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Developers behind Great Barr Hall project say work will leave them out of pocket

Sandwell | News | Published:

Developers behind proposals to revamp an historic hall in a project to create a hotel and new homes claim they will be left out of pocket by the multi-million pound project.

It will cost the owners of listed Great Barr Hall around £20 million to rebuild the main hall and transform it into a hotel and conference centre, it has been claimed.

Owners consortium BCG Lakes have submitted a planning application to revamp the hall which has stood empty on the border of Walsall and Sandwell since 1978 and have revealed details of how much it will cost to transform the derelict building and parkland.

Proposals would see the site off Chapel Lane become a conference venue and 57 homes. The main hall would be transformed into a hotel, while homes would be built in the surrounding grounds of the site that borders the M6 southbound.

The cost of the hall will be mostly funded by the enabling works of the proposed new housing estate which is allowed under agreement with English Heritage.

A statement posted on a website states that it will cost an estimated £16.2m to redevelop the site. Bosses estimate that they would raise £13.2m from the sale of the homes but claim the figure includes the cost of them paying full cost for their own homes that will be built as part of the development.

They further stated: "Once we have developed the hall, land and lakes we will need to put in another £3m from our pocket to complete the restoration. This figure does not include the security costs of £5,000 per month being paid for the last 18 months, professional fees and surveys fees of £250,000 to date, and the purchase price of £1m plus stamp duty and legal fees. Once done we will have put in around £5m to cover the deficit."

In response Pheasey ward representative and deputy leader of Walsall Council Adrian Andrew said: "This shows the owners are more than willing to engage with residents unlike many others before them who would not. The other difference with these owners and this proposal they are the people who want to live here and eventually end up as residents themselves.

"It will be an interesting few months of debate."

But campaigners from Beacon Action Group have raised concerns over traffic congestion in Chapel Lane and is urging residents to play a part in the approval process. following concerns the planning application was submitted to Walsall Council on December 23.

A public meeting is being planned in a bid to give people the chance to find out more about the scheme.

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