My report on the latest plans for the former Battery Park site in Selly Oak

January 2013


On Friday 17th December 2012, I visited Elim Church Centre in Selly Oak to view the latest plans for the former Battery Park site in Selly Oak (off Bristol Road and Harborne Lane).

Since the original plans were published back in September 2011, and following my consultation with residents in Selly Oak in the first half of 2012; I called for a final plan which would put the needs of the local community first. As I’ve often said before, development should not come at any cost.

The latest plans include the following aspects:

- A new 80,000 sq ft (7,432 sq m) Sainsbury’s foodstore to replace the existing store on Chapel Lane

- An eight-pump petrol filling station

- Over 1,700 surface use, undercroft and multi-storey car parking spaces

- A landscaped square between Bristol Road and the Worcester and Birmingham canal

- A range of shops

- A new bridge to enable pedestrians and cyclists to cross over the existing Worcester and Birmingham canal linking the Bristol Road to the shopping area

- New 400-bed student accommodation by the canal

- A new pedestrian ‘Greenway’ linking to Selly Oak Park

I have welcomed the scaling down of the proposed retail development. I’m pleased to see that Sainsbury’s recognised the concern of local residents on this important issue, following my consultation.

The Life Sciences Park is a positive development and will contribute to Birmingham City Council’s A38 Corridor Strategy and the proposed ‘Life Sciences Campus’ economic zone. However, there are still a number of important questions to be asked about who will fund the construction, and who will take responsibility for the maintenance of the Park.

I welcome the plans for a number of pedestrian and cycle routes across the development. These routes are an important inclusion which will benefit the local population.

I am disappointed to see that the developers have decided to omit plans to restore a section of the historic Lapal Canal. I think that Birmingham City Council’s Planning Department should look again at whether it is appropriate to let them renege on this promise.

The canalside square will prove a popular aspect of this development but the area must be kept quiet and tidy; especially as a residential development sits directly opposite the square.

I still have concerns about the effect of the development on the wider area. Congestion on Chapel Lane and Gibbins Road may prove to be a significant headache during construction, and it remains to be seen what action developers will take to remedy any side-effects.

Finally, Sainsbury’s priority must be to provide jobs for existing staff and for local residents; and facilitate a genuine enhancement of the area.

To view or comment on the plans in more detail, please visit, or if you'd like to share your views or comments with me, please e-mail me at

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