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Residents team up to fight plans for 22 new industrial units on former steel site near their homes

Worried residents in Aldridge are teaming up to fight plans to build 22 new industrial units near their homes.

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The Former West Midlands Bright Bar in Middlemore Lane, Aldridge. Photo: Google

Charlton Haynes Ltd wants to demolish existing buildings on the former West Midlands Bright Bar steel manufacturer site in Middlemore Lane and erect a total of 22 new units in their place.

But people living on the adjacent Leighswood Road, many of whom have gardens backing on to the site, have raised concerns and are submitting objections to Walsall Council planners.

Their worries include noise being generated day and night, the size and height of the proposed units, the fact units will be a lot closer to their homes than the previous factory and that it would represent over-development.

They also said a long-established tree barrier which protected the houses was removed by the applicant in 2021.

Residents said it took an intervention from then ward councillor John Murray for a single row of 2m conifers to be replanted on the border, which will take years to fully screen them again.

They are calling on planners to impose restrictions on operating hours of 8am to 6pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays only. They also want a limit on the types of industrial businesses that can operate there, all new units to be single-storey and on the curtilage of the previous factory and a fully mature tree border to be reinstated.

They said this would bring it in line with the nearby Beacon Trading Estate which operates under similar restrictions.

A spokesperson for the residents said: “The application proposes 22 industrial units with unrestricted use and unrestricted operating hours.

“Whilst the application suggests ‘anticipated’ operating times, as it stands there would be nothing to stop multiple industrial units operating 24/7.

“In addition, the B2 designation of the units means industrial process of all kinds would be permitted in the units.

“There would therefore, in a worst-case scenario, be 22 operational industrial premises on the land when previously there was one, each generating noise disturbance day and night.

“In such a nightmare scenario, the onus would be placed on residents to compile evidence of statutory nuisance and the local authority would need to commit significant resources to enforce the nuisance.”

They added the applicant had stated a prior intention for residential use on part of the land and this was something they would be happy to see on the site.

Charlton Haynes Ltd has been approached for comment on the residents’ objections.

In its application, the developer said the buildings had been empty since the previous occupier’s business went into administration.

They added the proposals would see the vacant site brought back into use and see the creation of new jobs through multiple tenants taking up the units.

Walsall Council planning officers are expected to make a decision on the application in March.