On Monday, the Solihull News met with residents, business owners and a ward councillor on the steps of Forest Court to ask what they thought about Sainsbury’s announcement.
Lee Morris, who runs Barber 93, just opposite the shopping precinct, said the sense that Sainsbury’s had reneged on its promises had alienated a lot of his customers.
“I’d say that to begin with, 95 per cent of the people who came in to my business were in favour of the development. Now whatever goodwill Sainsbury’s built up has gone.
“You only have to drive through here and see this eyesore to realise it may put people off living here and have an effect on property prices.”
Mat Bullock, of Glendon Way, runs another local business - The Station Cafe Bar, which opened just over a year ago.
“It does impact on the other traders,” said the 44-year-old. “Quite often there’s nobody around here, it’s almost like a ghost town.
“It’s just frustrating that there’s so little information about what’s happening.”
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz (Con, Dorridge & Hockley Heath) said that his constituents felt “dismayed and betrayed” by the delays.
“They need to give a clear date for when they’re going to start,” said Coun Mackiewicz, of Manor Road.
He said that he also wanted to see Sainsbury’s do something about the nearby Total petrol station, which they have also acquired. The supermarket has said the forecourt is due to reopen in the summer.
Though critics have said Shell, who took over a filling station in nearby Hockley Heath at the same time, has had its premises up-and-running for months.
And Karl Field, of Poplar Road, claimed that Sainsbury’s had “duped” local people.
“I was dead against this, I was a member of the DROVS (the action-group who originally opposed the proposals),” said the father-of-two. “It just feels like we’ve been left with a ghetto. There’s problems with rats and teenagers gathering outside.”