A Yardley Wood reader suggests that Solihull council could produce a “how not to guide” for other authorities with similar projects still at the planning stage. This after being in Shirley at the weekend: “I walked through Parkgate and was disappointed to see that number of the shops are still empty. Unfortunately this is not the case with park as it’s now full of flats – sorry apartments, it is Solihull after all!”


According to the Parkgate map, in addition to the two shops which moved in from the High street, six units are not let and the writer of the Parkgate Diary adds, “As far as I know both Starbucks and Burger King, who were going to open units in Parkgate, have now changed their mind and will no longer be opening stores”.

Birmingham library woes have been well documented, but Rosie Millard’s analysis struck a chord:

library i snapshotWas the library built for ‘reasons other than the civic duty of encouraging people to read’? Had the city council overlooked fiscal planning because it had eyes on ‘- misplaced civic pride’? Was it built, as Ms Millard speculates, due to “an urge to create so-called legacy buildings and (probably) a scramble for gongs, knighthoods and the rest?”

Will there be a similar verdict on Solihull’s Gateway Project – costing up to £3 million and seven months of partial road closures.

sol gateway

Enhancements are causing disruption to traffic and bus routes and – after objections were made to the plans to remove pedestrian crossings from the town centre and replace them with ‘courtesy’ crossings – the council agreed to install three safer zebra crossings.The project appears to have only a limited cosmetic value: embellishing the image of the borough and its leading politicians with new paving and bus shelters.

Neither authority is meeting the needs of many for housing. No wonder that support is growing all over Britain for political change which will prioritise basic needs.