A new community group in Stirchley has been set up recently, in response to a bid from Tesco to build a large supermarket right behind my house. The area of land in the bid, a brownfield site which has been empty for a few years now, has been the subject of quite some controversy over recent weeks and months.
The community group, Another Stirchley is Possible, was formed to oppose the Tesco plan, and also to find out what the people of Stirchley really want... and to try to make those things happen. We held a public consultation day on Saturday at the Community Centre, where all sorts of more positive ideas were proposed, including a public square near the river, a swimming pool, and a new High Street away from the busy Pershore Road, where smaller shops and cafes might thrive.
The Tesco option, on the other hand, is designed with a catchment area of far wider than just Stirchley, covering Cotteridge, Bournville and Selly Park, and stretching into King's Heath too. Our basic argument is that this is likely to both kill off local businesses all across this area, whilst increasing traffic, as people shuttle into Tesco and back out again, ignoring local shops.
I won't rehearse the arguments in full here however, but take a look at the group's new blog, at anotherstirchley.wordpress.com, which includes a call for people to write to the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, to call the proposal in rather than rubber stamping it.