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SANDWELL: Pakistani mosque and community centre to become supermarket

SANDWELL: Pakistani mosque and community centre to become supermarket

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A former Pakistani mosque and community centre will be turned into a supermarket in Sandwell, despite being only yards away from an Asda and a Home Bargains.

Planning chiefs granted approval for the scheme to convert the vacant building on Corbett Street, Smethwick, into a new multi-ethnic food store.

In the planning application, an amendment was drawn up to reduce the new supermarket in size to provide extra car parking spaces.

Residents previously feared the new supermarket would create ‘havoc’ in the area.

John Baker, service manager for development planning and building consultancy said: “It’s a better scheme because with the supermarket itself the footprint would be smaller. And as a result of that the applicants have managed to create an extra couple of parking spaces which meet our parking standard.”

The proposal sparked strong opposition from nearby residents. In May, they handed a petition to the planning committee bearing 89 names on it, arguing it wasn’t needed in the area near many other stores and would exacerbate issues such as parking, vermin and noise.

Rhonda Neil, who lives in Corbett Street, told the planning committee meeting on Tuesday (May 11) that the new store would make their lives a misery.

She said: “Residents who can’t park on Edgbaston Road and Claremont Road use our road to park. Workers in and around Cape Hill use it.

“I know there is a car park proposed for this change of use but a car coming in and out could cause a blockage and backlog down the road which already happens every day.

“The answer to that seems to be sit in your car and keep your hand on your horn until the blockage is removed, that means you’re sat in your house and that’s all you can hear.

“The residents are not happy. The extra noise is a nuisance, the pollution means we can’t open our front windows because it’s constant traffic.”And we’ve got the added problem with vermin. Already you can see rats running daily across the road.

“It’s going to cause more havoc for residents and I don’t understand it. Is business taking precedence over the local people which it seems to be? Our wants and needs have been ignored.

Words: Rhi Storer, Local Democracy Reporter

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