SECRETARY OF STATE REFUSES CALL-IN
This is despite being inundated with letters of protest from local residents and businesses, as well as receiving a ten page report from Another Stirchley Is Possible outlining the many failings of the planning process. Lynne Jones (MP for Selly Oak) also felt that the proposal met the criteria for a public enquiry on the basis that such applications, ‘could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality’ and ‘may conflict with national policies on important matters’. However the Department for Communities and Local Government took their decision on the basis that, ‘the issues raised do not relate to matters of more than local importance’.
One has to wonder how the government expect their own policies on sustainability and community accountability to be implemented if they refuse to intervene on such ‘local’ matters. It’s also worth mentioning that the decision was taken at break-neck speed, even faster than the city council expected. The application will not return to committee and approval is now solely dependent on a legal agreement between the council and Tesco.
We will now be pursuing other ways in which to protest, including taking our complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman. We will also be looking into ways in which we can influence the development of the scheme, including the replacement of local facilities, and help the area prepare for the arrival of Tesco should it go ahead.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to the Secretary of State. It’s a massive shame that the decision hasn’t gone our way. Having said that, the battle isn’t over yet so watch this space for updates and ways in which you may be able to help.