Don’t bank on it

Many of you have asked me for updates on the situation with Ravens Court, the decaying, derelict shopping precinct that lies deserted in the centre of Brownhills – you’ll remember that way back in November 2014, Walsall Council issued an ultimatum to the owners that if they didn’t submit a planning application within six months, they’d initiate legal proceedings to force the landlords to tidy it up.

DSCN2206

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Tick tock

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 claimed to have brought home the bacon and hammered out some progress on the redevelopment of Ravens Court.

20130522-015440-PM.jpg

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

The state that we are in

I’m pleased to note that despite the celebratory tones of a report in the Express & Star a couple of weeks ago, Walsall Council are reinforcing the hard line taken on the owners of the derelict eyesore in the middle of Brownhills, Ravens Court, with a strongly worded press release issued a couple of days ago.

55503790

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Magic beans

Well, it seems congratulations are in order – Steve Craddock, UKIP councillor for Brownhills and the man whose holiday was more important than political control of a borough governing 269,000 people – has apparently brought us the bacon. Or it could be a sack of magic beans, it’s hard to tell the difference. Last week (24th…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Getting the Bird

Two Brownhills community activists lock horns in the Walsall Advertiser letters page over the subject of Ravens Court – the exchange is interesting, and deserves to be read widely.
57323991

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Pity the poor landlord

Five years ago, when I started this blog, one of the largest looming topics was that of the then proposed new Tesco Store in Brownhills – we’d been through a consultation, and the proposal was to build a large hypermarket fronting the High Street.

102321636

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

A ghost of a chance…

Ghosts and such things; a rumination…
93748509

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Photographic memory

I note that over on Panoramio, Brownhills George is continuing his patient work, assembling a great collection of historic Brownhills images – I thought is was about time I featured the latest ones here, as they’re absolutely remarkable, and haven’t got many views yet.
92227782

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

You can never go back

The whole Brownhills-Tesco thing has left me interested in the breadth and spread of local opinion, in a way I don’t normally see it. I’m interested in theories people have, their perceptions, and what they see the future to be. I’ve also become aware of quite a lot of misconception, which is natural, but concerning…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

The past, by George!

Brownhills George continues his patient work of converting and uploading his remarkable and breathtaking images of Brownhills history on to Panoramio – The collection in this remarkable poster’s gallery is growing steadily, and is forming a wonderful resource into a period of history not much recorded anywhere.
90705598

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Buried dreams

In the miasma of stuff that passes by in the local news stream, I spotted this one from the Express & Star the other day, and It’s puzzled me…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Eighteen years later

Once again, Gareth Thomas from Lichfield District Council has gifted a whole bunch of fascinating geographic material to readers of the Brownhills Blog. If anyone had told me when I started this adventure that I’d have images like this donated to the blog, I’d never have believed them. This is the kind of stuff I…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Empires and us

Reader Mick Roseblade writes in with a surprisingly common email enquiry. I’m answering this publicly, as I must have answered this four or five times by email to different people over the last couple of years. I’m not sure why it generates such interest, but here goes. Hi Bob, Another one of your avid readers….

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Poisoning the well?

There’s something odd going on at the moment, that I’d like to get to the bottom of. I’ve now seen four separate instances of the incorrect assertion that the Senior Citizen’s protest stopped the Brownhills Tesco Redevelopment. The first was the letter in the Express & Star I dismantled a couple of weeks ago. I’ve…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Never let the facts get in the way of a good rant

The local press is proving a rich seam of content at the moment here on the Brownhills Blog, and I really wanted to resist raiding yet another reader’s letter from yet another op-ed page. However, this one is so unbelievably bittier, nasty and asinine that I can’t let it go unchallenged. It’s so ill-informed that…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

I heard it on the radio

BBC Radio WM’s Phil Upton Breakfast Show for Monday, 5th March 2012 featured the ongoing saga of Brownhills and Tesco, asking the question as to why the retail giant can’t seem to be bothered to undertake the redevelopment it promised for the town. As highlighted in the Express & Star last week and later here…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Tesco: have they given up on Brownhills?

I notice from an article in the Express & Star that Tesco appear to be getting cold feet on their plan for a new store for Brownhills. This is grim news, but I’m not surprised, and have been sensing all has not been well for a while. Alarm bells started to ring when the store…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Scrub fire in Brownhills earlier this evening?

Rachel Gosling, top reader and friend of the Brownhills Blog tonight posted these dramatic pictures on Facebook, which she’s kindly allowed me to share here. It seems that there’s been quite a severe fire in the scrub on Clayhanger Common, just in the thicket near the pedestrian bridge. It’s sad to see this damage occur,…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

The Grimsby Fish Man…

[Edited 16/11/11 – The image originally used to illustrate this piece has been removed at the request of the owner, who presumably didn’t like the positive nature of the article or free advertising – Bob] This week I’ve had a great contribution via Facebook from regular reader Richard. He was spurred into action by a…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Sister Dora’s first live gig in 130 years

Posted this afternoon on Twatter by the generally not as funny as it should be @Walsall_CounciI parody account, this hilarious video was originally on Twitvid, but since I can’t embed that in the blog, I’ve transcoded it and uploaded to Youtube. I don’t know where it came from, who made it or where it’s been hiding,…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Back to the future…

While we’re in a 1980’s mood, this week I noticed that a remarkable project from the period had been rescued from potential oblivion and saved for the nation. Way back in 1986, when I was generally being a teenage geek and getting into unfashionable progressive rock, the BBC had the wonderful idea of creating a…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills – let’s talk it up…

Here’s an interesting experiment. Features writer for the Express & Star, Chris Davies, is writing a piece about life in Walsall, and would like recommendations for good Brownhills businesses, places to go, historic stories etc. for a positive feature on our town. Chris compiles the restaurant column in the paper and has featured brief reviews…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

The Brownhills festivities continue…

Vickie Heydon-Matterface from Brownhills Methodist Church (that’s the one by the Market in Silver Street) kindly sent me an email recently to point out that their Christmas tree festival is on Tomorrow, Friday 10th December 2010 and Saturday 11th December, when there will also be a Christmas market in full swing, including tombola, refreshments, raffle…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Christmas magic in Brownhills!

It’s worth pointing out that whilst our Scrooge-like civic masters in the Grey Lubyanka were handing round the upturned, moth-eaten and brylcream scented flat cap of Anthony Harris, all the time protesting that they couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or much in the way of festive cheer, over in the Tiny Tim Cratchett people’s republic…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

I heard it through the grapevine…

Whilst mooching around the darker recesses of Brownhills High Street yesterday (namely Downes newsagents), I happened upon a pile of yellow leaflets – well, double sided sheets of yellow A4, to be precise – so I took one. Perusing the missive whilst taking tea sometime later, it turns out to be a fairly decent read,…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

A belief in the market

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a stroll into Brownhills to check out the latest incarnation of Brownhills Market, this time by market operators LSD promotions, who also run the Bescot Sunday Market in Walsall. There had been excellent reports from readers and in the local press, and I wasn’t disappointed. At the relatively late…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills market reopens today!

Just a headsup – reborn twice, Brownhills favourite tat bazaar begins again today, Tuesday 4th November 2010, and will reconvene every Thursday and Saturday thereafter. We’re assured that stalls are all booked and a good time will be had by all. The market in this incarnation is being managed and run by LSD Promotions, organisers…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

How bazaar – Brownhills Market rises again

These really are peculiar times. Brownhills Market, originally operated by Spook Erection and closed when Walsall Council failed to reach agreement about lease renewal, is to reopen again in November under the auspices of local market operator, LSD promotions. This wouldn’t be too remarkable were it not for the fact that after the original closure,…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Market stalling?

I noted with interest today that a whole slew of new documentation had appeared online under the planning application for the new Tesco store, slated to be developed in Brownhills in the next couple of years. Regulars and locals alike will be aware that the scheme has caused some controversy. Originally planned as a huge…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Birmingham Mail – Tesco abandons plans to pull down a senior citizens’ club

Noticed this article today on the excellent Walsall news site, The YamYam – for once it seems the Birmingham Mail (no longer ‘evening’ you’ll note) have stolen a bit of a march on the Express & Star. It’s a two-page article, don’t forget to click through to the second page. I’m intrigued by the comment…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills Market – is it the silly season already?

I’m not sure what’s going on here yet, until I’ve done a bit more research, but according to the Express & Star, Walsall Council are currently looking for commercial tenders to run Brownhills Market for ‘a maximum’ of two years. This will come as some surprise to regular readers considering that the council terminated the…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

The ingratitude. Whose town is this, anyway?

The saga of the proposed Tesco development in Brownhills rumbles on. Both Walsall Council and Tesco seem to be very keen to reassure us all that negotiations are ongoing, that everything is being ironed out and smoothed over. Fresh from the latest round of praising the progress of the new Tesco in Walsall, the cabinet…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Sense may yet prevail

I’ve been sent some very good news from the fight to save Brownhills Senior Citizens Centre, which as regulars will know has been threatened by the planned new Tesco development in the town. The well-loved and extensively used facility is pencilled in for demolition to make way for a small overflow car park for the new…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills Senior Citizens Centre : The Tesco Chainstore Massacre continues

The Walsall Advertiser letters page has been improving a tad of late. More often than not it’s just the soapbox for tedious blowhards like Ian Payne. Just lately there has been some excellent correspondence on the subject of Brownhills Tesco development and the dismay caused in the community by the plans to demolish the Senior Citizen’s…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills Tesco development featured on ‘The Stirrer’

Adrian Goldberg’s ‘The Stirrer’ – a great hyperlocal and forum for Birmingham and the Black Country – have today featured the plight of the Senior Citizen’s Day Centre, soon to be lost under the asphalt of the new Tesco development’s car park. It’s an interesting read, but I’m wary of some of the points in it. Nice…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Very little helps

It’s been a while since I first posted that the application had been submitted for the new Tesco store in Brownhills. Since approval of the scheme can be viewed as inevitable, there would seem to be little point in further comment on the matter. However, there’s some stuff in this sellout that is really beginning…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Tesco development leaflets?

Hi Folks I hear that leaflets are being distributed about the new Tesco development plan for Brownhills. I haven’t seen one yet, so if anyone has one and can scan it or send me a photo, could you please contact me. Thanks for your assistance in this matter. The email address is brownhillsbob at googlemail…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Cautionary tale from The Guardian – ‘This town has been sold to Tesco’

A fascinating, grim article in The Guardian newspaper by Anna Minton. Recommended reading for anyone interested in the way Brownhills is being carved up for the retail behemoth. ‘This town has been sold to Tesco’ – Are towns built by the UK’s leading supermarket the future of urban development? I’ll be returning to the subject of…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Welcome to Tescotown

Whilst mooching back from work today, I noticed a planning application tied to a lamppost in Silver Street, Brownhills. Reading it, I note it’s for a new Tesco development in Brownhills town centre. I haven’t had time to go through it in detail yet – the application (reference 10/0375/FL) was submitted on the 31st March…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Disastrous marketing

This evening’s Express & Star letters page featured a real gem, and unusually for the paper, they’d actually awarded this sensible communique ‘Letter of the day’ – an award normally reserved for the dribbling ramblings of various ranters whose output tends to be so right wing, it would embarrass Mussolini himself. It’s a cracking letter…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Reality bites

I noted this evening with sadness but no surprise that both the Express & Star and the YamYam continue to ponder over the fate of Brownhills market, now undoubtedly in the death throes, pretty much like the town itself. What I was not prepared for, however, was the shock that jarred my not indelicate sensibilities…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Supermarket sweep

It has become evident over the last few months that some shuffling of position has been going on over the retail future of Brownhills town centre. There have been a couple of articles in the local press about how Tesco were hoping to submit revised plans for their apparently utopian new retail facility, but nothing…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Christmas fun this Saturday!

I just thought I’d give a quick heads-up that there’s a Christmas fun day kicking off this Saturday (28th November 2009) in the High Street. There will be loads to do for all the family, including carol singing, children’s rides, face painting (I won’t mention Phoenix Nights if you don’t), a pantomime treasure trail and…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Walsall Council launches Brownhills ‘Shop Local’ Initiative

Fresh from the steaming keyboards of Walsall Council’s press office, I’ve had this press release mailed to me and I thought I’d run it here. We really need to support our town, and the concept does make a lot of sense. I can’t help feeling they’ve noticed that we exist about fifteen years too late,…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Positively Silver Street

It was a lovely day yesterday, and I took the opportunity to pay a second visit to the relaunched Brownhills Market on my way out for a ride in the early autumn warmth. I was pleased to see that the market appears to be bedding in, and was indeed expanded and busier, even at 2:00pm…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills Market: expanding already – so get down there!

I’m not generally in favour of recycling press releases as blog and news items – I generally leave that kind of thing to the likes of the Express & Star, but I received this press release from Dan Slee at Walsall Council yesterday and thought it worth sharing. Remember, we need to support the market…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills market: Back from the dead

Today, along with a considerable number of my fellow Brownhillians, I visited the relaunched Brownhills Market. Due to family stuff, I didn’t get there until 12pm, but it looked like it had been fairly busy – and the gridlock happening on the Tesco car park attested to this. Coming down into Pier Street from the…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Brownhills market relaunches tomorrow!

Just thought I’d flag that up. After my previous stuff about the Market’s demise and subsequent rebirth, I thought I’d bring it to readers attention. Of course, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about it already, but just to be sure… for all the assembled articles, just take a…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Reports of our death may have been a little premature…

I’m genuinely pleased to see the news that Walsall Council has saved Brownhills market – at least for now, anyway. Last week I noticed workmen erecting anti-vehicle barriers on the former site and feared the worst – only the pressure of daily work prevented me blogging about it then; had I done so, I’d have speculated…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading

Is it me?

I’m having a little trouble adjusting my horizontal hold today. Everything seems to be a little out of line, just a tad asynchronous or maybe even a bit disjointed. At times like this you need the stability of the normal, the usual, the regular, just to reassure yourself that all is normal. Normality came to…

Rate this post...
Continue Reading