Walsall's old Curio Shop could get new life as residential property

A ‘quirky’ old antiques shop in Walsall which has cost the council around £12,000 a year to keep safe for more than a decade could finally be given a new lease of life - as a residential property.

The former Curio Shop, in Freer Street, Walsall
The former Curio Shop, in Freer Street, Walsall

Scaffolding has shrouded the former Curio Shop, in Freer Street in the town centre, for 12 years following the detection of structural problems with the Grade II Listed building.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that Walsall Council has spent £144.097.85 on scaffold hire and inspections since 2010.

The council has been marketing the sale of the freehold for a number of years, with the warning that substantial work would be needed to make it fit for use.

But an council spokesperson confirmed the property could finally be saved and restored for use.

It is currently under offer, subject to contract, for a residential conversion – which is dependent on planning and listed building consent.

Bosses said it was ‘sad’ to see the building – which was built in the early 1800s – standing empty for so long but hopeful it can finally be brought back to life.

The Curio Shop was established in 1969, starting on Freer Street before it had to move out of the premises and into a unit in George Street, opposite Asda.

It remained there for 10 years before closing in 2018. Before Covid, it operated a pitch on Walsall market and the business continues to buy and sell antiques as well as specialising in house clearances.

The Freer Street building was originally built for residential use and had workshops at the rear of the premises before being later used for retail.

As owners of the property, the onus to maintain it and ensure it is kept safe fell on the authority.

Councillor Mike Bird, leader of Walsall Council, said: “I know many people will remember the Curio Shop, in all its quirkiness, with great affection.

“It’s been sad to see this historic building unoccupied and not in use for many years.

“I very much hope that, through the endeavours of the purchaser, the building is brought back to use again and can continue its story as part of Walsall’s history.”

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