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Plans for 20 apartments at old cafe near IKEA set to be refused

By Thomas Parkes | Darlaston | Property | Published:

Plans to demolish a former cafe to make way for 20 apartments near IKEA look set to be refused after it was revealed the local authority would have to contribute more than £230,000.

How the building looked after being turned from a sub station into a cafe

Council bosses are set to refuse the plans for the old Sub Station Cafe in Wednesbury, with a report by officers revealing Walsall Council would need to make a sizeable payment to ensure affordable housing was provided on the site.

According to the report, the applicant is unable to contribute any money to the project due to "viability issues".

And a contribution from Walsall Council would see it having to fork out £236,718.75 to ensure the “delivery of affordable housing”.

The building, opposite the bingo hall next to Ikea on Park Lane, was an electrical sub station before being transformed into the Sub Station restaurant and takeaway and then into Lloyd's Cafe.

It has been empty since 2017.

Google Street view shows the building in August last year

The report said: “In regard to affordable housing, usually 25 per cent of the units on site should be affordable.

“However housing providers avoid blocks of apartments due to the liability of shared communal areas and complications over maintenance.

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“Therefore to ensure the delivery of affordable housing in the locality a commuted sum of £236,718.75 would be sought.

“In this case seeking this contribution in full would make the scheme unviable.”

'Much-needed' housing

The developers said a new apartment block on Park Lane would provide “much-needed” housing for the area.

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They argued it would benefit the street-scheme, with a complimentary material palette being chosen from the screen.

And residents would have access to public transport, with access to Wednesbury and Dudley.

However the report said it would fail to provide proportionate affordable housing to meet the needs of the residents of the borough.

Planning officers have recommended councillors refuse the application, which will be decided at a meeting on Thursday.

Summing up, it found the apartment block would appear as an “incongruous” feature, with the building casting shadows over neighbouring properties.

It would also lead to an “unacceptable” demand on urban open space and affordable housing provision.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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