Land pinpointed for a possible probation hostel will be put on the market with a request that it be used for residential use, council chiefs said today.
Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust has said it is looking at the former Moxley Infants School in Moxley as the site for a potential hostel for up to 40 offenders.
The idea has sparked controversy in the local community amid fears that the hostel would be in the wrong place and that it could scupper future regeneration plans for the area.
But Walsall regeneration chief Councillor Adrian And-rew said the land in Moxley Road would be put on the market with a development brief that it should be used for housing.
He said: "We have listened to local people," he said. Development briefs outline the vision for an area and give guidance to would-be developers. Full planning permission on any scheme would still be required.
Campaigners have welcomed the news but have still vowed to "fight to the end" against the proposal.
Councillor Paul Bott, a member of a protest group set up to fight the hostel scheme, said: "The group will continue until we are sure there will be no hostel in Moxley.
The development brief is a good sign although it is feared that a probation hostel could still come under a residential scheme."
If the idea did get the go-ahead, it would mean the closure of some other smaller hostels.
This is likely to include the Stonnall Road Bail Hostel in Aldridge, which has been the subject of a long-running campaign by residents for its closure.