Fears of more 'rats running across the road' as new Smethwick supermarket is approved

Residents fear an increase in rats running along a Smethwick street after plans for a new supermarket were given the go-ahead.

The former Pakistani Community Centre in Corbett Street, Smethwick. Photo: Google Maps
The former Pakistani Community Centre in Corbett Street, Smethwick. Photo: Google Maps

Sandwell Council planners granted approval for the scheme to convert the former mosque and Pakistani Community Centre on Corbett Street into a new store.

Developers TS Global said it would be a multi-ethnic food store selling items that are not available in any of the many shops in the surrounding area.

But the proposal sparked strong opposition from nearby residents who handed in a petition bearing 89 names on it, arguing it wasn’t needed in the area near many other stores and would exacerbate issues such as parking, vermin and noise.

Rhonda Neil, who lives in Corbett Street, told a committee meeting on Tuesday (May 11) that the new store would make their lives a misery.

She said: “Residents who can’t park on Edgbaston Road and Claremont Road use our road to park. Workers in and around Cape Hill use it.

“I know there is a car park proposed for this change of use but a car coming in and out could cause a blockage and backlog down the road which already happens every day.

“The answer to that seems to be sit in your car and keep your hand on your horn until the blockage is removed, that means you’re sat in your house and that’s all you can hear.

“The residents are not happy. The extra noise is a nuisance, the pollution means we can’t open our front windows because it’s constant traffic.

“And we’ve got the added problem with vermin. Already you can see rats running daily across the road.

“(The supermarket) backs on to the park and where the council have put a vanity fence up – which is all I can call it – that has created a rat run because nobody ever bothers to go and clean it up. Rubbish is dumped there.

“It’s going to cause more havoc for residents and I don’t understand it. Is business taking precedence over the local people which it seems to be? Our wants and needs have been ignored.

“If it was something that was needed there wouldn’t be objections. But another shop across the road from Asda and Home Bargains, why would we need another one which will cause misery for residents?”

Councillors said they sympathised with the residents but said the supermarket would have less activity then the previous use and operate at reduced times of 8am to 8pm.

The application, which was backed by planning officers, was approved.

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