A NEW date has been set for councillors to finally make a decision on two separate planning applications for motorway service stations on the M42 through Solihull.
A special meeting of the planning committee is now scheduled for February 24.
The proposals – fiercely opposed by residents, former Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman and current MP Saqib Bhatti and councillors – detail plans for a stop-off at junction 4 in Shirley or on land between Hampton-in-Arden and Catherine-de-Barnes.
Earlier this month Mr Bhatti hit out at the plans after writing to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps requesting a ‘call-in’ for both applications and a public inquiry to be launched by the Planning Inspectorate.
A council spokesperson said: “If the Secretary of State decides to call in the applications before then, the meeting will still need to go ahead to establish the planning committee’s views on the applications and the basis for those views.
“If the applications are not called in, the planning committee will make a decision on both applications.”
Decisions on the applications, which were first submitted to the planning department in 2016 and 2015 respectively, have been held off for several years.
Originally the committee had been due to determine an outcome in March 2019, but the meeting was postponed after Applegreen Plc, the company behind the junction 4 scheme, asked for its application to be deferred.
Solihull Council had previously made clear it would consider the proposals together.
Opponents say either development would add to existing traffic problems and destroy the local Green Belt.
However both applicants argue there is a clear need for a services along that stretch of motorway.
Extra MSA Group, which has applied for the services near Hampton-in-Arden and Catherine-de-Barnes, said it would create up to 300 jobs with a bus service available for employees. They would also build a hotel and a new access road.
Applegreen plc wants to create an ‘environmentally responsible’ motorway services near Shirley with extensive landscaping.