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Action to be taken against run-down Brownhills shopping centre if redevelopment plans not submitted

Walsall | News | Published:

Enforcement action will be taken against owners of a run-down shopping centre in Brownhills if plans to redevelop the site are not submitted within six months, it has been proposed.

Ravenscourt Shopping Centre was at the centre of a failed multi-million pound supermarket revamp and now more than 500 people have signed a petition calling on Walsall Council to compulsory purchase the site with a view to 're-develop in keeping with Brownhills High Street'.

The complex off the main High Street was poised to be taken over by the neighbouring supermarket Tesco as part of its expansion plans.

But it later emerged that the overhaul of the store, creating up to 150 jobs, had been abandoned leaving the future of Ravenscourt in limbo.

Large number of traders left the precinct and the council raised concerns over the appearance the centre had been left in.

The petition, submitted by Brownhills councillor Stephen Craddock, was due to be discussed by the council's business, employment and local economy scrutiny and performance panel at a meeting tonight.

A report to the panel said the property had a 'poor appearance' and there are high vacancy rates within the shopping precinct which has contributed to a gradual decline in the use of the area.

Fly-tipping, graffiti and the poorly maintained weathered timber window and fascia boardings have all been highlighted as problems.

Planning officers have been in talks with the owners agents for several years regarding the appearance of the site and enforcement action was drawn up requiring the owners to clean it up or face court action.

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But the notice was not served as further talks were held over the potential redevelopment of the site.

Now, councillors are recommended to instruct officers to continue to work with the owners but to serve the planning enforcement notice if a planning application is not submitted within six months.

The report states that the council does not have sufficient financial resources to redevelop the centre and it was not possible for the authority to justify making a compulsory purchase order at the current time.

It added: "Should a private developer come forward in future with viable redevelopment plans then it may be possible to use compulsory purchase powers if the tests above are satisfied."

The council has also received complaints from the police and fire service regarding the security of the property.

The meeting, which is open to the public, was taking place at the Council House, in Lichfield Street, at 6pm.

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