Express & Star

Famous former Cook's department store can be turned into flats, says planning chief

Plans to turn part of an historic former department store into flats have been given the go-ahead.

The former Cook's department store is now occupied by a convenience store and chicken restaurant

Proposals for the site of the former Cook's department store in Dudley High Street have been approved by council planners.

A developer wants to demolish a rear wing on the premises, and replace it with a new building.

The ground floor frontage of the building will be retained for retail use, but the rear of the building and first floor will be converted into apartments.

Cook's department store was opened by Samuel Cook in 1819, but finally closed its doors in April, 1988.

In more recent years, the upper floors and rear of the building have been occupied by a nightclub and pool hall, with the two smaller retailer units retained on the frontage. At the moment they are used by a chicken restaurant and a convenience store.

Head of planning Carl Mellor gave the go-ahead for the scheme, on condition that work began within three years.

Planning officer Thomas Morris said the scheme would see the creation of four ground-floor flats at the rear of the building, fronting King Street, and eight more across the first floor. There would also be a landscaped podium courtyard at first-floor level, he added.

Mr Morris said the High Street frontage of the building would be renovated, with an entrance providing access to the flats.

The plans make no provision for car parking, and Mr Morris said the scheme had 'some shortcomings' with regard to windows, noise and privacy.