Application submitted for large Brownhills housing development

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This could be the largest housing development seen locally for many years. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

It comes I’m sure, as no surprise that Walsall Housing Group (WHG) have been planning a huge new housing development in central Brownhills for some time now – after all, last month I advertised a one-day consultation on plans to build houses on the former site of Silver Court Gardens, behind Silver Court, on land that’s now vacant.

This week, the social landlord submitted two plans to Walsall Council – 14/0767/FL and 14/0771/OL which have the potential to create 197 new dwellings on hitherto derelict land. I think this is very good news indeed.

Silver Court Gardens – once the fifth most deprived housing estate in the country – was steadily vacated and demolished ten years ago, and has stood empty and unused ever since. During this period, other system-built social housing in the town has also been razed – grim maisonettes at Deakin Avenue, Anchor Bridge and Wessex Close have been carried to dust, as have the twin towerblocks of Waine and Bailey House. 

The pace of redevelopment has been painfully slow; but gradually, new Walsall Housing Group homes have been built at Deakin Avenue, Anchor Bridge, and are in progress at Short Street, the site of Bailey House and Wessex Close. On the site of Waine House, Knaves Court was constructed.

The last major parcel of land remaining is the one proposed for the development discussed here, surrounding Humphries house and running northwest behind Silver Court. In this space, 157 dwellings across a range of sizes and purposes are planned, some for rent and some for outright sale.

The real surprise – although the sharp observer could see it coming – is that an outline application has also been submitted by WHG for a smaller development on the former site of Brownhills Market, bound by Silver Street, the Methodist Church and the pedestrianised Pier Street, just over the road.

The application is split in two; the first application is the full, highly detailed proposal for 157 dwellings to built in phases around Humphries House and behind Silver Court. This includes a public open space to the south of the site. The second application is an outline, it’s an application in principle for 40 dwellings on the old market place, and proposes also a range of options for dealing with traffic in Silver Street. This is not a detailed application, but a drawing board exercise to see if such a proposal could be acceptable to planning; if it is, expect to see more detailed plans later.

Here’s an extract from the Planning Statement which explains the proposals thoroughly:

Street Scenes -1

Various street elevations showing how the Silver Court Gardens development would look from various aspects, and in relation to theexisting features of Silver Court and Humphries House. Image from documents submitted to Walsall Council. Click for a larger version.


3.1  The application site extends to a total of 4.52 hectares. The Applicant wishes to redevelop the site to provide a high quality and sustainable residential development, with associated infrastructure and a new public park adjacent to the Wyrley and Essington canal.

3.2  As set out earlier, this is a hybrid application which seeks outline planning permission to use the former Market Square site for up to 40 residential units; full planning permission also is sought for 157 residential units on the Silver Court site. These proposals represent a significant investment in the local economy which will add to the existing housing stock with potential to attract additional investment. The proposals will also make a significant contribution to the Borough’s housing needs and will place new housing close to Brownhills town centre.

3.3  The full planning application consists 157 residential units comprising apartments and houses across the following sub elements:

  • A 4 storey height block of 62 elderly persons apartments. These will be 1 and 2bedroom apartments providing independent living with social and welfare support through a ‘Well Being Officer’ who will have a daily presence on site. This block of specialist accommodation will also include communal facilities in the form of a common lounge/kitchen area, consulting rooms for visiting GPs and physiotherapists and storage for disabled vehicles. The elderly accommodation will be made available to households which are in the ‘over 55′ age bracket’.
  • 39 general needs apartments comprising 1 and 2 bed apartments for rent.
  • 6 bungalows for rent which will replace 6 bungalows to be demolished.
  • 50 x 2, 3 and 4 bedroomed houses for general market sale.

The full planning application also includes proposals for a new canal side public park.

3.4  The outline planning application relates to the former Market Square site. This is the smaller of the two sites measuring 0.62 hectares. The outline application seeks to establish the principle of residential development for up to 40 residential units with means of access. It is proposed that all residential units on this site will be for general market sale. The planning application promotes three potential alterations and improvements to Silver Street; these are :

  • Retain the existing one-way traffic flow.
  • Introduce a section of two-way flow on Silver Street from the High Street to the Market Square site.
  • The full closure of Silver Street at a point close to Tesco’s car park to the west of the Market Square site and the introduction of two-way traffic flow from this point to the Silver Street / High Street junction.

All three access options are tested and examined through the planning application submission. An explanation of the three options are considered at Section 7 of this Statement.

I note that this is a huge and ambitious scheme. I have included links below to all the documents submitted with both applications so you can peruse them at your leisure. All are served directly from Walsall Council’s Planning website.

Bear in mind that these are applications only, not definite plans. They have to go through due process, and everyone will have chance to object or otherwise – they can be changed, or even if granted, may not be built as I would imagine the funding has to be sourced. This is an early stage of a long process.

It’s also amusing to note a mention of this blog in the Design and Access statement.

I like the plans I must say, and I think building houses on the market place is an excellent idea. That whole area is currently way too open and desolate to my mind, and housing close to the town centre can only encourage better retail fortune for Brownhills. The mixed ownership and purpose also makes for a good social blend and although I’m not overly struck with the aesthetics of the apartment blocks, the house look nice.

If Brownhills is ever to recover, we need bold, decisive action to get people back at the heart of the town – this plan does that. The added footfall can only help towards a retail recovery.

I welcome reader feedback: comment on this post, or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Links to documents for plan 14/0767/FL described as ‘Full planning application for 157 residential dwellings with car parking, new estate roads, public open space, canal side park and associated infrastructure’:

Site Plan

The site plan for full application 14/0767/FL which covers 157 dwellings from around Humphries House to Silver Street, covering the former Silver Court Gardens site. Image from application documents. Click for a larger version.

Links to documents for plan 14/0771/OL described as ‘Application for outline planning permission for up to 40 residential units with means of access included (all other matters reserved)’:

Site Plan market

The site plan for outline application 14/0771/OL which covers 40 dwellings on the old market site, and outlines possibilities for modifications to traffic flows in Silver Street. Image from planning documents. Click for a larger version.

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3 Responses to Application submitted for large Brownhills housing development

  1. Looks good to me! May as well make good use of the waste land.

  2. Paul says:

    About time that area was developed up, it’s a nice setting, near the canal and handy for the shops. It will make it look alot better. That land has always been a mess ever since I was a kid many many years ago!

  3. Pingback: Plan for 200 new homes in central Brownhills approved | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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