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Lidl ignore planning overturn in Stirchley land buy

April 16, 2017

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Fitness First Stirchley has confirmed that its head office has given them 45 days’ notice of closure (to 31 May 2017) and SuperStirchley understands this is because Lidl is in the process of buying the site – despite community objections and Tesco pulling out of an alternative empty site nearby. PSL Bowling has confirmed that it has not yet been given notice by the landlord.

If you object to Lidl’s latest move, please scroll down to see what actions you can now take.

The German supermarket chain is allegedly pushing ahead with the land purchase despite Birmingham City Council quashing the planning consent last month after a legal appeal by a SuperStirchley supporter successfully challenged the decision over the loss of popular local sports and leisure facilities. In a letter to one of our members on 7 April, Lidl confirmed that it was “committed to purchasing the site” and that “Fitness First will be in touch with you at the appropriate time to inform you of what is happening”.

In the same letter, Lidl refused to make further comment but we suspect that it is planning to demolish both the gym and bowling alley so that it can then re-apply for planning consent without the loss of local sports/leisure facilities being a consideration for Birmingham City Council planners.

SuperStirchley finds this action despicable and disgusting. It is an insult to the community that it wants to become future customers and it makes a mockery of having planning committees.

We cannot allow this to happen.

Demolishing Stirchley’s only fitness gym and bowling alley – which is due to celebrate its 50th anniversary on site next year – when there is an empty site just 100m further up Pershore Road is clearly the wrong decision, and has already led to several protests. There are already several supermarkets in close proximity and traffic congestion will only get worse with supermarket deliveries and high volume of customers. Not to mention that the job losses caused are greater than those created.

We have heard unconfirmed rumours that another gym chain has expressed interest in the site so it really is worth opposing this site being turned into yet another supermarket. We support new gyms in the area, as there is a readymade client base. The bowling alley also has local school, charity and community groups links and would be a great loss to south Birmingham. It is also a small family business that will be devastated by this expansion by Lidl.

SuperStirchley remains opposed to Lidl building on this particular site and we will do all we can to save our few remaining sports and leisure facilities.

What can we do now?

Please join our fight to stop – you can do this in several ways:

  1. Stay in the loop – get campaign updates and news of protests by signing up to our campaign email list here.
  2. Sign the petition if you haven’t already (2,300 signatures so far) – here’s the link
  3. Share the petition on Facebook, Twitter, etc – copy and paste our sample Tweets:

Disgusted by @LidlUK behaviour in #Stirchley –I am petitioning to save @FFStirchley & @PSLBowling: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-lidl-replacing-fitness-first-in-stirchley @BhamCityCouncil

4. Write to Lidl /Tesco to encourage Lidl to build on the alternative site – here’s a template letter you can adapt.

5. Write to Birmingham City Council, Lidl and Tesco. The more individual letters and emails we can send, the bigger the impact. Here are the addresses to write to:

Christian Härtnagel, CEO
Lidl UK GmbH
19 Worple Road
Wimbledon
London
SW19 4JS

Matt Davies, CEO
Tesco Plc
Tesco House
Shire Park
Kestrel Way
Welwyn Garden City
AL7 1GA

Stella Menzies, Interim Chief Executive
Birmingham City Council
Chief Executive’s Office
Birmingham City Council
Council House
Victoria Square
Birmingham
B1 1BB

Most of these actions takes just a few minutes to carry out so please do what you can to Stand Up For Stirchley.

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