TOWN centre traders fear they could be forced out – if plans for a 112-bedroom hotel are given the green-light.
A petition, signed by nine businesses in Station Road, was presented by Councillor Joe Tildesley at last week’s planning meeting.
He said there were concerns that the multi-storey building would make parking and deliveries difficult for the row of shops.
“Traders in Station Road provide a valuable and important set of retail units, and they must be listened to,” he said.
“They fear that if this application is successful, they will be forced out of business, or have to move to another town.”
Station Roads firms include Laithwaites Wine Merchants, Oswald Bailey, and the ironmongers HL Owen. Coun Tildesley (Con, St Alphege) said that altogether the firms employed “at least 100 people.”
Plans for a hotel were thrown out by planning chiefs last year – with councillors concerned that the building was out of character.
Earlier this year, having failed to win an appeal on their original plans, the developers submitted a scaled-back application, with fewer storeys and bedrooms.
But Coun Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) said there were still concerns about parking issues, and the impact on existing businesses.
“The developers have come a long way with this application,” he told the committee.
“But what disappoints me is that with all the brains working on this, they haven’t thought about trying to make arrangements with one of the car park operators in Solihull.
“This building will be there a long time – it’ll be here after some of us have gone – so we have to get it right.”
Coun Theresa Tedd (Lib Dem, Lyndon) moved to approve the plans, arguing that a vibrant town centre “needed” hotels.
But planning committee voted by a majority to defer the application.