Birmingham always seems to have a range of supermarket developments on the go at any one time… so many that it is difficult for us to keep up with them. Since the last edition of the newsletter, the good news we can bring you is that the ASDA proposals for Selly Oak and Bartley Green are unlikely to succeed.
Councillor Alistair Dow says that currently all 3 Selly Oak councillors, in addition to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, are not in favour of ASDA’s proposals for a superstore in the location they have chosen in Selly Oak, opposite Battery Retail Park. The councillors would prefer to keep the site vacant until the new QE Hospital and Sainsbury’s supermarket have been built and then take a decision on the use of the vacant land at that time. Part of the land (the Dingle site) ASDA would like is owned by the City Council so ASDA will not be able to develop according to their current plans. Encouragingly, the Selly Oak Business Association has been set up, which is certainly a positive move, helping to safeguard local shops and the unique character of Selly Oak. Councillor Neville Summerfield, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, also called us to say that he, like Bartley Green’s Councillor John Lines, is not in favour of ASDA’s Bartley Green plans, given that the development would take up some greenfield land on the edge of Woodgate Valley Country Park. Instead, ASDA was directed towards development on brown-field land in Longbridge and Frankley. Birmingham Friends of the Earth, of course, would prefer that no new supermarkets were built in Birmingham for the very many reasons we have outlined before on these pages.
The developments we know about in the city are:
Yardley – Tesco – planning permission given
Hodge Hill – Tesco – planning permission given
Stirchley – Tesco – planning permission given; possibility of an appeal; the development is of huge threat to the Co-operative’s flagship store in the area
Hall Green – Tesco are thought to be considering opening an Express store near to Robin Hood Island; clearly, supermarkets are far from complementing the high street but taking over it
Bartley Green/South Woodgate – ASDA have their eye on the Barnes Hill site; unlikely to succeed
Selly Oak – ASDA would like to build opposite Battery Retail Park; unlikely to succeed
Shirley – ASDA, after many years of pushing, are set to develop a supermarket as part of the Heart of Shirley project, which will take up part of Shirley Park
Chelmsley Wood – ASDA store to be built as part of the town centre’s redevelopment
Longbridge – the city’s plan for the area’s redevelopment includes a new supermarket
Attwood Green/Lea Bank development – supermarket to be built; current wranglings about whether ASDA or Tesco are to be given the green light
Harborne Road – outline planning permission given for a supermarket near to Five Ways Island as part of the huge Edgbaston Galleries development
Sheldon – ALDI have resubmitted planning permission for a development in the middle of the A45 Coventry Road
It would be an interesting project to work out the size of all these supermarkets put together: combined, they surely take up an enormous area. And of course, there are likely to be many more developments in the pipeline, particularly smaller stores such as Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local, ALDI and LIDL, but we do not hear of them all. If you know of other plans, please do let us know and don’t forget to write to your local councillors to express concerns you have when development proposals come around. A recent Labour Party leaflet in the Quinton area listed ‘attracting Tesco to the area’ as one of their local successes. While this is very disappointing, it must be noted that the opinions of local councillors across the city tend to vary and we cannot label any one political party represented on the City Council as being entirely ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ supermarket. Birmingham Friends of the Earth will continue to promote the benefits of local shops to our economy and communities and promote their employment and environmental benefits.