The once-thriving Walsall pubs which called time for good and are set to be swept away

Communities across Walsall have been forced to endure the depressing sight of once-thriving boozers calling time for good for a number of years.

The former Prince of Wales pub in Walsall Road, Darlaston
The former Prince of Wales pub in Walsall Road, Darlaston

Factors such as high beer taxes, supermarkets selling cheaper alcohol and changing habits are among reasons cited why so many pubs are forced to close permanently.

For those buildings not brought back into use as pubs, bars or restaurants, developers have seized the opportunity to re-imagine them as housing schemes which will change the landscape of the streets they sit in.

Here are a few old pubs which are set to be converted into apartments or houses, having secured planning permission in the past several years.

Wheel Inn, Lindon Road, Brownhills

The former Wheel Inn in Lindon Road, Brownhills. Photo: Google

The Wheel Inn closed more than a decade ago and stands boarded up and creating an eye sore on Lindon Road in Brownhills.

But in 2021, owner Sukhjit Khera submitted plans to demolish the building and replace it with a new apartment block containing 14 one bedroom and three two bedroom flats.

The applicant said the development would provide a boost for the area, with the pub having been closed for over 10 years.

He added there were six other pubs in the area within a one mile radius for locals to go to.

The Bowman, Myatt Avenue, Aldridge

The Bowman pub, Myatt Avenue

The Bowman called last orders for the final time in 2019 and became a magnet for fly-tippers and anti-social behaviour.

SEP Properties put forward a plan to tear down the building and replace it with a 12 apartment block instead.

The application is still being considered by Walsall Council planners. SEP believes it is no longer viable to run it as a pub business and the area would benefit more from a residential development taking its place.

Prince of Wales, Walsall Road, Darlaston

The former Prince of Wales pub in Walsall Road, Darlaston

The 19th Century Prince of Wales pub was put on the market in 2019 after efforts to lease it to a new tenant had failed.

But the following year saw an application by Jacob Asset Management to convert it into flats given the go-ahead by Walsall Council planners.

Once completed, the building will feature two apartments on the ground floor and three above it.

Windmill, Aston Road, Willenhall

The former Windmill pub in Aston Road, Willenhall

Another pub which closed more than 10 years ago but which was finally demolished in 2013, leaving the site vacant ever since.

But a proposal to build a complex featuring 25 flats was put forward in 2020 and is awaiting permission to be built.

There have been previous applications for housing developments, including the building of a care home there, but these failed to come to fruition.

In the application, planning agents IDP said the proposed development would improve both the empty site and the wider area.

Warreners Arms, High Street, Brownhills

The abandoned Warreners Arms on the corner of High street and Ogley Road, Brownhills.

The Warreners was actually closed more than 20 years ago and became a McDonald’s restaurant after that.

When the fast food giant closed the branch in 2004, the building was left empty and fell into a state of disrepair and suffered from anti-social behaviour.

But it’s now looking at a fresh future with the building being demolished and work underway to build 45 one and two bedroom flats for affordable rent.

The proposal by Fitzpatrick Group and Walsall Housing Group was unanimously approved by planners last year.

Pear Tree Cottage Inn, Pear Tree Lane, Brownhills

The former Equator nightclub in Lichfield Street, Walsall

Yet another Brownhills pub – the Pear Tree Cottage Inn – fell by the wayside in 2006 when it closed as a business.

The building was demolished a few years later and was left vacant for some time until a new proposal was put forward in 2021.

Developer Craig MacDonald is looking to breathe new life into the area with the proposal, which will see two two-bedroom houses and three three-bedroom homes built.

Walsall town centre has also seen the loss of a number of pubs and bars during the past decade or so.

Chicago Rock Cafe, Lichfield Street, Walsall

The Imperial, in Darwall Street, Walsall, which closed in 2016. PIC: J Mason Associates

Earlier this year, Walsall Council’s planning committee backed plans to convert a Grade II listed building on Lichfield Street into new apartments.

Over the years, the property was home to a Chicago Rock Cafe and restaurants and last stood as Equator nightclub before that closed in 2018.

The building is in a poor condition and is rapidly deteriorating as a result of vandalism, water damage and rot setting in.

The proposal by developer K5unner Properties will see it converted into 28 new apartments.

The Imperial, Darwall Street, Walsall

The Imperial, Darwall Street, Walsall

This iconic 19th century venue last stood as a Wetherspoon pub – complete with huge model dinosaurs – until it closed in 2016.

Prior to that, the building was enjoyed as a picture house, theatre and a bingo hall amongst a number of different uses.

It has stood empty for more than five years and, last year, Lodge Housing Ltd put forward an application to turn it into 21 new apartments.

But The Cinema Theatre Association, Theatres Trust and regional branch of the Victorian Society have objected to the proposal and are urging the plans to be rejected.

Not all former pubs are being earmarked for housing with developers looking at business ventures to breathe new life into the buildings.

The Cambridge, Cambridge Street, Walsall

Kiddies Playhouse nursery now occupies the site of The Cambridge, Cambridge Street, Walsall. Photo: Google

The Cambridge pub ceased trading in 2019 and stood empty for around two years after it closure.

But it has since been converted into a 50-place day nursery after owner Simrat Kang managed to get the plans over the line.

Her proposal was initially rejected over concerns about potential traffic and noise problems but officers said these were addressed in a subsequent application.

Mrs Kang said the new facility is providing much needed services in the area, which lost Palfrey Day Nursery in 2019.

Frying Pan, Bilston Street, Darlaston

The Frying Pan pub in Bilston Street, Darlaston. Photo: Google

This pub closed during the Covid-19 lockdown and never reopened after bosses said it wasn’t viable and had been struggling even before the pandemic.

But a proposal by Jacob Asset Management to convert it into a business centre sparked strong objections.

An online petition called for the venue to be retained as a public house in the community and collected more than 500 signatures.

But planners said a lack of trade was the reason for its closure and leaving it sitting empty would only attract anti-social behaviour so approved the proposal last year.

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