THE revised plans for the new Heart of Shirley are set to pose the first big planning test of Solihull’s new Lib Dem/Labour administration.
Under the amended proposals the size of the Asda superstore may have been reduced by 10 per cent but the issue of the loss of park land and its oak circle of trees that the Lib Dems fought so hard on, remains.
Now, I like Shirley and I like the shops there but surely everyone agrees that something needs to be done to give it a focus and to give it a lift.
Readers have already told us, via the letters pages, that nearby towns like Redditch are proving more attractive, and that is trade our local shops could sorely do with.
Paul Thandi, president of Solihull Chamber has previously said in our Business Times section, that the one unchanging aspect of business is that it is always changing.
The arrival of an Asda, albeit 10 per cent smaller than the one originally planned, would undoubtably pose a major challenge for those small businesses plying their trade in Shirley. They can’t all benefit from a ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ BBC 2 makeover, but if the scheme goes ahead they will have to innovate like mad to survive.
As for the Lib Dems - will they hold firm on the loss of park land?
On that we shall have to wait and see.