Sandwell College tower block facing demolition

A landmark college tower block on is set to be bulldozed to make way for a major new facelift of a towncentre, under new plans.

An application to demolish the former Sandwell College on West Bromwich High Street has been submitted to make way for the first phase of work on the site.

Plans for a huge modern development including apartments, shops and a hotel have been drawn up by the Government's Homes and Communities Agency.

The agency is now asking Sandwell Council for permission to demolish the nine-storey tower block, stating refurbishment of the building is not viable as it is subject to 'significant structural issues' and has reached the end of its economic life.

Development plans for the site were revealed to the public in January. The proposals would see the tower block replaced with a lower, six-storey modern building, with the ground floor housing retail units, and the upper floors having apartments, a hotel or even offices.

The new block will be lower than the neighbouring West Bromwich Building Society building, and it will be broken up by glass panels on the front. There will be a 64-space car park which will be accessed via Dartmouth Street, but there is also potential for it to be accessed off High Street.

The work will follow a major multi-million-pound upgrade of the High Street that is already taking place as part of the Public Realm project. Paving work started in February in Duchess Parade, part of the pedestrian stretch of High Street.

New seating, plants and bins will also be introduced to create a more attractive town centre.

Last year the iconic red Sandwell Centre canopy and kiosk were demolished along with the Farley Centre canopy to create a more open shopping environment.

Once the Duchess Parade end of the pedestrian High Street is completed, similar improvements will be carried out to the Princess Parade end. Improvements include refurbished market stalls and an area for performances and events.

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