Express & Star

Inspector blocks move to convert eyesore Wednesbury pub into community centre

A move to convert an empty pub into a community centre has been blocked by government planning inspectors.

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The outside of the former Forge Tavern pub in Franchise Street, Wednesbury

An attempt to convert the former Forge Tavern pub in Franchise Street, Wednesbury, into a community centre was turned down by Sandwell Council last year over concerns about the lack of car parking spaces.

An appeal was then launched in a bid to get the decision overturned but the government’s planning inspectors sided with the council.

Planning inspector Kelly Ford said she shared Sandwell Council’s concerns over the lack of parking – saying 15 spaces was nowhere near enough and threw out the appeal.

“It has not been demonstrated that the proposed spaces would be sufficient given the capacity of the rooms is identified as 124 people,” the inspector said in a report outlining the decision. “Even if the site is unlikely to operate at full capacity, as suggested by the appellant, there would still likely be a conflict for space given that the identified peak times of usage in the evenings and at weekends are when the surrounding residents are likely to be at home.”