New Heart of Shirley? – An assessment of potential impacts on the community and of justification for the proposals
News, December 2010: the Heart of Shirley development, now known as Parkgate, was rejected by Solihull’s planning committee in early December on grounds of parking: Solihull news article
In 2005 a mixed use development was being proposed for the small town centre of Shirley, near Solihull, West Midlands. The proposals including housing, shops, offices, parking, public space and a superstore. Following discussion with members of the Town Centre Partnership, who were unsure of the potential impacts of the development and wanted an independent analysis to help them in responding to the proposals, LWM produced a report on the potential impacts of the development, the assessments that were carried out before the brief was drawn up, and the community involvement processes surrounding it.
The report also includes case studies of other in-centre and edge-of-centre developments.
LWM undertook this study on account of its own objectives in local economic development, and to its own brief, but it was sent to both the Town Centre Partnership and the campaign group Keep Shirley Alive to assist them in understanding the implications of the proposals.
Because LWM have a background in work on local centres and the social and community aspects of economic activity rather than traditional retail analysis, and are not being paid by the developer or those in opposition to the scheme, it was hoped that the report would provide information that might not otherwise be available to local people, and at an earlier stage of the process – and feedback was positive in this respect. The report was endorsed by the Retail Enterprise Network at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The report can be found as a pdf document below:
LWM can occasionally undertake similar work for other community groups when resources allow – which is not often – but the Shirley report might be helpful to other community groups in finding ways to assess likely impact in an independent way.