The deputy leader of Solihull Council has stepped down so he is “free to speak his mind” about a controversial town centre development.
Councillor Tim Hodgson, who represents the Shirley South ward in Solihull, handed in his resignation in opposition to the Parkgate scheme planned to revamp Shirley town centre. The 25-year-old will continue in his role as cabinet member for environment, while his father, fellow Liberal Democrat Andrew Hodgson, will take up the position of deputy leader.
The £80 million scheme is anchored around a large Asda superstore, with about 20 new shops, cafes, restaurants and a mix of residential townhouses and apartments planned along the Stratford Road by Shirley Park.
Campaigners have criticised the proposals, stating the area does not need another superstore and calling for green space to be preserved after it emerged the scheme would use 1.35 acres of the 34-acre park and an additional 1.2 acres of green space.
Coun Hodgson said: “Being in the position of deputy leader meant I was very restricted on what I could say.
“I’m still a cabinet member, but if there are future meetings about Parkgate I will just not participate. I’m putting my constituents before my political career. That’s something I’m prepared to sacrifice to make sure I stick to my principles.”