WE’RE sending the message ‘Shirley’s closed for business’, that was the reaction after the firm behind the redevelopment of the town centre deemed a temporary car park unnecessary.
The bombshell was dropped at Solihull’s planning committee when it was revealed an expected temporary car park - to replace the British Legion’s 220-space unit - would not now go ahead during the construction period of the Parkgate scheme.
Instead, developers Shirley Advance said they would continue to monitor local parking usage and a contingency car park would be created if the need arose.
Councillor Howard Allen (Green, Shirley West) said the decision would damage local traders.
“This sends a message to shoppers that Shirley is closed for business,” he said. “Part of a regeneration scheme is to ensure the livelihood of nearby traders.
“They need to do something urgently about providing car parking.”
He added that scrutiny of existing parking conditions should have begun prior to the closure of any car parks, as per the planning conditions, rather than a week later.
The developers had previously submitted plans to demolish five houses on Haslucks Green Road for the car park.
“It should be ready for us when it is needed,” said Coun Alan Martin. “If it’s not available for the Christmas rush, there’s no point having it for January,” he said.
However Coun Jim Ryan (Con, Bickenhill) said that saying Shirley was closed to business did the area a disservice.
“There’s £80m investment- are you saying that should go elsewhere?” he asked fellow members.