Residents of a Solihull suburb yesterday vented their anger at plans to transform their town centre with a £100 million facelift.
A handful of community leaders, campaigners and enraged individuals were given the opportunity to voice their concerns at a Solihull Council scrutiny meeting held in Shirley town centre.
Concerns were raised that the council's planning framework was not providing sufficient safeguards against the developers' proposals, particularly with regard to the expected increase of traffic following the development.
Residents also voiced worries about the loss of land on Shirley Park to accommodate the plans, which include a new superstore, retail units, and housing.
Officials from Shirley Advance - a partnership between developers Coltham Developments and Helical Bar, and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council - claim the proposals will help revitalise the town centre by bringing more trade to the area.
The meeting was held to determine whether the developers' proposals met the requirements for Shirley town centre which have been set out by the council.
The proposals must include a list of "key elements" set out in a development agreement if the developer is to be permitted to lodge a planning application.
The agreement requires the scheme to include a food store of at least 40,000 sq ft, other retail units, a town square, housing, at least 600 car parking spaces, toilets and improvements to Shirley Park.
However, the list was criticised for not being farreaching enough, particularly with regard to traffic issues.
Rodney Pitham, a retired solicitor and former assistant chief executive of Solihull Council, said: "There are some glaring omissions from the development brief - the treatment of traffic and highways, consultation, a retail impact analysis, and an assessment of need for the development.
"Nothing has been submitted prior to this meeting about how the development will affect the traffic in Shirley and what remedial traffic control measures will be introduced."
Richard Wiseman, from campaign group Keep Shirley Alive, said: "The need for this development has not been proven.
"Everyone who lives in Shirley knows that we have more than enough supermarkets. In fact, I cannot think of another area of the West Midlands with more supermarkets."
Robert Birch, from Shirley Advance, said other retailbased regeneration projects across the region - including Bullring in Birmingham and Touchwood in Solihull - had helped to revitalise areas.
The findings of yesterday's meeting will be submitted to Solihull Council's cabinet meeting tomorrow.