The Another Stirchley campaign has asked the everyone opposed to Tesco’s plans to build a superstore in Stirchley write a letter of objection – but it has to be done very quickly.
That’s not so!
The council has referred the application to the Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. She will then decide to call in the application for further inspection, or allow the council to approve it. If she doesn’t call it in then Tesco will go ahead. She will take this decision in the next week or so.
As this is the last chance to stop Tesco, they are asking for letters to be sent to Hazel Blears, with a copy to the local MP, Lynne Jones MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA (or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Here’s a draft letter. Use it, or write your own – just send one! Many thanks.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government,
Dear Ms Blears,
Application S/0372707/OUT (Renewal of application S/0175202/OUT)
Proposed Tesco superstore on land at Hazelwell/Pershore/Hunts Road, Stirchley, Birmingham
I am writing to object to the proposed development of a Tesco superstore in Stirchley, Birmingham. I believe the city council have overlooked, ignored or openly contradicted a plethora of planning policies. You are now in receipt of the application. I would ask that you call it in.
Planning Policy Statement 6 asks that the impact of the proposed development will not be too great. Tesco wish to provide 567 parking spaces. This is considerably more than would be required for local provision and implies drawing custom away from surrounding shopping centres. At the moment nearby Cotteridge and Bournville have a rich selection of local, independent shops in this sector. The proposed superstore would put them in extreme jeopardy.
PPS6 asks that the size of the development be appropriate. The proposed development is opposite a 120,000 square foot Co-op supermarket. The addition of another 150,000 square feet of supermarket space is far beyond what is appropriate or necessary. It should be noted that supermarkets are also available in nearby Cotteridge, Kings Heath and Selly Oak.
PPS6 states that location should be acceptable. The site is on the Pershore Road, an already highly congested arterial route. As previously stated the development depends upon drawing in custom from outside the area. Tesco’s Arup report estimate an increase in traffic volume of 30% on some roads. The added pressure on the surrounding road network will become intolerable.
PPS6 also states that there must be proven need for the development, if outside the town centre. It has been an area of contention as to whether the site sits within the town centre. What isn’t in contention is that there is little need for a large supermarket opposite a large supermarket.
The decision of Birmingham City Council to put this application forward for approval also contravenes their own development brief of 2002 which states that the development be ‘appropriate to the role of the centre and not of a scale to threaten the role of other centres in this sector in Birmingham’.
It also neglects Policy T1 of the Regional Spatial Strategy ( 2008 ) which states that developments must reduce the need for travel, tackle congestion and protect the environment. In the Local Area Agreement the council commit to growing small businesses, reducing CO2 emissions and tackling congestion. The proposed development contravenes all of these policy aims
It is true that Stirchley is in decline and needs regeneration. However this decline is largely due to the huge level of traffic passing down the narrow high street. The development would only exacerbate this underlying problem. In the meantime the pressure put on the surrounding shopping centre would spread the decline up into Cotteridge and beyond.
If surrounding shops close it will mean more travel and less choice. This looks even more dubious in light of the white paper on sustainability.
I believe that the people of Stirchley have been very poorly served by Birmingham City Council’s planning committee. I hope you agree that the application needs further inspection and I would urge you to call it in.