DICKENS HEATH – Update

Following a meeting with Council officers I can report as follows:

CAR PARKING:

I have reported previously the offer by Barny McElholm, from Elegant Homes, to create some 40+ new spaces in the existing car park of Garden Squares East, to allow Dickens Heath traders to use these spaces for car parking, thus easing pressure on Main Street and car parking areas behind the shops/businesses. This is taking its form slowly and should be in place soon and is recognised as a quick ‘win’ to establish some of the lost spaces as a result of construction and development. One of the issues we wished to ensure is the protection these spaces once Garden Squares East has been completed and we seem be on course to achieving this.

SMBC and Elegant Homes are currently negotiating a long lease (125 years) whereby Solihull Council takes ownership of 39 car parking spaces at a Peppercorn Rent once Garden Squares East has been completed. The plan is for the Dickens Heath management Company to oversee the use of these spaces, intended to remain in use for Main Street traders and their staff.

Issues being discussed include the need for assurance as to who will use these spaces and how they will be used. There is also a full commitment from SMBC that no profit will be made from this; there will no parking fees/pay and display but it must be recognised these spaces do form quite a valuable asset and fairness of use is paramount. This needs to be ratified by Solihull’s Planning Committee when the final planning application goes before them whereby the loss of affordable housing within the Garden Squares East project can be offset by a contribution of the 39 car parking spaces.

MAIN STREET:

The administrators (BNP Paribas) are still unwilling to discuss the possibility of restricted car parking on some parts of Main Street. It appears the liquidators are still very cautious and are seeking to sell on their asset, which includes Main Street and associated buildings/land. Once SMBC officers know they have a buyer on board then discussions will take place with them.

LAND REAR OF TESCOS:

Elegant Homes do not wish to retain ownership of the remainder of the car park and it is essential this is not handed on to a freehold purchaser who does not have the interests of the village at heart. The area is being offered by Elegant Homes to SMBC and we hope this can again be managed to retain the existing car parking spaces to be freely available.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT:

Section 106 funding from the Braggs Farm and Belway developments are being used to contribute to a 30 minutes S3 bus service. Centro is seeking tenders for this service.


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