The Acropolis cafe shuts; Middle Oak to close and B&M to open in Focus, Aldridge

Why does it always rain on us? Ravens Court on a summer afternoon last July. It was about 2pm.

Why does it always rain on us? Ravens Court on a summer afternoon in 2012.

Just a heads up on some local taking points I’ve had buzzing around for a couple of days now – A few readers including David Evans and Martin Littler have pointed out the longstanding Ravens Court cafe The Acroplolis seems to have closed down.

The Acropolis, along with the Central Cafe must be one of the longest-standing businesses in Brownhills, but I believe the current owner Doreen Gent was wanting to close in 2012, but was stuck with time remaining on the lease. I imagine that’s now expired.

I featured a Radio WM recording of Doreen and others in this post from 2012. A sad state of affairs.

Martin said:

Hi Bob,

Looking down Ravens Court I have noticed that yesterday and today the Acropolis has got the shutters down. Is that the end of Ravens court?

I have had some happy days in that coffee bar as a teenager in the 1960s it was one of the original to open it doors in Ravens Court, with the juke box playing 45s.

Happy memories.

Kind regards

I too have fond memories of the cafe – particularly in the late 80s: the steam, vinyl seats and chrome coffee boiler. It’s a sad loss.

My best wishes to Doreen on whatever she does next. Like many traders and the wider community, she was cut adrift by the naked profiteering of Tesco. A sad and infuriating series of events.

The Acropolis was the last business left operating within Ravens Court, and there’s still no sign of anything happening there. Remember, the precinct is nothing to do with Walsall Council and is privately owned, seemingly by a number of different landlords.

I’ve explored this, and the limited powers the local authority have to deal with it before in this post, and in a followup discussing some pretty shameful electioneering over the place. It’s a mess.

Untitled 7

The Royal – or Middle – Oak. A long-established pub in Shire Oak. Imagery from Bing! Maps.

I hear also from friend of the blog Trevor Bond, that his regular haunt The Royal (Middle) Oak  on Chester Road, Shire Oak is to close on the 22nd of September. It has been up for sale for a while, and has now been bought.

On Friday, Trev tweeted:

If anyone fancies popping in and taking some pictures of the inside and outside out the pub for the records that would be ace – cheers.

Word is that the 30s pub is to be converted into a house, but rumours are also circulating of a possible housing development. This appears baseless at the moment as no planning permission has been submitted.

I’ll keep an eye on planning and see if anything appears. If it does, I’ll let you know.

Finally, some better news. Local gossip had it for a long time that the former Focus store on the corner of Coppice Lane and Northgate on the Walsall Wood/Aldridge border was to be taken over by Asda. This wasn’t true, but in August, B&M retail applied for a variation in planning conditions to convert the derelict building into another branch.

The application is reference 14/1090/FL ‘Variation of condition 2 of permission BC27983P (as previously varied by permission BC57615P) to vary the range of goods sold from the premises.’

The planning application form detailing this change can be seen here; note that they try to mask who the applicant is under the name ‘Berkeley Leisure’ but fail to notice the B&M reference in item 6. I have no reason to believe this will be rejected and I think it’s a good thing: B&M are very popular in Brownhills and Lichfield, and this would remove a derelict eyesore from the local environment.

It might also result in the eviction of whoever has built a den in the corner of the car park, as reader Peter spotted a few weeks ago…

Hiya Bob.

Hope you’re well and enjoying the warm sunny weather.

As you know I don’t live too far from what was the Big K, more latterly Focus off Coppice Lane and Northgate.

I sometimes walk the dog around the old carpark and generally sigh when I see the mess and damage, although it probably means that Oak Park isn’t getting vandalised like it used to.

Anyway I took a couple of snaps of the usual rubbish that has been dumped over the barrier in Coppice Lane and then something caught my eye…

In the corner of the carpark in amongst the bushes and the trees seemed to be a couple of chairs and some old beer cans, it appears that someone or a group of people have constructed a two storey wooden tree house that seems to be either used still or vacated only recently.

Pictures attached.



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3 Responses to The Acropolis cafe shuts; Middle Oak to close and B&M to open in Focus, Aldridge

  1. Carl says:

    Ahhhhh, The Acropolis cafe was enjoyed in the late 70’s by myself and best mate Mick Phillips, plus some other lads, My mom used to work in a shoe shop, next door I think at the time. I walked through there just the other day and felt quite saddened at the demise of this old town.
    Carl Smith

  2. Tracy Sheldon says:

    That’s interesting to know about B&M and possibly very useful as I live across the road, I also put in a complaint about the over grown bushes to the council a year ago and have been informed it is the owners responsibility, but they have been given a notice to say it must be done. As this is very dangerous for anyone walking to the play centre down the road. Just not sure how long this will take.

  3. Pingback: B&M coming to Aldridge – vacancies now being advertised | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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