I've sent in my comments/objection to the Seven Capital outline plans for a Retail Park in Stirchley.
My email is pretty long (TLDR: No thanks to a McDonalds) and I have ran out of steam / I need to get back to work, but if anyone's interested in reading it in order to help form their own comments/objections - I've dumped it below. In the nicest possible way please don't tell me if there are typos or if I repeat myself (I know I have done this).
You have until this Thursday 9 May to submit comments on the preliminary planning application by @SevenCapital
Link: (link: https://eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/ApplicationSearch.aspx) eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/Plan… Search ref number: 2018/10370/PA
or you can email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are currently two plans by Seven Capital, this one about the Retail Park - the other one is about housing, you can find it on the planning portal.
Below are my comments and in general my objection to the outline proposals (Stirchley Retail Park) by Seven Capital. I believe these outline plans are detrimental to Stirchley’s positive growth and reputation which has been building over the last 7-10 years, which I identify as since establishment of Stirchley Community Market in 2010 (by Stirchley Happenings, Loaf, Stirchley Food Co-Op, Stirchley Town Centre Partnership) and the new businesses that have joined the high street following this. Loaf Community Bakery, Bike Foundry, Caneat, Quietude, many of these can be connected through the warm and open community network that exists here.
Perhaps the planning department would like to come visit Stirchley to see how it’s changed over the years - and meet with local residents/community-groups who are active citizens investing their time and energy (and often their money) in the local area.
At the moment it feels like (with planning in particular) that residents are being reactive not proactive, and it would be great to find a middle ground, especially as the Stirchley Planning Document is out of date. Residents are still sore about the Lidl planning problems a couple of years ago and there is definitely mistrust with the system and several have commented on social media if it is even worth sending in comments/objections.
A lot of people also do not understand how these planning processes work (I include myself here) so there is already a barrier up to open communication between developers, the council planning department and residents. I can appreciate that there are not the resources to meet with every community who would like to talk to you - but this Seven Capital development could be vital in the direction of Stirchley’s future. It’s an exciting time!
Stirchley ‘cheerleaders’ such as myself (I am former Stirchley Community Market manager, Friends of Stirchley Library co-founder, Stirchley Community Cinema co-founder) would like the opportunity to work directly with Seven Capital on plans which would be positive for Stirchley.
I am not experienced in this, but I am full of enthusiasm for Stirchley and I appreciate you taking the time to read my comments, concerns and ideas.
Supermarket battles ongoing for Stirchley
If a supermarket plan is approved here - how does that affect the existing plans for Lidl (former Fitness First / PSL Bowling site) or Aldi (former Magnet site)? Will they still go ahead - and hypothetically, maybe this Seven Capital supermarket ends up being another brand - would Stirchley end up with three new supermarkets? Personally I believe we could do without them - we already have two, the co-op and farmfoods, and lots of smaller shops including a bakery and greengrocers. How will these plans affect these businesses - negatively I am going to assume. Supermarkets can have a devastating impact on high streets. I don’t believe we need any new supermarket - but at a push I could accept one supermarket on the Magnet site - it’s out of the way of the main stretch of high street and this location would mean the supermarket also serves a wider area (including Cotteridge / Lifford Lane area). I can appreciate that I have the privilege of being able to order my food shop online and supplement with allotment produce and various other items from the high street.
I think it says a lot that Tesco pulled out
I’d like retail opportunities but creating shop units which can be rented out / sold to businesses that already want to invest in the area - such as The Clean Kilo - the UK’s largest ethical supermarket in Digbeth (they are looking for premises).
McDonalds / Drive through outlet
There’s a drive through Mcdonalds 1.5 miles away. If someone is driving for a McDonalds - they could drive 5 mins up the road instead and use existing facilities. McDonalds offer takeaway delivery service also. For £3.50 you can literally have chicken nuggets delivered to your door saving the drive / effort.
National planning documents prioritises health. A McDonalds or any drive through is not in line with encouraging active lifestyle. It encourages more car use not walking. The infrastructure of the current Pershore Road is not built for this given the little gyratory one-way system that might need altering to make a drive through work.
There's a National obesity epidemic - and no fat-shaming here. A McDonald's is not a good, positive, community-spirited or inspiring use of the space. I'm dead against the McDonald's/Drive-thru part of the application more than anything else.
Yes to a gym - we don’t have one in Stirchley because of the Lidl drama a couple of years ago (please google Lidl Stirchley SuperStirchley) we had a Fitness First that was demolished. Lidl didn’t build.
I’d like to see artists studios / affordable rentable space much like The Old Print Works in Balsall Heath
I feel like this is the wrong location for these proposals. Usually Retail Parks are on the fringes of areas, whereas this site is right in the middle of Stirchley.
There are alternative sites available for Aldi - they'd already put in an application on the Magnet site
Why not open up the River Rea access to Hazelwell park and the allotments and the Pineapple Estate - connect with projects like the Stirchley Fruit and Nut Village trail, make improvements to the public realm (as outlined in the Stirchley Planning Document). Thinking more green!
We want less people driving through Stirchley - we want to encourage people to stay in Stirchley and visit the high street shops instead. Many people would like a shopper’s car park, personally I don’t agree with this. I think other car parks that are already in existence and owned privately could be opened up and be used as pay and display. This would involve liaising with local landowners.
Uninspiring plans - this could be in any town across the UK. Not unique to Stirchley (which is a very unique place - we have very few high street brand names (I think they are only Ladbrokes and the Co-op!).
Right next to listed British Oak building - doesn’t look like it is in keeping with the look of the village
I need to get back to work but hopefully you get my jist - I want better for Stirchley!
Thanks, and kind regards