Saturday 29 December 2012

Our response to the latest Selly Oak Regeneration plan proposed for Sainsbury's

The Friends of Selly Oak Park
Object to, and do not support, the “refreshed” Selly Oak Regeneration plans as presented in December 2012, since they omit the watered canal included in the planning application submitted in March 2012.

The Friends of Selly Oak Park URGE the developers and planners towards:

·    First and foremost, the inclusion of a fully watered canal across the proposed development area.

·    To forsake established retail park models, and embrace a more imaginary, creative, holistic and inclusive approach to design with the canal as a fortuitous FOCUS for the development.

·    To capitalise upon, the rich – but often ignored - historical and archaeological setting of the site.

·    To observe the success of canal developments in other areas, and to learn from, and capture, the added value and benefits such a canal feature affords (e.g. Reading, Leeds, Stalybridge, and Droitwich).

·    To link the development into the needs of the local and adjacent community.

·    To have regard to the longer term possibilities of the development in conjunction with other local sites (Dingle, Selly Oak Hospital, Selly Oak Triangle, Pebble Mill and Old QE sites). We call on BCC to take a lead in providing a coherent vision for the whole area rather than the current piecemeal approach.

·    To take a holistic approach when engaging with local interested parties and groups.

·    To extend the same holistic approach to the consideration of the needs of local amenities such as Selly Oak park, Bournbrook recreation ground and Selly Oak Library, and their role in complementing the development.

·    To see the project as a Visitor attraction rather than just a retail / science park.

·    To consider the benefits of the canal and local history elements in the attractiveness of the name for the site/project, e.g. building on heritage of “Harborne Wharf” as a concept.

In summary we urge the developers and planners to consider the two canals (Worcester and Birmingham & Lapal) and associated historical sites as key elements in the development, to work together and with local groups to design the retail, recreation, and residential aspects around these features while reserving some space for mixed (science park / offices / hotels etc).

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