No imminent return for market

Stalls may not return to Brownhills Market until the start of next year, it emerged today.

No imminent return for market

Stalls may not return to Brownhills Market until the start of next year, it emerged today.

Bosses at Walsall Council have admitted there are no imminent moves to revive the site, which has been standing empty since March.

Inviting external operators has been ruled out as the council instead waits on Tesco proposals to expand its nearby store in Silver Street. A new market square could be created as part of the plans but the supermarket bosses say work is unlikely to get under way until 2011.

Simon Tranter, head of regeneration development and delivery, said: "Walsall Council is committed to the long term future of a market in Brownhills, which is why it stepped in when the previous operator announced it was no longer going to continue.

"There are difficulties in sustaining the market at its current location but the council is continuing to explore a variety of options to secure its longer term future.

"We have been working with Tesco to explore the possibility of it being sited within a planned future joint development and these discussions are continuing.

"If such a development was approved, it would require temporary use of the current site occupied by the market for the construction of any new development and, in view of this, there are no immediate plans to contract out any element of the market."

Tesco has confirmed an application is in the process of being finalised but is not expected to go to the planning committee until the summer. If approved, all legal obligations will need to be agreed ahead of any work starting.

Tesco spokesman Tony Fletcher said: "From our point of view we were asked to look at potential re-siting as part of our proposal. The earliest we could start on the site would be sometime next year."

The market shut last July after previous operators failed to negotiate a new lease in the wake of rogue traders setting up at the site.

The Tuesday market was axed at the start of this year.

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