Saturday, 3 October 2009

Swan Centre- has the Tesco project stalled?

Funny goings on are happening at the Swan Centre, in Yardley which I live nearby. A planning application for a Tesco development was given late last year and so the plan was that the Tesco would open spring 2010. This was all dependant on the A4040 road being diverted over green space allowing space for Tesco to have a large car park outside their store.

All things seem to be going to plan as over the summer the market and car park building was demolished, so I thought it wouldn't be long until they started to do the road works. However, its all stalled. I know they have a tight deadline to get this open by spring 2010 so wondered what had happened.

I then spotted this article the Birmingham Mail, which explains that the development has been unable to compulsory purchased of some land owned by a Mr Knight-Adams, a Malvern-based entrepreneur. He has objected to the purchase and has forced a public enquiry.

Why you wonder has he objected? He is opposed to the Tesco plan and believes "Yardley needs a comprehensive mixed use scheme which will provide opportunities for smaller businesses as well as other facilities that benefit the community."

The inquiry outcome is expected by the end of the year. So I guess it will be a spring 2011 before we get anything at the Swan Centre, which is tragic. The area really needs a boost as the redevelopment of the area has been dragging on, the market traders had to move out years ago and gradually shops have been leaving the Swan centre so it really does leave a sad picture at the Swan. However, I agree with Mr Knight-Adams that a mixed use scheme would provide better opportunities for smaller businesses and the arrival of a large supermarket to the Swan is also a worry to local shopping areas such as Acocks Green and Yardley.

So interesting times ahead, does this mean that the the planning system has become ineffective and the only effective way of stopping or stalling developments is buy buying an interest in the development. Does this mean only those with money behind them will get to effectively fight these new developments? Already there is the national Greenpeace campaign airplot, where people are buying a piece of the land in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow. And we have an example of this in action in Birmingham, so watch this space and see how the inquiry at the Swan centre pans out.


Anonymous said...

I feel that the tesco developement will bring much needed jobs and uplift the area,the area is not pleasant to live in its become an eye soar its ok for those that dont live wwith in this mess but i do and have to look at it on a daily basis its unfair for those with money to hold it up its not those poeple who have to look at it .small bussiness is important but shoppers have a choice where they shop perhaps we all should think about what we can do to help small bussiness,stop all this noncence its gone on long enough lets get building and bring some much needed life back to yardley

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have to disagree. Generally, a chain supermarket such as Tesco removes wealth and jobs from an area. The jobs tend to be low paid, and the majority of the money spent in the shop leaves the area.

As I understand it, much of the old Swan Centre consisted of locally owned businesses, or at least, franchises held by local people. This would make the contrast even more acute - local businesspeople would have had better jobs, and kept more of the money spent in their businesses in the Yardley area.

The ideal would have been for the existing Swan Centre to be rennovated, but Tesco have denied that opportunity to local people.

Obviously, we in the area now need to develop a positive plan for what is currently a rubble yard (as well as plant trees to replace the mature ones which were destroyed by Tesco).

But we don't need Tesco, with Yardley and Acock's Green just a short bus ride away from The Swan.


Anonymous said...

Can we all get a grip.. yes the tesco’s and asda’s are taking over the world but what you going to do about it? It’s all about consumer power, that’s you and me. These big companies are just reacting to our needs!
Yes by all means go to your local butchers and green grocers and pay extra for their product, this is also subject to finding parking in these places... but as a working person I do not have time to toddle down to my local shops with my wicker basket to get my shopping daily. I need to ability to go to one place to get everything with FREE parking. It works for me and many others but the good thing is you have a choice based on your financial and time constraints.
Another thing in defence of Tesco, for years the swan has become a dumping ground for the chaff, no one shopping there, it looked like a state and it was a mecca for crime and drugs. Living opposite it I am glad the day the pulled it to the ground. At least with a tesco there will be a better use of the land and aesthetically it will look better for me as a home owner and for the thousands of people visiting Birmingham on the drive in along the A45....
ALSO.... Tesco are investing back in to the community to give better facilities on the parkland, and there will be 20+ retail units available within the complex, so any of those independent retails who had a viable business that is sustainable have the chance to get back in to the swan.
NOW PLEASE stop all this tosh and get on with it!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember more than 20 years ago.... yes, 20 years, when shops were full of petitions against ASDA Small Heath.... anyway, it's there now and everyone from far and wise uses it... including those that by now have forgotten they protested against it. Change has to happen, we moan, we protest... it still happens!
As for this Jeremy Knight Adams, all it seems to me is that he's put his spanner in the works just for the sake of publicity. He did it once work had started, how ridiculous.... so the place is rubble.. the shops and house already gone, so he isn't helping those already ousted, too late for that! Come on guys get a grip, a hotel at the Swan??? Why?? If you want a hotel, you want one at the Airport or in Town and besides there's one just up the road behind what used to be Harry Ramsdens! Jeremy, quit the publicity stunt, let them get on with it and let the people that want to work there and shop there get on with doing just that because Im sure that in another 20 years time there will be another supermarket.. and another etc!

Mary Horesh said...

Another update on the story from Birmingham Mail and John Hemming

Alan said...

......any idea when it's going to get underway again?

Anonymous said...

church rd will close to traffic june this year the new road into the park will be used, Tesco hope to be up and running by April 2012.We will live three doors away we shall see who takes up a shop with Tesco there will be roughly 15 to 20 units they have told us but as Tesco sell everything will they be a white elephant