Campaigners to protest against Birmingham Wheels closure

Tory group to table amendment calling for community asset to be safeguarded.

Opposition is growing to Birmingham city council’s plans that are putting the Birmingham Wheels project on jeopardy.

Following a retrospective rent review, the project, based in Bordesley Green, now owes almost £800,000 in rent to the city council, who are in the process of suing the charity running heels, Birmingham Wheels Company, for the amount, despite the charity being owned by the council themselves, and have given notice that the site is to be handed over by 31st January.

The council claims that the forty-acre site is needed for development as an industrial park that wll create up to 3,000 jobs. However, critics claim Wheels is a valuable community asset that plays an important part on the lives of many local residents and is one of the country’s leading motorsports venues – a fact recognised in the Birmingham Development Plan, which refers to the importance of the venue and recommends its preservation.

Campaigners aiming to keep Wheels open will be protesting outside the Council House on Tuesday, when a full meeting of the council will be discussing the to approve the Bordesley Park Area Action Plan – which itself fully protects Birmingham Wheels – amidst claims that sporting clubs are already being evicted from the area covered by the Plan. The businesses and charities operating at Wheels are asking councillors not approve the plan until they receive confirmation from officers that the deadline of 31st January for the park to be cleared is removed.

Meanwhile, the opposition Conservative Group on the council are calling for the future of these tenants to be safeguarded. The group will be tabling an amendment to the Action Plan allowing tenants to stay at the current site until altrnative sites are found.

Tory group leader Cllr Robert Alden (Erdington) Leader of the Opposition Conservative Group said: “Whilst the regeneration of this area of the city is badly needed, we know that even once this plan is approved, it will be some time before they are ‘shovel ready’ to commence the regeneration work, particularly given the large amount of other regeneration work currently happening across the city, including the Commonwealth Games.

“This time should be given to allow every opportunity for the tenants of the Wheels site, who provide a valuable community asset, to secure a sustainable future at an alternative location. I hope that we will get cross party support for this sensible and responsible approach to protecting the good work that those at the Wheels site provide to local communities”.