D&B Solihull Six Years On
You'd be forgiven for thinking this picture was taken several years ago. The familiar site of Dave and Busters Solihull, but this isn't any time in the past, this is May 2006.
In a recent working trip to Solihull I knowing knew I would be passing the former venue at Monkspath leisure park. As Dave and Busters Bristol has long gone I wondered what would greet me upon passing by.
To my amazement, it was almost as if six years that the premises has be vacant that nothing as happened. On first inspection the site looked far better than the state that Bristol had deteriorated into.
The leisure park as a whole, Monkspath, is clearly a dead duck. Dave and Busters was located alongside a small bar/grill in the corner and the now fellow defunct chain - Fatty Arbuckles. If it wasn't for David Lloyds the place would be completely empty.
It seems that the bulldozers may be moving in soon though. The local papers reported back in July 2005 that B&Q have opened discussions to redevelop the whole park with a 120'000 sq ft DIY supermarket.
Plans to regenerate a former leisure park in Shirley - creating 100 jobs - were unveiled yesterday by leisure firm Otium Solihull and B&Q.
The five-acre site at Monkspath was once home to a number of restaurants and a Dave and Busters family entertainment centre. However, now David Lloyd Fitness Centre is the sole remaining operator.
New proposals to regenerate the site will provide a 120,000 sq ft B&Q DIY store with a garden centre, creating up to a 100 job opportunities.
"The site looks very desolate with so many vacant units and its clear that a fresh approach was required to identify an appropriate use.
"By securing B&Qs involvement we have been able to meet the considerable demand for home improvement outlets in this area as well as revitalise a poorly utilised site," confirmed a spokesman for Otium Solihull.
He added: "The proposals also include highways improvements and landscaping works to re-establish the site as a high profile, attractive location".
The company said the site was well served by public transport, with a service to Shirley town centre and good connections to Solihull town centre.
The proposals will also provide a cycle/pedestrian access to existing facilities on the A34 Stratford Road, leading to improved accessibility to the site for bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.
In consultation with the local authority and its current A34 corridor study, a contribution would be made towards the proposed A34/Monkspath Hall Road junction improvement scheme.
A spokesperson for B&Q said: "Our existing store at Solihull Retail Park is exceptionally busy but cannot be extended to accommodate the needs of the Solihull catchment.
" This is an exciting opportunity to operate from a larger, purpose built two storey store which would enable us to stock our full range and offer more choices for our customers.
"We will be actively seeking to recruit additional staff from the surrounding area once construction of our building commences."
The developers will be briefing local ward members, residents and other interested groups as part of a consultation programme designed to inform them about the scheme and to address any concerns or issues they may have.
"This is a major investment in the local area, creating new jobs and broadening the appeal of Shirley as an attractive shopping destination," added the spokesman for Otium Solihull.
That report is nearly a year old, and the evidence of a massive TOO LET sign outside may mean that the plans have been scrapped. Whatever, it seems a criminal waste of a building reputed to have cost £5m to furnish inside and certainly a lot more attractive on the outside than the box approach of the Bristol store.
T.Ford - May 2006