The small but vibrant suburb of Stirchley is being invaded by supermarkets in a manner reminiscent of the long-resisted Asda development in ‘supermarket capital’ Shirley, which has sadly failed to deliver its undertaking to regenerate the high street.
In Stirchley, already served by a large Co-operative store, Aldi has applied for permission to build on a site less than a mile away and a Tesco store is being built nearby.
Two weeks ago the council’s planning committee had sensibly voted to reject plans to knock down the Fitness First gym and bowling alley in Pershore Road in order to build a Lidl store.
Many councillors and residents argue that the site would add to traffic problems and that knocking down a popular gym, the only one in the area, for yet another foodstore, sends out the wrong message.
It is now reported that officials fear the council would be vulnerable to a costly legal appeal by the supermarket.
The majority of councillors have reversed their decision, agreeing with officials’ advice that a refusal would not stand up to a challenge and voted by six to three in favour of the Lidl plan.
Is the well-being and preference of local residents less important than building yet another supermarket?
Is devolution a hollow undemocratic sham and corporate rule a reality?
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First response by email: “But how else will the starving people of Stirchley eat without another supermarket in the area?”