Funding approved for Shirley

Solihull Council’s cabinet, last night (10 October), approved a plan for investment into Shirley town centre to help it meet the challenge of the changing nature of retail.

The funds, £50,000 from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and up to £50,000 from Solihull Council, will support work to develop a new Economic Growth Plan. This will provide a blueprint for enhancing the offer to shoppers and local businesses alike.

Solihull Council said it recognised that while the centre continues to trade well with few vacancies, there is a need to continue to engage with businesses in order to ensure the centre remains a vibrant and popular retail centre.

GBSLEP announced an Enabling Fund for Towns and Local Centres in 2018, to support the priorities within its Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). A bid to the GBSLEP’s Enabling Fund for £50,000 was accepted for Shirley town centre. The funding will support the refresh of a new Economic Growth Plan for Shirley and to deliver activities within the Action Plan.

A further budget of up to £50,000 of Council funds has been allocated to support early delivery of activities including environmental and marketing activities.

Councillor Karen Grinsell, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council, said: “I am confident that by engaging with businesses and local stakeholders we can work together to maintain Shirley as an attractive place to shop and do business.

“The funding will allow us to identify areas where we can support a buoyant day and night time economy. We need to maximise the strong ‘civic pride’ of the area and make sure this informs a unified plan for place marketing and promotional activities.

“Shirley is a one of our key retail areas within the borough and we are determined to actively support it. We have shown we listen to local businesses through the funding secured and by deciding not to implement a proposed car parking increase. We now need to pull together and put in place a practical plan to realise our joint ambitions for Shirley.”

Simon Marks, Board Director for Optimising Assets at GBSLEP, said: “Vibrant local centres like Shirley are hugely important to the wider economy. As well as supporting local skills and jobs, centres like Shirley give people a choice in where to shop and spend their leisure time.

“The money invested jointly between the LEP and Solihull Council is helping Shirley to positively shape its future. The practical outcomes from this work will help Shirley respond to a fast-changing retail environment and the changing habits of shoppers.

“Shirley is already an attractive, diverse shopping destination for people throughout the borough and beyond, and we are sure this support from us and the council will help to deliver a practical plan to improve the town centre for the benefit of everyone and move it forward.”