Diggers and bulldozers have converged on a former industrial site as work has finally got under way on the new Lidl store being built in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield.
The former contaminated Lucas factory site on Mere Green Road, has been an eyesore for many years, following the factory demolition and the time needed to get rid of the contamination at the site.
This two-acre site is now being developed despite some local objections and plans being sent back to the drawing board during the planning process, before finally being approved. One local councillor described the original Lidl design as looking like a brown and white shed.
It will include the store and a number of parking spaces, finally opening up a site that has been blocked off with blue boarding for more than 10 years.
It offers a budget alternative to the giant Sainsbury’s store opposite, but is sure to create extra traffic and congestion in the busy Mere Green area. However there will be new jobs and a likely boost to the local economy with increased footfall.
The development could be the final piece in the jigsaw in the renaissance of Mere Green. The area been blighted for years with rows of boarded up shops, but that finally gave way to the Mulberry Walk development. Anchored by the Marks & Spencer food hall, the new shops and a number of smart bars, restaurants, coffee shops and a gym, complement the existing shops on Lichfield Road.
Now groundworks are under way despite dozens of letters of objection received from residents raising a number of concerns including traffic levels and pollution fears.
Four Oaks ward councillor Maureen Cornish was less than impressed with the original plans but now backs the new development.
She said: “The new Lidl development was scrutinised in depth by planning officers and committee, it covers all legal requirements. It’s never possible to please all, however this site was derelict for a number of years and desperately needed to be developed.
“Lidl will provide versatile shopping giving the public more choice, it will increase the footfall and competition between similar stores provides shoppers.”
She added: “Lidl provides reasonable parking for shopping only with a limited time for doing so. This is required to prevent those that park but then walk to the train station, which is unacceptable. Highways will monitor area if congestion becomes a problem but are comfortable with the existing arrangements.”