Plans to convert an historic Black Country mansion into homes have been resurrected, the Express & Star can reveal today.
Sandwell Council wants to turn Grade II-listed Red House in Great Barr into 11 apartments.
There are also plans to build seven detached houses or six bungalows on land nearby. Last year the authority put previous plans to turn the building into apartments on hold but it is now going ahead. A letter from the council that has just been sent to residents in the area.
The letter said the building is suitable for conversion into 11 luxury apartments but said this was not a financially viable option for a developer given the condition of the building.
It added: "It is therefore recommended that the disposal be packaged together with the currently vacant site off Hill Lane to make a more attractive proposition for a prospective developer."
Residents have been concerned about the future of Red House for years after repeated attacks by vandals. The Friends of Red House Park had called for the building to be turned into a community centre and collected a petition with 2,964 signature backing the proposal. But no developer came forward with a suitable scheme.
Sandwell Council planning bosses have already submitted plans to demolish buildings attached to the empty mansion, which is located in Red House Park. Workers will demolish the squash courts and public toilets on the north side of the site as well as the former Jumping Jacks nursery.
But Friends of Red House Park chairman Bill Gunn, of Waddington Avenue, said this is not enough. "In 2002 we formed this group to fight to save the Red House for the community. But in nine years no-one has come along to take it on. I'll be very sad to see it become apartments."