Red House will be transformed into homes
The Red House in Great Barr will be transformed into new homes under plans unveiled today.
The historic mansion house in Red House Park has long been a target for thieves and vandals.
Originally built in 1841 for Walsall MP Robert Scott, it has been derelict for 10 years.
However, GR8 Space Ltd has unveiled plans to convert the building into eight two-bedroom apartments, while keeping the the home's historical features. The Worcester-based firm also wants to build a terrace of six three-bedroom houses at the site.
The Red House has been at the centre of a long-running dispute concerning its future after repeatedly being targeted by vandals.
Five years ago, it was estimated it would cost £1.7million to bring the building back into use for the community and developers have been eyeing it up for housing ever since.
Former Great Barr councillor Sadie Smith said: "We have had several attempts over the years to bring the building back into use, but it has been difficult for all sorts of reasons, including costs and not being taken seriously enough.
"We are now in a situation where residential is the only use being put forward for it. I'm concerned what impact this could have on the park access."
The new plan by GR8 Space has now been submitted to Sandwell Council for approval.
The document reads: "These alterations have been considered carefully and kept to a minimum to achieve satisfactory layouts.
"The main historical features, both internally and externally will be retained unaltered."
Areas to remain unchanged include the roof, main entrance, staircases and halls and landings.
The terraced houses would be close to the house, fronting on to Hill Lane, each with a small garden area.
"The general design of the building is traditional, taking the form of a stable-block," the report continues.
Sixteen car parking spaces for visitors to the park also form part of the proposal.
The Red House is owned by Sandwell Council and stands on a 27-acre estate.
It was previously a care home and the building was also leased by environmental charity The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
It has been empty since 2004. While derelict, it has repeatedly been vandalised and had lead stolen from its roof.
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