This is just a reminder and a request – it’s been three months to the day since the dynamic duo of UKIPs Brownhills Councillor Steve Craddock and his best mate and Walsall Conservative former Regeneration head-honcho Adrian Andrew were said to have brought home the bacon and hammered out some progress on the redevelopment of Ravens Court.
The triumphant twosome looked like heroes when Steve Craddock went public in December and said the owners – Lightquote, a mayfair-based property company – would be submitting a planning application for the crumbling edifice’s redevelopment ‘in the new year’.
In the interim, precisely bugger all has happened at Ravens Court, except further vandalism, the usual ASB and more of it has crumbled away.
I have been informed by several people in the know that a statement from Lightquote or their agents on the situation had been drafted for the blog and would soon be forthcoming. I’m still waiting.
Why would the owners be in any way reticent to release good news? I’m quite happy to give them the floor here unchallenged. Just communicate with Brownhills, and explain what your plans are. After all, we are living with your investment property, which is blighting our town and hindering our commercial progress.
The only thing actually happening right now is time is elapsing: Walsall Council held off action against Lightquote in progressing a Section 215 notice to legally force them to tidy up the site, but vowed to pursue legalities if an application was not submitted within six months. This action – the only positive movement so far that hasn’t been vapour and spin – was brought about by Brownhills Labour Councillor Steve Wade.
For Messrs Lightquote, Andrew and Craddock: Tick tock.
Meanwhile, I hear the local Conservatives have put out a leaflet claiming they’ve achieved something with Ravens Court. Surely they wouldn’t be so stupidly bold? If anyone has a copy of this leaflet, I’d love to see a scan or photo, please. In the absence of hoardings, hairy builders backsides or heavy plant, the only thing the Tories seem to have achieved is co-opting UKIP to be useful stooges.
And then, there’s the rub – even if Lightquote submit a planning application, from approval they have a validity period of three years. Submitting a trivial, stalling planning application could well buy them years without any enforcement action, ad will actually be cheaper than fulfilling the 215 action – the Authority may well grant permission, but they can’t force it to be acted upon.
It’s still a big old mess, and is rapidly becoming little more than a political football. With elections upcoming, expect lots of hot air and promises, but if you’re told there’s action on this, remember to ask a few pertinent questions.
By the way, while I’m on the subject, a message for one reader in particular: Tesco don’t own Ravens Court and never have. Do the research, like I have, and you’ll find they aren’t connected with the current owners, however much you assert the contrary. If you have any evidence that says otherwise, don’t be shy, let’s have it… not that you’re reading this, of course.
Meanwhile, from Walsall Council’s last report on the matter: