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Residents concerned about car dealer’s garden centre redevelopment

Residents have raised concerns about an independent car retailer’s plans to redevelop a former garden centre into a dealership with space for 100 vehicles.

National Car Hub company boss Sharaaz Ahmed has submitted plans to Walsall City concerning the redevelopment of Aldridge Wyevale Garden Centre into a car retail operation which would create 15 full-time and 10 part time jobs.

But the city’s Express & Star newspaper said that the project to breathe new life into the site – which has been derelict for two years – had come up against objections from nearby residents.

The newspaper said that residents were “concerned about the impact the business would have on traffic and parking as well as fears it will create more noise and increase crime in the area”.

Others suggested that a car dealership was an “inappropriate development in the green belt” and could have a negative impact on the value of their homes, it said.

Plans for the site include a total of 64 parking spaces, including 42 which would be available to the public and around 22 reserved for cars on sale.

The planning application submitted on behalf of Ahmed, however, argued that the new business, which would be open from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, would “not have any negative impact on the quality of the built environment”.

It added: “It is likely that the proposal would enhance the current aesthetic appeal of the current building and area by bringing back into use a vacant building avoiding the risk of it falling derelict.”

The application claimed that the building would be for the use of the local community and, as such, will be accessed predominantly by pedestrians.

"Overall, the proposal represents an improvement in the local environment and also represents an appropriate scale of development in this local centre and thereby improving the vitality and outlook of the area," the application said.

Walsall Council planning officers are currently assessing the proposal.

The redevelopment of former retail locations has become a trend as independent car retailers struggle to find land and facilities to expand their businesses amid a growing used car sector.

Cartime has turned to former supermarkets, while Solo Cars boss James McConville recently explained his struggle to find property into which he could expand his business.

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