May 5 2011 By Ross Crawford
THE controversial Parkgate scheme goes to appeal next week in what is almost certain to be the last throw of the dice on the project.
The arguments for and against are well known - Shirley, already the location of many supermarkets along the A34 from Waitrose to Tesco has seen the steady decline of its high street as local traders shut up shop and building societies, banks and charity shops move in.
The solution for the developer Shirley Advance is a new centre located between the Stratford Road and Haslucks Green Road, anchored by another supermarket, this time the Wal-Mart-owned Asda, with associated shop units and housing, controversially taking up a slice of Shirley Park in the process.
The objections are numerous - the loss of parkland, the arrival of another supermarket, the failure to use the vacant Asda-owned Powergen site and so on.
This latest plan has already been thrown out twice by Solihull planners, but as it would appear that Parkgate is the only scheme in town - in the cold light of day it will be very hard indeed for the planning inspector to resist.
The appeal starts on May 10 in the civic suite at Solihull Council.