivity: The road network and public transport have come under fire. Residents want streets that are easier to navigate and a regular bus service - there aren’t enough routes to Solihull town centre.

6. Quality of design: There have been concerns about the size of some of the buildings erected. While the design of some of the new houses has been complemented, other schemes have been less popular. Better access to green spaces, more cycle paths and a town square are among the changes to the layout being proposed.

7. Community facilities: Since the regeneration began five-years-ago, there hasn’t been enough of a community focus. Rev Neil Roberts, from Chelmsley Wood Baptist Church, has previously called for more facilities. A cinema, a hotel or even a beach - situated in Meriden Park - are among the suggestions being considered.

8. Crime and disorder: This is a major concern.There is a desire to crack down on drug use, anti social behaviour and gangs in the park. Some residents feel intimidated in the parks, while many are too fearful to use the underpasses.

9. Young people: More facilities need to be available for young people There has been talk about creating more play areas, public art and getting youngsters involved in the regeneration. Plans have recently been discussed for a £5m youth centre.

10. Co-operation: Regeneration bosses have talked about “rebooting” the consultation process. There will be regular meetings with residents, with the first forum held next month.

 

Journalists

Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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