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Hoarding plans revived near M6

Sandwell | News | Published:

Plans for a huge advertising hoarding next to the M6 have been revived again, it has emerged, to the dismay of opponents.

Developer St Francis Group and Opus Land wants to build what it has dubbed the Sandwell Gateway on land off Wood Green Road in Wednesbury, by junction nine of the motorway.

This is the third application for a hoarding in that vicinity received by Sandwell Council since 2008.

It differs from the others in that it is smaller - the woven canvas panels on the hoarding will be 65ft tall, with the bottom of the panels sitting 55ft off ground level, so it will be around 120ft high.

Chiefs behind the scheme say advertising revenue from the proposed hoarding would help fund the creation of a third industrial unit at the so-called Opus Blueprint development they own nearby, if it was approved.

In turn, bosses say that will support the creation of jobs in the area when a tenant takes on that unit. The other two units on the 30-acre development are occupied by BTC Active Wear and Storagebase - the building described as similar to a Rubik's cube when it was completed last year.

They also say 'the landmark structure will become a recognised feature of the region and provide a landmark for Sandwell as a whole'.

Pank Patel, headteacher of Wood Green Academy, has however raised concerns the development would leave his school's pupils in the dark.

He added: "We're not happy about this at all. We do think this is inappropriate. We are looking into what we can do to oppose this.

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"I would like to meet with the developers to discuss it further. We've seen some impressions of what it might look like and it would tower above the school and leave pupils in its shadow.

"I think we've got to look after the interests of pupils before considering advertisers. This will be visible from some classrooms certainly."

Documents submitted with plans say leaflets have been sent out to the 334 nearest households to the new proposed site for the hoarding inviting comments and feedback on the new scheme. They say a public exhibition was held at the Wesley Centre last November and a meeting was held at Wood Green Academy in January too.

They also stress a similar hoarding is near to The Banks's Stadium, Walsall, also visible from the M6.

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