You can’t polish a turd

Dedicated workmen affix new plastic fascias to a near-derelict shopping precinct, 3:13pm, Sunday, 21st February 2010

I’m not really sure what the hell is going on here. I noticed on Saturday that there was scaffolding erected around one corner of Ravens Court, the very nearly empty shopping precinct in the centre of Brownhills. This is a square where there are few units still occupied, with crumbling paving, graffiti covered, permanently shuttered shops overlooked by abandoned, boarded-up flats. I tend to think that it is symbolic of the state of our town; once bustling and the focus of a community, the precinct now mainly plays host to bored, spaced gangs of teens, a publicised cottage (google it yourselves) and piles of urban detritus that are probably best not probed too closely.

It seems like the owners – not the council, by the way, who have nothing to do with this deteriorating edifice – have belatedly decided that it needs tarting up, and seem to be covering the decaying fascias with shiny new ones. Whilst I welcome any movement to tidy up and enhance the area, I do wonder if a wrecking crew wouldn’t be more suited. If they really want to bring Ravens Court up to modern standards, it’ll take more than a bit of hastily nailed, shiny white plastic.

I have been idly wondering if Ravens Court was the prospective ‘market square’ that Councillor Adrian Andrew was suggesting that benevolent old uncle Tesco might like to provide in their Brigadoon-like masterplan for Brownhills. It would accommodate  a handful of stalls at a pinch, and would certainly take more money to renovate than Walsall Council would be prepared to provide. Since the suggestion was clearly drawn up on the back of an envelope to sweeten bad news, I doubt if we’ll ever know for sure. This consultation document (.PDF file, Adobe reader required), published by Walsall Council way back in 2008, had other plans for Reavens Court, which are now clearly in the toilet, which is unfortunate considering its’ reputation.

‘Ravenscourt is in poor condition with many vacant retail units. The shops units are not well suited to modern retail formats and the scheme backs onto the canal creating a poor environment on Silver Street. There are no clear pedestrian links to the canal with only poor quality steps from Ravenscourt to the superstore car park.

There is a great potential to create a new high quality pedestrian shopping street through Ravenscourt creating a major link between High Street and the canal basin on Silver Street. A new scheme could include a mix of modern shop units, bars, restaurant and cafes. Contemporary apartments above shops will be great places to live creating much needed activity in the town both in the day and at night. A large public space could extend between the new buildings down the slope to the canal basin, a space that could be used for weekly markets and special events and festivals.’

If the owners of the precinct are reading this, and do have a plan, this would be a great opportunity to share it.

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6 Comments

  • Indoctrin

    If I recall correctly its Tesco’s that owns the majority of Ravens Court but the council are supposedly going to make a compulsary purchase order and do it up. I know the rents for a shop on there run up to £10,000 a year which is a tad stupid due to the fact nobody really goes up there unless taking a quick route to Tesco.

    Personally I feel the entire town needs to be bombed and rebuilt from scratch as it is now a complete chav ridden shit hole.

     
    Reply
  1. Welcome to Tescotown « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  May 1, 2010

    […] regeneration, Councillor Adrian Andrew – involves the complete demolition of Ravens Court (bit of a waste of new cladding there), the Senior Citizens centre and existing store, which will largely be replaced by car parking. […]

     
  2. Sense may yet prevail « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  July 21, 2010

    […] from the High Street, whilst removing the focus of the town. I would be the first to admit that the dilapidated shopping centre requires demolition, however I’m sure that better replacement solutions could be explored. I remain concerned as […]

     
  3. Tesco: have they given up on Brownhills? « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  February 28, 2012

    […] which seemed an odd thing to do to a store allegedly slated for demolition. Meanwhile, the central precinct in Brownhills is now almost totally empty – in preparation for it’s own supposed demolition – and the market, killed of by […]

     
  4. Trollied « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  June 3, 2012

    […] Everything we were promised for a decade or more rested on Tesco building a new store. Our shopping precinct was cleared for them, as was the market. Remember the bold talk of new shop units, and housing on Silver Street? It’s […]

     
  5. Pity the poor landlord | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog  April 18, 2014

    […] this meant the demolition of the ageing, ugly and loathed Ravens Court Shopping precinct. Everyone, it seemed, would be a […]

     

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