Tesco sends a message to Brownhills: you’re not worth it

Ravens Court? We're stuck with it and Tesco couldn't give a toss

I will elaborate on this later, but in case you haven't noticed, the Express & Star is reporting an announcement from Tesco that the plans for a new store in Brownhills are officially dead.


This is exactly what I've been saying here for nearly two years. As soon as the plan was downgraded, the writing was on the wall.

The message from Tesco is loud and clear: 'Up yours, Brownhills. We've destroyed any hope for regeneration or growth in your town, because you're simply not worth it. But do keep spending your money in our existing store.'

This is disgraceful, but utterly predictable. With Tesco falling on hard commercial times, the cost of a rebuilt store would clearly not justify the gains.

Perhaps those in the community who bent over backwards to destroy what we had for a handful of beans might reflect on their legacy.

Would the last business to leave town please switch of the lights? Cheers.



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35 Responses to Tesco sends a message to Brownhills: you’re not worth it

  1. PorkTorta says:

    “Some refurbishment was previously carried out at Brownhills Tesco leading to doubts the overhaul would go ahead, but Tesco has always insisted it was committed to the project.”

    Some people need to learn what committed means. Absolutely terrible.

  2. ianrobo says:

    I ask whether Tesco’s or any supermarket regenerates an area. Look at the Walsall new Tesco, they created spaces for retail units and nothing and it just sucks life out of the rest of the centre, so much so the council ploughed money into Primark.

    This is slightly different as it is an existing shop that should be redeveloped but I query any claims of ‘regeneration’. We seen Tesco’s and the rest always claim this but never see it. As the Asda at Bloxwich improved the town centre there or the Asda in Darlaston or Morrisons at Aldridge ?

    • Jimm Rennie says:

      With the retail units in Tesco Walsall, you’ve got to bear in mind that the retail units underneath the Waterside apartments behind the Art Gallery have never been opened and there are plenty of empty shop carcasses in the town centre anyway.

      If we could get some sort of short term occupancy ‘pop-up shop’ deals going then maybe the town centre could feel a little more open with small traders being able to just sell what stock they have and not worry about having to keep paying for the shop if/when they sell out.

      There were plenty of small scale arty type traders at the night markets. (Just a thought).

      As for the Brownhills regen plans, I’m with PorkTorta, Tesco need to look up the definition of ‘committed’.

      • ianrobo says:

        I guess the issue is that the idea of shop regeneration is over. the big boys have killed the small traders that the likes of Brownhills relied on and of course the internet. There has to be a new model for the smaller town centres.

        • PorkTorta says:

          Perhaps the answer would be for Brownhills (perhaps even independently of Walsall) to aggressively court other suitors – with the spectre of a potential Sainsbury’s/Co-op/Waitrose moving in, I’m sure that Tesco would up their game.

          There are many scenarios where this would be a winning prospect:

          1 – Tesco builds the new store, suitors decline to build in ace of new Tesco development
          2 – Suitors build store and price war breaks out with Tesco
          3 – Suitors crush Tesco and send them scurrying away with their tails between their legs

          Yes, massively oversimplified…but one has to dream.

          • Peter says:

            Waitrose in Brownhills? You really are dreaming!

            • PorkTorta says:

              Well yeah – i’m obviously grasping at straws with that one, Had a hard time thinking of any supermarkets. Been a while since i did my shopping at Meadowmarket! But whoever it is doesn’t matter as long as someone would be interested, right? Kwik Save, Morrisons, Asda, whoever. Someone to show faith in Brownhills and it’s ability to bounce back from urban decay and Tesco dependence.

        • The TEsco development would have brought traffic and other environmental improvements we need, but won’t now get.

          The new Tesco development wouldn’t have improved conditions for existing traders, no.


  3. PorkTorta says:

    Whatever happens, what the town needs is shops of ‘substance’ rather than retailers of tat. Obviously the issue is attracting these retailers to area – i’m sure that some kind of subsidised sweetheart deal with rent/taxes etc covering an initial few years would help.

    Those first few years are always a dicey prospect, and if they could be made a little easier, with less rick for potential retailers, then maybe we’d be on the way to that elusive renewal that we all dream of.

    Either way, it’s hard to view the shops (as properties only) at Raven’s Court with rose-tinted glasses. They were tatty when i spent time in them as a kid, and that was a good 30 years ago. Something would have to be done to make that location, and others around Brownills, into a viable prime location.

  4. martin says:

    I feel sad and angry, that Tesco, have let the people of Brownhills down with promises. Brownhills is all ready a ghost Town, with shops closing up and down the High Street. Ravens court, is a disgrace. This what happens when a company becomes too powerful and can get away with all most anything, but we should have seen the danger when Tesco put a lick of paint on the store which we are now left with,

  5. Rob says:

    What’s wrong with the existing Tesco as it is?
    Seems fit for purpose to me.

  6. Paul Green says:

    We’ll Tesco brought the main car park in Brownhills which started the decline of the market ( I mean 20yrs ago – not the last few years as that effort didn’t really seem like a real market). They now fine you if you park too long on the car park, or if you’re caught on camera just parking. They’ve blocked off access to the old stairs up to Ravens court. They brought all the land on the High St effectively stopping any competitors standing a chance of starting up in the town. They bought One Stop (formerly T&S stores) as there was a nice sizeable chunk of land there which would of easily housed a nice retail site. Every single petrol station in Brownhills closed after Tesco’s opened a 24 hr fuel station (then promptly closed its 24hr service after all the competition had gone). Ravens court is like a ghost town because of Tesco’s and people still flock into the store, making all this possible. I’ve heard in there defense, people saying that they are a major employer in the area (not in respect to all the jobs that have gone due to their business practices).

    I suppose if I was a major player in Tesco’s, I would see their business strategy as “mission accomplished,” but its hard to sit back as a resident of Brownhills to see all this going on…Walsall Council have bent over backwards to accommodate Tesco’s, so who’s fault is it really!

    • Hi Paul

      Can I just correct a few misconceptions here? Cheers.

      Tesco blocked off the access to Ravens Court briefly, then opened it up a day later following posts here. It remains open.

      Tesco own no land on High treat, and don’t own Ravens Court (look at the lease notices). Acquisition of these was ready to be signed on event of starting.

      Tesco’s acquisition of T&S had nothing to do with the land next to it, which was for sale anyway at the time. Development of that land is problematic, shall we say, due to it’s history.

      Walsall’s problem with Tesco was that they were the only development possibility in town, and consequently, they ceeded on almost every concession – but legally, had the council refused, Tesco would have won anyway. Sometimes people credit planning with more power than they actually have. The criteria on which planning can legally be judged are surprisingly narrow.

      Tesco have stuffed Brownhills. They ripped out the heart, and the coming development would possibly have accelerated that, but would have at least provided an upgraded traffic system.

      Heaven knows, I’m no fan of theirs – the shop is grotty, horrid and awful to use – but we need to be accurate in our criticism.


      • Rob says:

        What’s so special that makes it grotty, horrid and awful to use?
        Seems no better or worse than any other supermarket to me and no more difficult to use either.

  7. John says:

    At the end of the day, it`s people shopping in supermarkets that cause the problem, vote with your feet and use the shops instead!

  8. Edwina says:

    I was made redundant from Hindley’s in the precinct because of the changes made to Brownhills from Tesco and the absolute change it had on business in moving the market. Brownhills is now an almost dead town, what can you get there – honestly? Not wallpaper, not paint, nor nails except those on the ends of your fingers … Not really anything worth mentioning. The whole of the High Street is a disgrace and needs pulling down and starting from scratch. The pavement is far too close to the road on one side etc., etc., etc., I could go on all day. Walsall need to wake up to Brownhills, just take a look at Aldridge Town Centre and we pay the same Council Tax, they have just had a revamp and it looks quite nice. Admittedly the area by Tesco’s where the canoe club is is really lovely and top marks for that, but other than that it is diabolical. Even the new houses being built by the Canoe Club are far far too close to the road, why can’t the planners give folk a little bit of green in front of their houses, what is the matter with these planners?

  9. woodlandway says:

    It’s really sad to see what is happening to Brownhills High Street, forget Tesco’s for just one minute, the rot set in years ago and has continued in a downward spiral ever since. I think Edwina has hit the nail on the head, what actually can you buy in the High Street these days?
    Where are the brand name stores? Are there 2 or 3 brand names?
    Take a walk from Silver Court to Ravens Court and just assess the shops, if you’re hungry don’t worry there’s food galore, you can have a haircut get all your nails done countless times, get as much alcohol as you need and as long as you have a pound or two you can shop in multiple “pound shops”, and with your other pound you can choose which bookies to place your bet on the 3.30 coming in at 5-1, you could tattoo your whole body from head to foot in a day.
    The land around the Market is abandoned with nothing happening at all.
    Tesco regenerating Brownhills was never going to happen, why would they bother?
    Just imagine the Board meeting at Tescos, do we spend X Million £’s on a new store or buy a tin of paint from Wilkos? If they built a new store where would the additional business come from? would people from outside of Brownhills suddenly flock to Brownhills, I don’t think so.
    Do people travel to shop in Brownhills? Or is it just people from Brownhills who shop in Brownhills?
    Just think for one second about the Tag Line for this blog ” Life in the Northern Wastes of Walsall”
    Is anyone really surprised by all this? Shocked and saddened yes……….but surprised? Come on!

  10. kesa says:

    Recently we had a similar issue. Ours was a Tourist steam Train in Queenstown Tasmania which a major company ran on a 20 yr lease, however since they decided it was to costly to fix any infrastructure they said we are closing this down, we are breaking our lease by ten years and you cant do anything and no we are paying any back rent etc. They simply walked away. However they did say they were keeping their other ventures open and expected everyone to continue buying and using these facilities. We potentially lost 64 jobs in a town of 2500, thankfully the government stepped up and have taken over the maintenance and are searching for new company to run it but seriously where do these companies get off dictating to us when it is our towns, our cities, our resources, our families, and our hard earned which allow them to function. People would do well to remind these companies exactly who they owe for their profits and its not the board room.

  11. Terrence says:

    It is well known that Brownhills is known as the GHOST TOWN saddened to understand why!!! the sign coming into Brownhills says Welcome To Brownhills, my question is welcome to what? It’s about time they gave control to Brownhills future to those who have seen the destruction of the town they where brought up in and allow them to bring back the good old fashioned shops like Joe’s where you were treated like humans, a warm smile, friendly conversations. Good old days when Spook Market was very famous and people came from everywhere just to buy their goods cheap. I think the only one shop that is still trading with the original owners is Downes Paper shop in the high street and maybe Claridges Tv rentals. Bring back Brownhills please.

    • Peter says:

      Terrence, I too am saddened by Brownhills heart these days, but I don’t think going back to the “good old days” is the answer, in the final throws of the market it was little more than a front for dodgy dvd’s and alike, when the likes of Joes were thriving family run outlets there was no Internet or out of town shopping centres or supermarkets as we now know them. I would like to forward an argument that actually the people of Brownhills have let down Brownhills by not wrestling control of their own town 2 or 3 generations ago! On this blog and elsewhere in the streets, the pubs, the internet, the shops, people bemoan Walsall Council, Tesco’s, the rise of the internet shopping etc, but no-one does anything about it. What have the people of Brownhills done to protect Brownhills? Yes there’s been sticking plasters, and some polishing of turds, but who has actually stood up and shouted loudly? Who has rounded up the troops and marched on the town hall demanding independence? I bring you back to the tag line of this blog “Life in the Northern Wastes of Walsall” Says it all really.


  12. martin says:

    Shopping as completely change, people would rather shop on line, yes Brownhills was full of family run shops when I was a lad in the 1950s, you could name them all, you could buy all most anything in the High Street, but then in the 1960s, supermarkets took over where you could buy most things under one roof, more people had got cars, and travelled out too big shopping centres, high streets like Brownhills are in for a tough time, and as we are more and more been taken over by computers and can do shopping with one click, with the likes of Amazon, ebay, things do not look very rosy, sad but that’s the fact of life.

    • Rose Burnell says:

      I agree with Martin here about the rise of Internet shopping. As this is the case, what stores would we actually like to see on the high street? Greggs is a perfect example of a store we want. It’s always busy and friendly. Other services like the cobbler, nail and tattoo places are good examples of shops people need to physically visit. Personally I often use the opticians and I love mooching around b&m and Wilko getting things for the house.

      In the digital age, what would we like the high street to look like? What stores would we want and, more importantly, how can any of us make a difference? Clearly, people feel strongly about it but what can they do to help?

      • Hi Rose, Martin

        In my view, you’re both right, and Rose has hit the nail on the head. We can all rage against the darkness, and hanker for the past, but we need to move forward.

        See my latest post. Hopefully, this will open further discussion.


  13. Sheila k says:

    I’ll add my three pennyworth to all of the above. On the topic of Aldridge shopping centre, it’s my belief that it is a privately owned development, and the owners have paid to do it up a bit. It was well overdue and has it’s fair share of empty shops, especially in the High Street.
    On the more important subject of this revelation from Tesco, it is as Bob says, no more or less than we expected. I am old enough to remember when Brownhills had a thriving High Street too, but times have changed and all of Walsall’s outer town centres are suffering the same way. Not to mention Walsall itself which is depressing to visit. The fate of the remaining shops is in our hands. Businesses do not disappear if they are able to make a profit. It’s simply a case of use ’em or lose ’em.

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  21. Les hancox says:

    Asked why tesco fuel was dearer than others in the area, answer was, we have no competition.sainsbury diesle 111.9 tesco118.9 tesco air 40p sainsbury free. Many items 1£ up to £1.10=10 % up.no wonder ALdi is full all the time.

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