Supermarket plan for vandal-hit former Walsall pub set to be rejected

Ambitious plans for supermarket giant Aldi to take over a vandal-hit former Walsall pub site look set to be rejected.

An artist impression of the proposed Aldi Store on Walsall Road, Pelsall. PIC: Stoas Architects
An artist impression of the proposed Aldi Store on Walsall Road, Pelsall. PIC: Stoas Architects

A plan has been put forward to transform the Old Bush Inn and Pelsall Villa Football Club ground off Walsall Road in Pelsall into a new store and a 69 residential care apartments block.

But while the apartments have gained support from officers, they are recommending planning committee members refuse to grant permission for the Aldi store when they meet on Monday.

In their application, joint applicants Aldi Stores Limited and John Roberts said the vandal and fire hit Old Bush Inn buildings would be demolished and replaced with the store – which would also take over part of the football pitch.

The apartments will be constructed on the rest of the former Pelsall Villa facility behind the proposed store.

If the store was to be built, it would be create around 16 full time and 30 part time new jobs and have more than 120 parking spaces.

Their application said: “The public house closed in October 2014 and has remained vacant since this date.

“Since the closure of the public house, the associated buildings/structures have suffered from acts of vandalism and fire damage.

“The most serious fire occurred in July 2016, which destroyed a substantial part of the building, including most of the roof.

“The football ground was rendered incapable of use following vandalism and a serious fire in 2017. Pelsall Villa subsequently left the ground in July 2017. The football pitch has remained disused since this date.”

It added: “The proposed development, together with a corresponding planning application for a residential care home on land directly to the east of the site, would result in the loss of the existing football pitch.

“However it would be appropriate to provide a proportionate financial

contribution towards a new off-site sports facility in the local area.

“The design of the new store will result in a significant aesthetic improvement to the site, which is currently occupied by a variety of poor quality buildings/structures that detract from the street scene.

“The proposal will deliver a high quality regeneration scheme, designed to respond positively to the site constraints and complement the surrounding context.

“The development will provide a well-designed building with a presence on Walsall Road within an attractive, structured landscape setting.”

During consultation, the proposal produced a mixed response from residents with 31 supporting the plans and 44 people objecting with two neutral.

A report to committee said comments in favour included: “Simple choice do something with the site or leave a building in the disgusting state – approve the application NOW!!!!!.”

Another said: “Pelsall has seen significant growth in housing developments in the last 30 or so years and this store would be a much needed facility to serve the local population.”

Others hailed the creation of new jobs and the removal of the eyesore from the street.

But opponents raised a number of issues including: “It would detract from the village atmosphere and would destroy the facilities already existing.”

Another said: “The volume of traffic will increase. No matter what improvements are made to the shopping area, it will still bring lots of traffic to the village, near to the point where numerous road traffic accidents have already occurred. The proposed site is not a safe area for us to encourage the huge volume of traffic that it will bring.”

Other concerns about the loss of the pub and the football field as community assets were also raised.

Planning officers said Aldi had failed to demonstrate why this site, in a semi-rural village, was more suitable than more acceptable sites in nearby Aldridge and Brownhills and therefore could not be supported.

The apartments plan for the rest of the former Pelsall Villa football pitch also drew a mixed response from residents.

Those against it lamented the loss of the football pitch facility while other concerns around an increase in traffic, lack of parking and poor access were also raised.

But those in support said the new housing was to be welcomed and the development would be a “great addition” to Pelsall.

Planning officers are recommending the plans be approved subject to conditions.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News