The long-awaited plans for a new major Sainsbury’s store and canalside development in Selly Oak go before the council’s planning committee for the first time next week when concerns over a missing high-technology industrial park will be raised.
The planning committee will be given a tour of the Selly Oak Battery site which Land Securities and Sainsbury’s hopes to turn into a major centre with a superstore, up to 20 shops, bars, restaurants, offices, student flats and hotels. Plans have also been amended, following widespread consultation with residents and local businesses, to include improvements to the Dudley Lapal Canal and better road links.
But missing is a previous pledge to turn part of the site into a medical or scientific research or high technology industrial park as part of the A38 Corridor Strategy.
An issues report to councillors does say there is a building of up to nine storeys ‘‘that could be used for offices or research and development”.
The report also states that if these uses are not viable the building could also be used as a secure residential unit.
Local planning strategies and a market report suggest the area is more suited to a smaller number of low rise buildings for a cluster of businesses and organisations, rather than a single use nine-storey block proposed.
The planning committee’s Labour members, who now hold the majority following the election, have in the past been particularly scathing over the loss of former industrial land to retail or commercial development and may demand alterations to the scheme after viewing the proposal in detail.
The development is expected to create about 3,000 jobs for the area and was supported by 38 per cent of visitors to a series of public exhibitions held in March. A further 48 per cent support elements of the scheme.