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Tory leader warns decision to reject Shirley's Parkgate scheme could be 'disastrous'

ANGER was mounting today over the council’s decision to throw out a scheme to redevelop Shirley town centre.

ANGER was mounting today (Thursday) over the council’s decision to throw out a scheme to redevelop Shirley town centre.

Planning chief Gary Palmer had warned councillors that rejecting the Parkgate proposals could lead to a costly public inquiry.

Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the Conservative group, said the decision could prove “disastrous”.

“I’m completely dismayed by last night’s decision,” he told the Solihull News.

“I think it has really let down the people of Shirley, with the possibility they could lose millions of pounds of investment.

“If the developer appeals against the decision, we’ll be in the middle of a long and protracted process - paid for by the taxpayer.”

All four Tory councillors had gone with the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the revised plans.

Four Lib Dems and one Labour councillor had voted against proposals, voicing concerns about the parking situation.

One source suggested that Solihull Council would have to fork out £100,000 to defend their decision.

But speculation is mounting that the developers may first submit an amended application to Solihull Council.

This afternoon, Robert Birch, from developers Shirley Advance, was locked in a meeting with solicitors.

A spokeswoman for Shirley Advance said that the decision was “very disappointing”.

“At the moment we’re having discussions to see how we can move forward from here.

“It might be too early at this stage to speculate about the appeals process.”

MP Lorely Burt was among those to speak against proposals and welcomed the majority decision.

“I’ve fought alongside residents for many years to make sure that this scheme is rejected,” she said.

“Now that this has happened, we can seriously look at a way to re-develop Shirley in a way that fits in with the needs and wishes of the people who actually live there.”

However Richard Wise, from Keep Shirley Alive, another opponent of the scheme who had stayed to watch Wednesday night’s marathon four hour planning meeting to discuss the issue, said he didn’t want to comment at this stage.

 

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