Under developed?

The continuing saga of Anon, and Brownhills Development in general, part 94. Anyone who’s bored by this Brownhillian Iliad, please look away now. I’ve got a post to go up about the Warreners tomorrow. Hopefully.

Lets hope Tesco's maths improves before they cost the new development
Lets hope Tesco's maths improves before they cost the new development

Today, Anon, commentor on the post Brownhills Tesco development – wheel fallen off? and subject of my post of last week, ‘Everyone act normal – they’re watching!’ sought to redress my criticism by contributing a lengthy, welcome comment on the latter post. I’ll reproduce and discuss it here as I think that in the interests of fairness, it deserves at least as wide an exposure as my criticism. I realise this topic is in danger of eating itself, but I think it’s crucial to debate this important issue fully.

Anon

Submitted on 2009/08/18 at 12:34pm

Ok Bob, you have me sussed.

[Edited by BrownhillsBob on 24th August 2009 to remove identifying information at the request of Anon]

Simply, I too would like to see something happen in Brownhills.

[Edited by BrownhillsBob on 24th August 2009 to remove identifying information at the request of Anon]

Its also to respond to some of the misunderstanding and cynicism that exists, to set the record straight so to speak.

I’m sorry if you didn’t receive a leaflet.

[Edited by BrownhillsBob on 24th August 2009 to remove identifying information at the request of Anon]

A new round of consultation may be held when an application is eventually submitted, but the scheme is still under review and waiting for the relevant person(s) at Tesco to push the “Go” button.

My issue with one way systems is that they encrouage drivers to speed between junctions and not look out for pedestrians. Tesco and the other shops nearby would become an island site, seperated from the rest of the town. I think it would make Brownhills even more soul-less than it alreay is, but as I said, these are my personal opinions.

When Staffs objected to the bypass (itself another dumb idea) it killed off the other two previous Brownhills transport schemes – pedestrianising the High Street and the Clay Hanger link road (yet another dumb idea) as they both depended on it.

The new scheme (town centre one way system or Silver Street two way) will be funded by the Red Route programme, so if you’re looking for a new rant topic, try that !

Finally, with regard to Ravens Court – why waste a couple of million squid buying something that’s worth about 50p ? I agree with you though, if the owners won’t play ball the Council should simply CPO it ! As you said , it requires a plan of what it should be replaced by and some money to build it.

Hope that sets the record straight.

Taking the comment point by point, I’d note that as previously stated, readers views are always, always welcome here. If you don’t want to comment openly, a mail to brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com is just as welcome. Posts in opposition to my point of view are welcome too, and I positively encourage healthy debate; that’s why I’m doing this. I don’t think there has been debate or transparency in local affairs for a long time.

To be absolutely fair, I don’t think Anon is patronising – just the ‘be patient’ comments. The tone seemed a bit parochial. We’ve been patient for an awful long time and things just get worse. It’s refreshing and reassuring to know that you care about the town, but living within it makes one very cynical; there may well be jam tomorrow but we’re in the middle of an economic slump with a council that’s selling out everything it can to raise cash. That doesn’t bode well for big projects out here on the fringe of the borough, especially from a Tory controlled council whose political motivators are preaching a creed of austerity ahead. On a coming tide of penny-pinching parsimonious populism, how likely do you think expensive red-route projects are going to be? Haven’t the Tories already done a supposedly prohibited u-turn on a Wolverhampton red route already?

The exhibition was advertised briefly in the local freesheets, on the week it was held. Many people just bin those papers. I really think that such significant projects should get a much wider exposure, don’t you? Three days isn’t enough to meet a community fully. You wouldn’t believe the rumours that are circulating about the development and what it entails. That’s so wrong one might think it were intentional. The lack of leaflets just compounds the information famine.

I’m a bit concerned about the phrase ‘consultation may be held’ – we’ve already been primed in the local press to expect the development to be scaled back due to the downturn. This project will hugely change the centre of our town – residents deserve to be fully involved. It’s interesting to note the tone of uncertainty in the phrasing there. It does seem like back-pedalling by Tesco.

The traffic plan, I’d have to see what shakes out to judge it fully. Pedestrianisation would be the choice of many, but that’s clearly off the table. I’ve always favoured John Bird’s proposal of market stalls in a pedestrianised High Street, but it’s a pipe-dream. One way systems can work well if there’s some thought in their design. I wouldn’t rule it out. Whatever happens, Tesco will be an island; many visit the existing one and never go anywhere else in the town, so by nature these stores are islands. I understand what you’re saying but you can’t make a one-stop shop part of he community if its raison d’être is to fulfil all needs in one easy visit.

The red route is the current buzz in Walsall transportation planning. I expect it will be strangled at birth as I stated above.

Ravens Court may only be worth 50p, but the land it stands upon could be worth considerably more if the owners hedge their bets. We’ve been here before, we all know how it works. It’s worth what a developer will be prepared to pay when the time comes, and I doubt the price will be very low.

I’m concerned that so much of the future of our town appears to depend upon the commercial whim of a huge retail enterprise.

[Edited by BrownhillsBob on 24th August 2009 to remove identifying information at the request of Anon]

Like many people, I find that really scary, and the information vacuum makes that feeling worse. It seems odd that Tesco don’t seem to care about that.

[Edited by BrownhillsBob on 24th August 2009 to remove identifying information at the request of Anon]


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5 Comments

  • As Bob points out, Tesco already IS an island. I use tesco frequently, even though I’m slightly uncomfortable with the stranglehold Tesco have on Brownhills (and everywhere else :-/), but only use other shops in brownhills infrequently- mainly because I hate shopping of any kind and tend to do it in the evening when things are quiet, and Tesco is convenient, and usually has what I need. I’d bet that 90% of Tesco customers in Brownhills rarely use any other shops in the town.

    As to the Red Routes, yes, it’s the fashion of the moment, but Walsall MBC won’t stop until they’ve successfully killed off all the small shops that people want to park outside of.

    Have to agree with Bob’s comments on one-way systems- there is no need for the problems Anon mentions, IF they are done well.

     
    Reply
  • Bob, I noted with interest that the other night the E+S was reporting on plans to make Silver St two-way (which strikes me as a bad idea). Can’t find it online though: If I can Ill find it and get a scan up on the web.

     
    Reply
  • Hi Stymaster

    I have the clipping here – most Walsall stories don’t make it onto the E&S webshite because they hate us, obviously…

    I’m going to comment soon – I’m just wanting to see the plans first. It sounds like a classic ‘we’ve done something, now shut the hell up and pay the council tax’ measure – minimal work, pointless in practice, but makes WMBC look busy and proactive.

    They didn’t mention Tesco at all, either. The plot sickens…

    Best wishes

    Bob

     
    Reply
  • Mark

    Thought about doing it but reckoned you’ll do it better!

     
    Reply
  1. Everyone act normal – they’re watching! « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  August 19, 2009

    […] [Edited at the request of Anon on the 18th August 2009: here I correctly identified Anon's employer by tracing his IP address – I've removed the information to protect his privacy – find out more in the post 'Under developed?'] […]

     

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