Dudley shops to be flattened as flats are approved
Residents fear the development will attract anti-social behaviour.
A £2 million project to demolish an empty row of ‘eyesore’ shops and replace them with housing has been approved by planning bosses.
The three-storey building will make way for 16 flats on Beech Road in Kingswinford.
Residents have objected to the project over fears it will attract anti-social behaviour, which is an existing problem, they say.
But a ward councillor has welcomed the move, although he urged planners to ‘get on with’ the task as the shops have stood empty for years.
Kingswinford South ward councillor Patrick Harley said: “Some of the shops have been empty for the best part of 25 years.
“As a resident that has lived around the corner for many years and as a ward councillor, it is about time and I feel this is long overdue.
“The shops have been empty for so long. I would urge the council to get on with it, we don’t want anymore delays. It is pleasing to see the development as new homes are always needed. I very much welcome this.”
Three objections were handed in to Dudley Council’s planning committee, which also addressed concerns about parking and the height of the new development. The flats will be three-storeys and include 12 two-bedroom flats and four one-bedroom flats.
The current site has five empty shops on the ground floor, with vacant rooms on the first and second floor.
One resident who objected to the plans said: “The height and length of the building replaces the existing building which has dominated the area. It is very close to the footpath and road for such a height.
“It has been the meeting place of groups of younger people especially in the summer. It regularly (has) been the site of of trouble with stone throwing and damage both to the building and locally.
“The police have been involved, both with noise, damage and drug dealing and distribution.
“Many cars are parked across the frontage in the evenings and cars and motorcycles come and go all the time.
“The site is on a junction with Beech Road and Poplar Road and the parking spreads along both roads causing access problems.”
Another resident said: “As you know we have quite a few flats already on this estate. We have had problems with residence (sic) in the past so we don’t need anymore.”
Another resident said: “We’ve suffered a lot of trouble from young people making this area a meeting place for playing football and drugs.”
The planning application was submitted by the council and approved by its planning committee on Wednesday.
Councillor Les Jones, cabinet member for housing at Dudley Council, added: “This project forms part of our ongoing commitment to provide high quality, social housing for borough residents.”