Fears over Oldbury's £30m new shopping and leisure centre

Fears are growing over the future of a proposed £30 million shopping and leisure development planned for Oldbury following rumours bosses behind the scheme have put the site on the market.

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Proposals for The Junction have been in the pipeline for more than 10 years and planning permission has been granted.

However, due to the economic climate, the scheme has stalled and work has not yet started.

Developers behind the scheme – The Junction Limited Partnership – had a deadline of this month to bring it together, but earlier this year requested another 12 months, until October 2013, to give them more time.

Sandwell Council agreed this subject to the resubmission of a new planning application.

However, Sandwell’s deputy council leader, Councillor Mahboob Hussain, said no planning application has yet been submitted and it is his understanding the site has been put on the market.

He said: “My understanding is that it has been on the market for the last two to three months.

“They haven’t gone gone through with the new planning application so that extension will be finished.

“I have to say it might look bad news, but I think it is better it has happened now so we know somebody else can come in now and talk to the local authority.

“We were quite sick and tired of this process going on and on and raising peoples hopes.

“Something is going to happen, somebody is going to buy it and make it happen, we are confident.

“It has been dragging on, the local people have been getting fed up.”

The long awaited site was due to transform the town with new shops and restaurants and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

Permission was initially granted for the shopping centre, to be located on Oldbury Ringway, in November 2004. In May 2007 and July 2009 and last year Sandwell Council granted approval to amendments.

The revised scheme includes a three storey office building, a multi-use games area, a seven-pitch soccer facility and pavilion, a retail park and restaurants.

Aspects of the 38-acre development including an ice rink and DIY store have been dropped from the scheme.

The Junction Limited Partnership was unavailable for comment.