Plans to build flats on a car park in Harborne have been criticised amid fears it will affect local trade.
The application to create the homes on the St John’s Road East car park would mean the loss of 66 spaces.
A petition launched to block the application says the loss of a car park would hit struggling High Street shopkeepers. Opponents also argue that parking is already at a premium in the district with a council study under way to find ways of solving the shortage.
Coun Deirdre Alden (Con, Edgbaston), said: “This is a very well-used car park and losing it will lead to even more congestion in the High Street. We can’t afford to lose any parking spaces in Harborne as there aren’t enough anyway.
“To remain viable the shops in the High Street need to have plenty of car parking spaces available to shoppers,” she said. “People will think twice about shopping there if they have to drive around looking for somewhere to park.”
The land is owned by Harborne Parish Land and the application, by Hare Hatch Developments Ltd, states: “There appears to be sufficient stock to absorb the loss of 66 spaces on weekdays and at weekends spaces are available.”
Harborne had three main car parks, in addition to that under discussion. St John’s Road West had 98 spaces, York St 175, Marks and Spencer 47, plus The Varsity pub 47 and Green Man pub 56.
Phil Stokes, honorary secretary of the Harborne Society, said: “To say there is sufficient parking spaces in Harborne so this one is surplus is nonsense.”
Marks and Spencer should not be classed as a main car park because it was not for general use but was intended for store customers only. “We totally reject the findings of the car parking survey,” he said. The High Street needed as many car parks as possible because the side streets were taken up with residential parking.