Express & Star

Selling leisure centre will make Dudley £1.5m - council leader

The sale of the former Dudley Leisure Centre will make more than £1.5 million for the borough, according to a council leader.

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Speaking during a question and answer session at the final full council meeting before local elections on May 2, Councillor Patrick Harley hit back at claims the deal might be bad for the borough.

Labour’s Councillor Parmjit Sahota quoted William Shakespeare by saying 'all that glitters is not gold' in relation to the recently announced deal to sell the Wellington Road site.

Councillor Sahota said: “Concerns include: has the developer a track record of delivering quality developments? Financial status? We also note a new business acquiring the site has only just been set up in February 2024 to develop the site.

“I have tried to seek clarity on many key concerns from officers to ensure full diligence is taking place.

“We should be using our leverage as the site owner to ensure social housing has a good presence on this site.”

Councillor Harley insisted the deal is bringing much-needed funds into the authority quickly from a company looking to build homes in the borough.

Councillor Harley said: “Every box is being ticked by the council officers, they are making sure due diligence is happening and if this goes through it’s another £1.65 million for the council’s coffers.

“Setting up new companies to deal with one specific site is commonplace in the housebuilding industry.

“Whether this deal goes through eventually remains to be seen because we have to have proof of funding, if that proof of funding is there it goes through.

“There will eventually have to be a planning application and it’s at that phase where the council will try to have influence as to what goes on that site.”