Although Tesco officially does not yet have the planning decision on its development of a 72,334 sq ft superstore in Stirchley, work has begun demolishing the old warehouses which will make up part of its new site; the plans are still going through the planning process, but it all looks like a done deal. Also, the local Conservative councillors who were initially in support of locals opposed to the original application are now fully in support of Tesco, advocating ‘the regeneration of Stirchley has finally begun’.

If permission is granted, the new superstore will be located almost opposite the present large Co-operative store. Tesco has bought up residential properties and warehouse buildings within the site, leaving them derelict. The development will also commandeer Hazelwell Lane, which will become an entrance road into the Tesco store.

Why should we be opposed to this development?

1) Traffic: presently traffic along the Pershore Road through Stirchley is standstill at rush hour. The proposed development will vastly increase traffic flow into Stirchley and along the Pershore Road in both directions, due to the impact of shoppers travelling to and from the supermarket from around South Birmingham.

2) Noise: the site is set between the Pershore Road and the River Rea on what is currently a very quiet road. The River Rea is a cycle route into Birmingham as well as a pleasant stroll into Canon Hill Park, and just across from the proposed development is Hazelwell Park where families come to play and relax.

3) Unnecessary:  the Tesco development is not needed. Stirchley is unusual in that it has a wide variety of local shops, including greengrocers, convenience stores, pet shops, and numerous antiques shops, and it already has the large Co-operative store. This development appears to respond to the wishes of supermarket monopolies, rather than local and consumer need.

We can only hope that the councillors wake up to the fact that Stirchley doesn’t need another supermarket with the Co-op just around the corner. Birmingham Friends of the Earth will be out on the streets of Stirchley, encouraging the local residents to resist the dominance of the supermarkets and keep supporting the local shops: if you don’t use them, you lose them and Stirchley will end up a ghost town.

Emma Lewis-Gibbs