Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Solihull jacket potato stand rejected

A BID to have a Victoria-style jacket potato stand in Mell Square, Solihull has been thrown out by councillors.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said the stall outside Barclays Bank was “an inappropriate location likely to cause undue interference and inconvenience to those using the street”.

The decision came despite support from four shops and a plea by trader Craig Donaldson that the facility would “not only enhance the town but also cater for many people’s preferred choice of meal”.

In a letter to councillors the Monkspath resident said: “With the Government insisting that we all eat healthier, I am sure many people would prefer a jacket potato than a burger with fries, or a pastry.”

Mr Donaldson, who sells fresh flowers at the junction of Mill Lane and High
Street and on the Stratford Road, Shirley, said he had asked customers their thoughts and “did not have one person who objected”. He supplied a photograph of the proposed stall, above.

One objection was given to the council, from Paul Round, Mell Square centre manager who said: “I’m absolutely against this proposal as I feel it would add nothing to the square other than unfair competition for our existing food retailers.”

But the manageress of H.Samuel said: “Since I do stay in the area for my lunch breaks, I feel there aren’t many healthy options to choose from. This would be a welcome stall for all.”

Thorntons’ chocolate shop Emma Delaney said there are “no local, quick, healthy places to eat.”

She said: “I am keen to see an outlet where I can nip out of work for 15 minutes to purchase a warm meal.”

Ann Summers manager Danielle Honor welcomed the bid as buying lunch in the Touchwood shopping centre “takes the majority of our lunchbreak”.

She said: “This would be easily accessible to us and very welcome.”

Castle Galleries’ John Finlan said the stall would attract more professional people to give a “higher profile for the local businesses”.

Balsall Common resident R.A Smith said his wife has to queue for 30 to 40 minutes at other “so called” fast food outlets.

“Not everyone has time to waste, especially if they are on a lunch break,” he said.
Click here to see the letters (22mb, pdf).

Mr Donaldson would have to seek a costly judicial review to overturn the decision as he has no right of appeal to magistrates.

The decision was taken by the council’s licensing sub-committee.