Con­tro­ver­sial shop­ping cen­tre plan to be un­veiled

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Ge­orge Makin Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL plans to turn play­ing fields into a multi-mil­lion pound de­signer out­let shop­ping cen­tre are set to be un­veiled.

The scheme to build a 200,000 square feet de­vel­op­ment is pro­posed for the coun­cil-owned Lion Farm play­ing fields in Old­bury – and could cre­ate 2,000 jobs and at­tract £200 mil­lion of in­vest­ment to the bor­ough.

The pro­posal has sparked protests by cam­paign­ers who claim it will cause traf­fic chaos and add to air pol­lu­tion from the nearby M5 mo­tor­way. In the past, pro­test­ers have pick­eted Sandwell Coun­cil house and held a mock fu­neral to high­light their op­po­si­tion to the scheme.

The plans are be­ing put for­ward by de­vel­op­ers Jeremy Knight-Adams as the first step in a for­mal plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion. A spokes­woman for the com­pany con­firmed that 3,000 let­ters will now be sent out to res­i­dents to out­line the plans as part of a for­mal con­sul­ta­tion.

The plan in­cludes 90 shops, cafes, restau­rants and a cin­ema, ho­tel and gym.

It is pro­posed to build three all­weather sports pitches and a train­ing and skills cen­tre to help lo­cal peo­ple find em­ploy­ment.

The let­ters con­tain de­tails of open days where res­i­dents can see the plans first-hand and ask ques­tions.

Pe­ter Dur­nell, a spokesman for the pro­test­ers, claimed the scheme had sig­nif­i­cantly changed.

“New plans ap­pear very dif­fer­ent

19 hectares of Sandwell’s pre­cious and rapidly dwin­dling green­ery will still be con­creted over

to the ‘high end out­lets’ pro­posed,” he said.

“How­ever, whether to build Aldis and Pound­lands, or Guc­cis and Burber­rys, 19 hectares of Sandwell’s pre­cious and rapidly dwin­dling green­ery will still be con­creted over.”

He added: “Al­ready badly con­gested roads will be­come mas­sively more so, al­ready dan­ger­ously high air pol­lu­tion lev­els will be fur­ther raised, lo­cal flood­ing risks will be in­creased, and a ‘vi­tal wildlife high­way’ will be de­stroyed.”

A Sandwell Coun­cil spokesper­son said: “We are aware that the de­vel­oper is car­ry­ing out a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion about their pro­pos­als in ad­vance of them sub­mit­ting a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.” orig­i­nally

Pe­ter Dur­nell

>An artist’s im­pres­sion of how the shop­ping cen­tre on the coun­cil-owned Lion Farm play­ing fields in Old­bury will look

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