Back from the dead?

From the Walsall Chronicle, Thursday 8th December 2011. Click for a readable version.

It seems a bizarre, defeated planning application that has been covered here before on the blog has been resurrected. The plan to demolish Brownhills Business Park currently existing on the former site of Walsall Wood Colliery, and latterly Brownhills Commercials was thrown out by Walsall Council, and subsequently by a government planning inspectorate tribunal way back in July. Apparently, there has been some error in the paperwork – it’s not clear whose error this is, although Walsall Council’s planning department are no strangers to Mr. Cockup – and now the people behind the plan, Ashtenne Industrial Fund, have reapplied. The council have duly refused since this article above was published, and the application is going for appeal again.

This whole scheme is mad, but we need to keep an eye on what’s going on. As I’ve pointed out several times, the colliery was used after closure as a disposal facility for industrial effluent and toxic waste, and I’m uncertain of exactly who would want to buy a house built upon such a site. With the Veolia – formerly Effluent Disposal/Leigh Environmental/Sarp et al – site next door now also up for sale, this is worrying.

Regular readers will know that I don’t object to such planning applications on principle – we need more good quality housing in Brownhills, after all – yet there are huge swathes of suitable land sitting derelict in the town without building upon a site massively contaminated by it’s mining history, before one even considers the problems caused by the sites subsequent usage.

I hope the Planning Inspectorate and Walsall Council stick to their guns. This idea is mad and should be rejected.

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6 Responses to Back from the dead?

  1. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    I can think of 33 million gallons of reasons, whose official definition has ranged from “treated liquid waste” to ” may be toxic, may be carcenogenic” since it was deposited into the mine which convince me that this idea stinks!. Add to this the unique aroma from the Waste Treatment “farm” a few fields away, and any potential resident would find living in a house on this site an unforgetable , and probably short-term experience.

    Good luck to the council on this one.


  2. Andy Dennis says:

    See Council Report at paras 3.5-3.6. The Planning Inpsector got it wrong.

    The last govenrment made the planning system so complex, even its own officials don’t understand it.

    Bob, I’m going to send you a diagram of the plannig system so everyone can see what a mess it is.

    • Andy sent me the following (and thanks for it, fair made me smile – I seem to detect real frustration here)

      Hello Bob

      Well, here it is. The planning system as the last government “designed” it – notice the architect has absconded.


      The planning system in England and Wales

  3. Antony hill says:

    Hi there, just saw your email about disposal and waste and thought to myself, I wonder which fat cat at Walsall council will have their pockets filled with queen headed paper and their name on some skanky Short living tree in dodgy agreement to allowing such activity as the Leigh environmental dumping that I recall from back in the late 80’s which was situated very close to my childhood home. That place had violent and disturbing memories for all nearby as if it were a horror film to the local residents and the responsibility always lies with bent string thin applications made to and ” under the counter acceptance” from Walsall council whom I have always know be run by greed obsessed clowns who are so very protected by the civil service that the lengths that they will goto to get do or agree to what they see fit are unknown to man nor beast. Suffice to say that I believe corruption in all kinds of places and works but Walsall MBC have a lot of rubbish dumped on their step and they still continue to add to their list until someone does something to them. Housing in Brownhills is almost non existent anymore and the houses that are now owned by whg are getting better yes but even they can’t manage the requests made of them. Building flats in the high street where I lived until last year is not the answer and the land that had been left by or has gone to waste is nothing short of horrendous. On these notes aswell as the poor treatments of Walsall manor hospital and the crazy parking charges all over Walsall and the jumping on that bandwagon of grabbing any parking fines from anyone but that failure of spending that money back on good use and the poor offer of facilities has forced me to move to Staffordshire where might I point out is a totally different life. Clean streets maintained roads bins emptied no striking no trouble on the estates…. I could go on. I will always have my fond memories of where I grew up with all my family and love Brownhills for all the reasons I had but it’s gone down the proverbial pan in the last twenty years or so. I blame the council and all their promises and the way they handle everything. Forgotten town used to be referred to Walsall wood but I’m afraid to say that it now entails Brownhills too. I would love to see things get better and even if I live for 40 years more I doubt anything will happen. Some other money grabbing conglomerate will buy in and destroy even more and remove everything that meant anything. Thank you wmbc, FOR NOTHING YET AS PROMISED! Try putting a railway back and the market and food hall and stop Tesco buying Brownhills etc, drop the high street rents, bring folk back, rather than stick out for unreasonable renting fees and watch shops rot boarded up or even just try spending some money on the place instead of buying new cars to look at the waste of the place that was once a wonderful place to visit and talk about. . After all, a little rent is better than no rent and a boarded up market less Tesco rammed Brownhills that is only accessible by car or bus. Comments to the Above are welcomed but I must add that this is only my opinion. I loved Brownhills but now I am in the process of mastering driving through with my eyes clenched shut so as not to ruin my memories of my childhood.

    • To be absolutely fair, Effluent Disposal started their activities when there was little or no regulation of the waste industry. Regulation didn’t come until much, much later, by which time they were holding Walsall Council to ransom with the Mitco Lagoon in Aldridge. It’s fair to say that the activities in Walsall Wood and Aldridge actually forced a change in the law, mostly driven by the great Jeff Rooker, MP. In that respect, Walsall Council had very, very little control of what the waste operators were up to. Waste disposal in those days was like bandit country. This isn’t to justify it, but to explain that Walsall wasn’t necessarily to blame.
      Much of what you say about council neglect of Brownhills is very true, but I fear Staffordshire may not be the land of milk and honey. They had strikes a couple of weeks ago just like Walsall, and they’ve just announced a 25 million pound package of cuts.
      I hear what you say, and far be it from me to defend the council, but much of your complaint isn’t with them; parking charges at the hospital are a matter for the NHS trust, and if one looks at Ravens Court in Brownhills, for instance, the Council can’t lower the rents primarily because it’s privately owned.
      Lots of things ail Brownhills, some are Council related, many aren’t. But last time I was in Cannock, it didn’t look much better than here, to be honest.

      Best wishes


  4. Pingback: Good news on Brownhills Business Park: once again, sense prevails « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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