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Threat hanging over club

Dudley | News | Published:

The futures of legendary music club JB's and a bingo hall in Dudley have been thrown into doubt by multi-million plans to revamp the town. The futures of legendary music club JB's and a bingo hall in Dudley have been thrown into doubt by multi-million plans to revamp the town. Key figures behind the ambitious scheme say each site in Castle Hill is likely to form part of the long-term masterplan, but have dismissed rumours that owners would be forced to sell-up in the near future. The owner of JB's, Sam Jukes, today said he had been fielding concerned calls about the club's future from as far afield as the United States. Plans include ploughing £100 million into redeveloping Dudley Zoo and Castle, with to create a modern "gateway" to the town. But although there are no immediate plans to issue compulsory purchase orders on JB's or Gala, regeneration bosses believe neither of the buildings are in keeping with the new image. Dudley Zoo chief executive Peter Suddock said JB's and Gala bingo had been excluded from short term plans for the zoo's redevelopment, but the long term picture was less clear. "If you are going to have a modern image, then something will need to be done to these buildings because they are not part of the gateway," he said. Read the full story in the Express & Star.

The futures of legendary music club JB's and a bingo hall in Dudley have been thrown into doubt by multi-million plans to revamp the town.

Key figures behind the ambitious scheme say each site in Castle Hill is likely to form part of the long-term masterplan, but have dismissed rumours that owners would be forced to sell-up in the near future.

The owner of JB's, Sam Jukes, today said he had been fielding concerned calls about the club's future from as far afield as the United States.

Plans include ploughing £100 million into redeveloping Dudley Zoo and Castle, with to create a modern "gateway" to the town.

But although there are no immediate plans to issue compulsory purchase orders on JB's or Gala, regeneration bosses believe neither of the buildings are in keeping with the new image.

Dudley Zoo chief executive Peter Suddock said JB's and Gala bingo had been excluded from short term plans for the zoo's redevelopment, but the long term picture was less clear.

"If you are going to have a modern image, then something will need to be done to these buildings because they are not part of the gateway," he said.

"As things stand, I think it is widely acknowledged that they are not suitable buildings in terms of the changes that are planned for Dudley.

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"Negotiations will have to take place to work out how we deal with that, particularly with regards to Gala bingo as it is such a prominent building in the town."

He added that both JB's and Gala customers used the zoo car park under a legally-protected agreement.

JB's owner Sam Jukes said he first heard a rumour he could be forced to sell up a fortnight ago.

"It's amazing how many people have called in to ask about it," he said.

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"Someone even rang from America to ask if it was true. There's absolutely no truth in it at all – well nobody's told me."

JB's is billed as England's longest-running live music venue.

Dudley Council spokesman Phil Parker said: "There are no compulsory purchase orders in place to acquire these buildings.

"In the longer term the land which these premises are on could become part of the plans for the redevelopment of the Castle Hill site."

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