A “prison-like” shopping centre in the West Midlands is poised to undergo a £34 million makeover.
Councillors in Solihull have backed the wholesale redevelopment of The Parade, in Kingshurst, which will include up to 86 homes, retail units and healthcare facilities.
A meeting of the council’s planning committee heard the building was dubbed ‘The Latest in Luxury’ almost 60 years ago but was now “well past its sell-by date”.
The outline consent covers the access for demolition of the current parade, with firmer details on the design and other elements to go back to borough planners at a later date.
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Cllr Karl Macnaughton said: “It is very run-down. It is not very nice to walk through that, looking like part of a prison that we saw earlier on.
“And any improvement there is very welcome; there’s a lot of wasted space at the moment, that’s just not used for anything and is not accessible.
“So the outward facing nature that’s proposed is excellent, as is the improved connectivity.”
Cllr David Cole said the approval was a “really welcome” milestone as the plans had been under discussion for years.
“It is years overdue, I’m really happy and glad that, all of a sudden, we’re going to blow the whistle and kick the ball and start the game,” he told the committee meeting.
Plans for redevelopment have been on the table for 15 years but several previous versions of the rebuild have failed to get going amid wrangles over land ownership and funding.
Committee chairman Cllr Richard Holt said the scheme was a “positive news story in such difficult times” and hoped it would be the start of “a new future for that area.”