Residents are set to have their say on the long-awaited redevelopment of an “outdated” Solihull shopping precinct, which local people are desperate to see replaced.
Plans for a radical redesign of Kingshurst Parade have suffered a string of delays, with the public voicing concerns about empty units, dwindling footfall and anti-social behaviour.
A draft planning brief for the site, presented to Solihull Council‘s cabinet last week, admits that the 1960s complex is in poor condition, but argues there is now a “once-in-generation” chance to build a vibrant new centre.
The scheme would include a flagship convenience store, smaller retail units, around 100 homes, a purpose-built GP/pharmacy and community space.
Councillors agreed for a four-week public consultation to be launched later this month, with the findings to be reported back to them in June.
Presenting the proposals, Cllr Ian Courts, cabinet member for managed growth, told the meeting that there had been “tremendous” progress made in the past few months.
“You’ve had reports on Kingshurst before and this takes the process on substantially in my opinion,” he said.
“Developments of centres like this take time and usually because of ownerships and indeed, no surprise here, that is an issue.
“We own some of the site, but we don’t own all of it and indeed we’ve made progress in buying some properties.”
He praised the proposal for a new route through the middle of the site and for binding the nearby primary school more closely to the centre, rather than just trying to work with the existing layout.
Cllr James Burn, leader of the Green group, said: “I’m so pleased this is moving forward, this is my local shopping centre if you can call it that and I’ll welcome the day that it looks like these drawings quite frankly.”
He had, however, sought assurances that social housing would be included in plans for the new residential units, with officers confirming this was the case.
The document presented to cabinet highlighted the clear need to regenerate the area – in one of the most deprived parts of the borough.
It said: “The existing precinct is now over 50-years-old and both retail and
residential markets have evolved considerably.
“Existing units are outdated, no longer fit for purpose and becoming obsolete.”
The latest plans are the first major update since 2017, when a previous consultation found overwhelming support for a wholesale demolition of the current Parade and a brand-new site being built in its place.
This approach was backed by cabinet the same year, with the option of a more modest refurbishment disregarded.
The village centre would be the last of three built in the north of the borough, following the completion of schemes at Chelmund’s Cross and Smith’s Wood.
Last month, Kingshurst & Fordbridge ward councillor David Cole (Lab) told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that seeing these nearby developments had added to frustrations over the delays.
The consultation is due to run until March 18 and in the coming weeks there will be chance for residents to attend two drop-in sessions at Kingshurst Library.
These are scheduled for Monday, February 25 ( 2-5pm) and Thursday, March 7 (4-8pm).
Locals can also sign-up to regular bulletins by clicking the ‘Stay Connected’ button near the bottom of Solihull Council’s homepage ( www.solihull.gov.uk ) and choosing Kingshurst village centre regeneration from the options listed.