Stirchley turns out to protest against Lidl
Around 60 residents attended a demonstration in Stirchley today as cars hooted in support to protest against Birmingham City Council’s u-turn decision to allow Lidl UK to knock down local leisure facilities and build a supermarket on the site instead.
The demo was attended by local MP Steve McCabe (pictured, right), Labour councillors Mary Locke (pictured, left) and Karen McCarthy, Momentum South Birmingham, Friends of Stirchley Park, Friends of Cannon Hill Park, Stirchley Happenings, Stirchley Community Market, Super Stirchley, as well as local residents affected by the decision.
Many are angry that concerns – over traffic, jobs, too many supermarkets in Stirchley, other available derelict sites for development, and the loss of leisure and sports facilities – are being ignored. They are also concerned that this planning decision (and others In Birmingham) are being rubber-stamped because the council can’t afford to fight appeals from developers.
Placards and banners called for a boycott of Lidl and for local government to favour health over wealth, to listen to local residents and to stand up for Stirchley against a number of supermarkets wanting to build here. Protestors shouted: “Save our gym and bowling!” and “Lidl is a fiddle!”
Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, later tweeted: “Big turn out despite cold at Fitness First protest. Think again Lidl this is a supermarket that will never be popular.
“The council should have refused the application but Lidl are the people who can stop it now… They are demolishing our gym and bowling alley to build supermarket nobody wants. We’ll have more supermarkets per square mile than anywhere else…”
Fitness First gym, which has a thriving community of 3500 members, and PSL Bowling, a family business with many ties in the local community through school and charity groups, both want to stay on the site but are under threat of demolition.
The council was initially minded to refuse Lidl’s application but then suddenly made a u-turn In December, approving Lidl’s planning application despite hundreds of complaints and comments to the council’s planning committee and a petition, which now stands at 2,250 signatures against. The decision was formally approved this week.
Further background on this story can be found on SuperStirchley’s campaign post. We have also gathered the local response to this by local residents and councillors. And the message is clear: No Lidl here!
More photos/videos from the protest can be found below (we’ll add to this list as we go). Please feel free use and share CC images: