THE FORMER Woolsman Garden Centre site in Shirley has been sold for a record-breaking £2.5million to Churchill Retirement Living.
The controversial sale was made through Cottons Chartered Surveyors much to the disappointment of Green Councillor Howard Allen who has labelled it a ‘great shame’ and claimed the area has enough homes for older people and needs properties for the younger generation.
The brownfield site was sold for the highest amount which has ever been made by any West Midlands auctioneer. The previous record was set at £2,350,000 in October 2009.
The garden centre, on 70-74 Solihull Road in Shirley, which was bought for £500,000 more than its guide price has been in Mark Treadwell’s family since 1952. It was first acquired by his great-grandfather and over four generations has grown into a fully fledged garden centre.
Coun Allen, who represents the Shirley West, said he was disappointed with the loss of another business but it was a sign of the hard times.
He added businesses like Woolsmans found it difficult to survive and there were pressures for them to sell their land especially when they were in very valuable locations like this.
“At the moment we are not building enough homes for younger people,” Coun Allen said.
“We have enough retirement living we need to look to the future.
“I’m quite elderly myself and I want to be looked after in a the future but we have more than enough accommodation for older people and very little to encourage young people to stay or make it possible.
“It is a great shame.”
Auctioneer Andrew Barden confirmed they had received a substantial amount of interest from a range of house builders, retirement and care home providers as well as investors generating competitive bidding and culminating in a sale under the hammer of £2.5million.
Mr Barden said it reflected the renewed appetite in the market for prime development opportunities.