Where has the money gone?

Written by David Parker

Tesco Car park by David Parker

Take a good look at the photograph above. Can you guess where this is, or more accurately was? If you use the Tesco car park at the Fox and Goose you are driving over what was once part of Brockhurst Road playing fields.

Conveniently overlooked in celebrations of the store’s first anniversary was the planning agreement that secured Tesco’s use of the land. Under a so-called Section 106 agreement with the City Council £600,000 was pledged by Tesco to meet their legal obligation to compensate for the loss of the playing field by funding new sporting pitches in the Hodge Hill area.

Three and a half years after Tesco secured planning permission, and a year and a half after the store’s opening, little progress has been made. As BBC news reports this is not an isolated case .

Birmingham has £1.5m unspent Section 106 money from agreements of this kind.

To avoid Hodge Hill being denied due recompense for the loss of precious playing field land the area’s elected representatives should ensure:

–       There is a clear commitment that the £600,000 will be spent in full in the Hodge Hill area.

–       That local people and organisations should have a say in how it is allocated.

–       That Tesco will not be allowed to renege on their legal obligations.

Hodge Hill cannot afford to allow funding of this scale to remain unspent.

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