In case anyone was in any doubt over the death of the plan for a new Tesco supermarket in Brownhills, I see the company have put in a couple of planning applications to tart up the existing store. The plans are for new signage and for new trolley bays around the car park, including some superficial environmental improvements – hardly earth shattering stuff. However, the significance of spending money polishing their current turd of a building cannot be escaped.
The applications are 12-0615-FL ’New trolley bays to replace existing’ and 12/0616/AD ‘Installation of signs and branding to the store and parking areas and petrol filling station’. The plans seem to overlap in nature, and can be seen here for 12-0615-FL and here for 12-616-AD. I note there’s still no cycle parking whatsoever, although all those shiny signs should make good bike locking points. A Design and Access Statement supplied with the first plan talks of a ‘Store refresh’.
What this means is that Tesco, faced with a declining market, falling market share, and tougher times, have decided to persevere with a retail outlet that’s clearly making money as it is rather than replace it with a new one for little commercial gain. Instead, we’ll get the same shed we have now, tarted up for a few more years.
Somewhat troubling is that rumours still seem to be emanating from people connected with the Brownhills store that the decision not to redevelop was all the fault of the protestors from the Brownhills Senior Citizen’s Centre. This is an absolute falsehood – the pensioners were accommodated by the plan, and permission was approved. It’s sad to see old folk vilified in this way.
I keep seeing searches in the logs for this site for ‘Brownhills regeneration’. It’s clear that now, there is no longer any viable plan for our regeneration. Everything we were promised for a decade or more rested on Tesco building afresh. 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 all gone down the drain. Walsall Council, having arranged the party, can only shuffle uneasily and mumble as the star guest loses interest and walks away. What we’re left with is piecemeal housing developments and fiddling at the edges. Whole sections of our town centre are still either derelict, or wasteland, and will now remain so for years.
One thing is for sure: as long as they’re taking the money, Tesco couldn’t give a toss.