TOWN centre businesses have slammed the proposed Touchwood extension, claiming it will have devastating effects.
The Observer revealed the new plans to extend Touchwood, which will extend the east side of the shopping centre out towards St Alphege Church and incorporating the current Council House.
And while the proposal has been welcomed from many quarters, businesses have been left in fear for their future.
Several High Street businesses will lose their car parks and delivery access if the proposal gets the green light.
And those affected are desperate to protect their livelihoods.
Ruxtons Estate Agents is one of those businesses affected and will stand to lose its office parking for staff who are in and out of the office all day.
Outraged owner Nav Sharma said: “The Touchwood extension proposals would involve the removal of the carpark at the rear of our premises and thus deprive the business of the use of several extremely valuable designated spaces.
“The proposals as they stand will create chaos to the finely tuned balance of the business and create such significant cost inefficiencies that it’s future will be severely at risk.
“There are, we estimate at least 24 local businesses/organisations threatened/directly affected by this development, in favour of large corporations and shareholder value.
“No thought has been given to providing any additional new parking facilities?
“We strongly object to these proposals as they are wholly unnecessary ,disruptive, short sighted and destructive.”
A spokesperson from Touchwood said they are currently in discussions with the owners of the small number of properties directly affected by the extension and are focused on ensuring there is minimal impact on local businesses.
They added that there is already extensive parking available in Solihull town centre, and the extension will include service access.
A Solihull Council spokesperson Added: “The Council is working closely with Lend Lease to understand the impact of the proposed Touchwood extension on immediate businesses and the town centre as a whole.
“The Council’s aim is maintain Solihull’s position as a popular shopping destination, improve the night time economy, whilst retaining the elements that make it such an attractive place to visit and shop.”
The Ruxtons car park showing its proximity to Touchwood from a high vantage point. Picture by Jon Mullis 14.015.014.sol.jm1