Express & Star

HMO plan for historic Walsall town centre offices that have stood empty for eight years

An historic former newspaper office in a town centre could be converted into an 18-bed HMO if plans are given the green light.

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A former newspaper office in Walsall town centre could be converted into an 18-bed HMO. Photo: Google Street Map

Developer BAC Property Investments Limited wants to redevelop the Grade II Listed Bradford House on Bradford Street, Walsall, which has been empty for more than seven years.

As well as creating the 18 bedrooms, work would also be carried out to demolish a rear extension and replace it with a new three-storey one.

The property was built in around 1830 and has been used for a number of commercial ventures, including once housing the now-defunct Walsall Advertiser weekly newspaper.

Its last occupant was Midland Business Management College which closed in 2015 leaving the property unoccupied ever since.

It sits in the Bradford Street Conservation Area and is one of several buildings in the same row which carry the listed status.

Plans to create a 16-bed HMO were previously put forward for the building earlier this year but the proposal was withdrawn.

Agents PUUC Architecture Limited said: “The developers are set to undertake substantial work on the property including an extension, exterior and interior renovation, and fitting out with the aim of offering individual rooms for rent to prospective tenants.

“These endeavours require significant costs but are necessary to comply with HMO licensing regulations and to ensure that the property meets high standards of desirability as a living space for tenants.

“The HMO will be finished to a very high standard and will provide much needed, affordable and quality residential accommodation.

“Given the nature of the accommodation, it appeals to occupants with limited disposable income who are not likely to own vehicles.

“Therefore, the demand for on or off-street parking is likely to be greatly reduced and there will be no significant increase in noise, traffic, or general activity associated with the use of the property.

“A detailed Heritage Statement also also details the restoration process to save this important building from further deterioration and restoring it to provide residential accommodation and a visually acceptable Grade II Listed Building once again.

“Buildings in disuse immediately damage the character and quality of an area.

“Returning the application site to permanent use, and specifically a use where no unreasonable noise levels, trade waste or anti-social behaviour is likely to cause concerns for neighbouring residents and businesses, is expected to be an overwhelmingly positive development for the local region.”