Outrage over Parkgate library plan

By Chris Willmott Thursday 18 October 2012 Updated: 24/10 14:31

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An artist's impression of the Parkgate Development. (s)

PLANS to move Shirley Library into the heart of the Parkgate development have sparked fierce criticism of the controversial project.

The development is already smaller than was first approved many years ago, with 20 per cent less retail space and limited mezzanine space instead of a proposed first floor at the shopping centre.

And now it has come under fire for discussions about moving the library into that already depleted retail space.

Many fears have been expressed in recent months about the lack of signed-up tenants for the centre - and the library plans have compounded those fears.

Shirley South councillor Andy Hodgson has slammed the latest development at Parkgate.

"It is astonishing that Solihull Council is resorting to bailing out Shirley Advance who have failed to attract sufficient private sector investment for the Parkgate scheme," he said.

"Considering all that has been taken from Shirley, this latest twist is an absolute disgrace."

Robert Birch from Parkgate developer Shirley Advance has hit back at the criticisms, saying there are 'absolutely no grounds for scaremongering about Parkgate'.

"We are in the early stages of our lettings strategy but already have several contracts in lawyers’ hands," he added.

He added that discussions with Solihull Council about relocating Shirley Library to Parkgate had been ongoing and, if approved, would be good news for local people.

"We have also, this week, announced that a £2 million redevelopment project is about to start on Shirley Baptist Church, again bringing new facilities including function rooms and a café, right into Parkgate," he added.

"This is what a true community development should be about.”

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