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Wolverhampton pub owners face action over fly-tipping

By Jessica Labhart | Bushbury | Property | Published:

The owners of an empty pub branded an ‘eyesore’ are to face legal action from the city council unless something is done to improve the site.

Harmail Singh Sandhu

The Woodbine pub, based on Wood Lane, Bushbury, was closed in 2013 after attempts to regenerate the site were unsuccessful. Since then it has become a well-known spot for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, according to residents and councillors.

The latest in the saga saw owners install a huge fence to mask the fly-tipping. But the fence is against council planning regulations and the owners have now been ordered to remove it.

Over the last 16 months Bushbury North ward councillors have been lobbying Wolverhampton council to pursue the owners of the pub to remove all fly-tipping from the site and secure it properly.

The former Woodbine pub

The council invoked a community protection notice, CPN, on the land in April 2016 which called for all fly-tipping to be removed and the site to be secured.

Labour councillor for Bushbury North, Daniel Warren said: “The council has threatened legal action on a number of occasions as the CPN action has never been followed. However, earlier this year the owners installed a fence and gave the council assurances that all fly-tipping would be removed. As the fence was a condition of the CPN and hid the fly-tipping from public view the council would again struggle to prosecute the owners. The fence they installed breached planning permission as it was over six feet tall which was again very frustrating for both myself and residents.

“The owners have complied with the enforcement action from the planning department and have now removed the fence panels and installed a new steel fence which is much better on the eye for residents. The only problem with this fence is it shows that the fly-tipping has never been removed.

“I have been receiving regular updates from environmental health and enforcement and as the fly-ipping is in public view this is now a failure to comply with the CPN and has resulted in the owners being sent a final warning letter to act. The final warning gave seven days to remove all fly-tipping from site and that warning deadline has run out.”

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The council will now take formal legal action for breach of the CPN against the owners. Councillor Warren said: “I also understand there is a large amount of over-hanging bushes and trees on Wood Lane from the wooded area of the land. This is causing an obstruction to the footpath and the traffic lights. I have asked the council to look into this.”

“In the meantime, building work continues to take place, It has been confirmed to me that the owner wishes to convert the pub into shops units with a flat upstairs.

“The owner doesn’t require planning permission to change the pub into retail units or accommodation upstairs as long as the building work complies with building regulations. The only permission required would be if the owner wanted to install shutters onto the building.”

A spokesman for Sonatex Ltd which owns the land said: “We are trying to work with the council. We have complied with everything. We have emailed the officer concerned and made numerous phone calls to them. We spoke to Councillor Warren recently who gave us a timescale to carry out these latest works and these are now in progress. We do not think the council is treating us very fairly. We want to work with them to develop this site.”

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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