There was a huge turnout for the Bournville Lane Baths open day, with queues stretching all the way up the street.
The numbers of people just go to show how much interest and affection there is for the derelict baths. It would be wonderful to see this fine building restored but local residents need to ask themselves what price they are willing to pay for this to happen.
Our councillors tell us that this is a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ and imply that this is only possible by welcoming a large developer such as Tesco. However, a massive supermarket will also bring more congestion, more pollution and more shop closures. Tesco themselves predict that the Co-op would lose around 40% of its business. It’s hard to imagine that Co-op could survive such a downturn and the store would therefore close, transferring the dereliction from one side of the Pershore Road to the other.
It’s also worth remembering that although Stirchley would be getting a brand new community centre it is ultimately only a replacement for what already exists. The chronic lack of facilities in the area would only be marginally improved. Moreover, anyone who peeked inside the baths today and dreamt of seeing the historic interior restored would have been sadly mistaken. Only the facade and the chimney would remain and everything else would be demolished. (more…)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
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.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Following a frantic week of letter writing Lynne Jones (MP for Selly Oak) has thrown her weight behind our pleas asking the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to call-in the Tesco planning application for a public enquiry.
She also recommends the report we submitted to Hazel Blears, highlighting the many failings of the city council’s planning report. In the conclusion to her letter Lynne Jones writes:
Whilst Stirchley needs investment, it has a good range of independent shops and Cotteridge is a rare example of a suburban shopping centre in having several independent greengrocers and butchers, as well as two smallish supermarkets. All this is threatened by the proposed development, which will also affect traffic enroute beyond Birmingham as well as other centres in Selly Oak, Kings Heath and Maypole and so I hope you will agree that it demands greater scrutiny and meets the criteria to be called-in.
Our campaign has also received the support of local journalist Adrian Goldberg. In his column in the Birmingham Mail he writes:
Creating an additional 120,000 square foot of shopping with parking for 567 cars in the midst of this congestion is madness, and blatantly runs counter to the council’s own policies on sustainability. Stirchley needs major regeneration for sure, but that won’t be achieved by creating longer tail-backs, more frequent traffic jams and extra pollution. And that’s why the nation’s favourite grocer should give Hazel Blears food for thought.
Remember there’s still time to make your objections known to the Secretary of State. Click on the previous post ‘OBJECT NOW!’ for a sample letter and the necessary contact details. If you have already done so then thank you for your efforts.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The public consulutation we held on Saturday 12th July was a great success, with lots of people coming to find out what we are doing, object to Tesco and offer their suggestions for a better Stirchley. To see the results click here.
One point that seemed to keep coming up was a presumption that the Tesco’s development is a done deal. It most certainly is not! Birmingham City Council may be minded to approve the application but it still has to go to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears). We have to act quickly but there’s still time to make your objections known.
We’ll be letting you know how to do this soon.
In the meantime, scroll down to see more pictures from the event.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )