Funny goings on are happening at the Swan Centre, in Yardley which I live nearby. A planning application for a Tesco development was given late last year and so the plan was that the Tesco would open spring 2010. This was all dependant on the A4040 road being diverted over green space allowing space for Tesco to have a large car park outside their store.
All things seem to be going to plan as over the summer the market and car park building was demolished, so I thought it wouldn’t be long until they started to do the road works. However, its all stalled. I know they have a tight deadline to get this open by spring 2010 so wondered what had happened.
I then spotted this article the Birmingham Mail, which explains that the development has been unable to compulsory purchased of some land owned by a Mr Knight-Adams, a Malvern-based entrepreneur. He has objected to the purchase and has forced a public enquiry.
Why you wonder has he objected? He is opposed to the Tesco plan and believes “Yardley needs a comprehensive mixed use scheme which will provide opportunities for smaller businesses as well as other facilities that benefit the community.”
The inquiry outcome is expected by the end of the year. So I guess it will be a spring 2011 before we get anything at the Swan Centre, which is tragic. The area really needs a boost as the redevelopment of the area has been dragging on, the market traders had to move out years ago and gradually shops have been leaving the Swan centre so it really does leave a sad picture at the Swan. However, I agree with Mr Knight-Adams that a mixed use scheme would provide better opportunities for smaller businesses and the arrival of a large supermarket to the Swan is also a worry to local shopping areas such as Acocks Green and Yardley.
So interesting times ahead, does this mean that the the planning system has become ineffective and the only effective way of stopping or stalling developments is buy buying an interest in the development. Does this mean only those with money behind them will get to effectively fight these new developments? Already there is the national Greenpeace campaign airplot, where people are buying a piece of the land in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow. And we have an example of this in action in Birmingham, so watch this space and see how the inquiry at the Swan centre pans out.