Councillors clash over parking

By Chris Willmott 21/06 Updated: 28/06 14:03

SHUT up and stop whingeing - that is the message from Councillor Ted Richards to Shirley councillor Howard Allen.

Coun Allen (Green) has slammed the council's 'lack of thought' about parking provision when work gets underway on the controversial Parkgate scheme next month.

He claims that workers at the development will take up 50 per cent of the town's car parking spaces and that no plan has been made to provide any temporary car parking for shoppers in order to support Shirley high street traders during the near two-year construction phase.

But Coun Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, has hit out at 'troublemaking' Coun Allen, saying that he should try and be helpful rather than just stirring up trouble.

"He seems hellbent on trying to distract from what we are doing to regenerate Shirley town centre," he added.

"Besides, we already have plans in place for extra parking - which are much better than his ideas to build temporary car parks on the tennis court and bowling green."

Plans are being put in place to knock down the derelict bungalows adjacent to the Powergen site and create a further 88 spaces which would result in a net loss of 50 car parking spaces in the town for the period of the build - until the ASDA car park is up and running in 2014.

There would be a loss of 138 spaces between the start of work in July and the creation of the new spaces in September.

"Surveys have show there is less parking need in the summer months and we will be creating - subject to planning permission - the new spaces by September," added Coun Richards.

The total number of parking spaces in Shirley is 319 in the car parks and 191 on the High Street.

But Coun Allen's fear is that while Parkgate is supposed to regenerate Shirley, its creation could kill the High Street off before it opens.

He added: "To date the Shirley high street traders whose livelihood is threatened have not been consulted on this either by Solihull Council or their development partners Shirley Advance."

Coun Richards confirmed that the council would be talking to traders about the proposals for parking, but that it had been coming up with viable options before it went to them.

"My plea to the people of Shirley is to keep on supporting the town and traders throughout the construction process and beyond for the better of the town," he added.

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