The story actually begins many years ago when Asda wanted to move to the area. However, in 2002, it was judged that there was no requirement for another large food retailer in Stirchley and they were turned down.
Around the same time, though, the council revised its planning brief with a view to creating a new ‘Stirchley Town Centre’. Since then a battle has ensued between Tesco and Helical/Midlands Co-Op (who want to build a major non-food retail park, along with 41 new dwellings) to development a brownfield site at Hazelwell Lane.
In 2004 Tesco were granted outline planning permission for their proposal. In 2006 Helical/Midlands Co-Op were granted outline planning permission for theirs. Birmingham City Council then invited both parties to tender for the land it owns and to submit proposals for the relocation of the community centre, bowling club and working men’s club.
In October 2007 the council declared its intention, in principle, to select Tesco as the preferred developer. In the meantime, though, their planning permission had expired. At the end of June 2008 the planning committee decided they were minded to approve the scheme and referred it to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. On the 23rd July, despite appeals from residents and local MP Lynne Jones, the Secretary of State decided not to call-in the application for further scrutiny and referred it back to Birmingham City Council.
Although they previously opposed Tesco’s plans our local councillors are now supporting the scheme. It would involve the erection of a 70,000 square foot Tesco superstore facing onto the Pershore road with a large car park behind. On the unused land next to the British Oak pub would be a small number of retail units, with 8 flats above and another small car park to the rear. The total number of parking spaces across the site would be 503.
The Pershore road would be returned to two-way traffic, although Hazelwell Street would remain one-way. This would mean that anyone travelling towards the city centre would not be impeding. Anyone travelling south though would be confronted by another set of traffic lights to control the flow of vehicles onto the site. The reclamation yard that is currently opposite the British Oak would be cleared to create a ‘public plaza’ in the middle of this extremely busy intersection.
All of the community facilites demolished to make way for the supermarket would be replaced. Although not finalised, in principle these would include:
- A new community leisure centre on the Bournville Lane Baths site, retaining the old facade. The City Council wish to link up the library with the new community centre and Stirchley Recreation Ground to create a “Civic Quarter” and there is potential to use the former Friends Meeting House next door. Car parking would be provided at the rear.
- A new Indoor Bowls Centre would be built on the old Phoenix works on Hunts Road/Hazelwell Lane
- Stirchley United Working Mens Club would be relocated to the “Kwik Save” site.
- There would be new public open space provision in Hazelwell Park (e.g. play facilities
for children/young people)
- There would also be environmental enhancements and public art provision (on the “Co-Op” roundabout).
For a detailed look at the proposal go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/planningonline and search for planning application S/03727/07/OUT