Stirchley Lidl plans force leisure centre closure

Image source, PA
Image caption,
A Lidl spokesperson said the firm was reviewing its planning application

A gym and a bowling alley caught up in a controversial planning application by supermarket chain Lidl in Birmingham is being forced to close.

Fitness First and PSL Bowling in Stirchley are shutting after their landlord agreed to a takeover by Lidl.

Last month Lidl's planning application was revoked after mistakes were made in the decision making process.

Residents had mounted a legal challenge based around the loss of sporting and leisure facilities.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
There had been "strength of feeling" against plans to open a Lidl store on this site

Martin Seibold, UK managing director at Fitness First, confirmed its closure.

"Lidl confirmed they'd like to take over the site and so the landlord of the building made the decision to sell the site," he said.

A spokeswoman for PSL Bowling said they had been given two weeks to quit trading and leave and said it had come as a "shock" as they did not know discussions had been ongoing.

She added: "We are in the process of contesting these time frames."

Permission was granted in February for the Lidl supermarket to be developed on the site.

However, planning permission was overturned by Birmingham City Council in March after the council said mistakes had been made with the decision making process.

A Lidl spokesman said: "I can confirm that we remain committed to bringing a store to Stirchley and are in the process of reviewing our planning application."

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said the High Court has been asked to complete the process of quashing the previous planning permission with a decision due by next month.

Lidl will then be in a position to formally re-start the planning application process later in the year at which point the council will engage in a fresh round of public consultation.

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