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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.
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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.

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Fist of Glory, fists of rage

I see the genius of SalmonCorporation has been at work again – this film is an uncomfortable piece of genius that needs to be spread far and wide, like it’s precursor ‘Walsall: Everything a pound’.Untitled 6

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A ghost of a chance…

Ghosts and such things; a rumination…
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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…

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Going back

This is a quick post to draw more attention to the rapidly growing, weird and wonderful Panoramio gallery being created by Brownhills George – Since I last featured George’s work here, he’s added loads more stuff, and it’s breathtaking.
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Local and distant

Here’s a wonderful thing I’ve been watching grow for a couple of weeks – a new Panoramio gallery has appeared for Brownhills and surrounds, curated by Brownhills George.

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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…

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Walsall, everything a pound…

My thanks to Stuart Williams, curator of the Bloxwich telegraph, who spotted this short film this evening. It’s a tribute to the lost buildings of Walsall.

Watch it to the end. It’s very, very sad. A totally brilliant, beautifully animated piece of work. Turn your sound on too.

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An odd kind of victory

I’m a bit puzzled by a recent press release from Walsall Council Labour Group relating to recent events in Brownhills, and I wonder if readers can help me with this as I’m not certain of the facts, and feel certain there will be people out there more clued-up than I.

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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….

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Parking for one bicycle…

Thanks to the keen eye of reader and friend of the blog Trevor Bond, I now know that the long awaited cycle parking at Tesco in Brownhills has arrived and been installed. Trevor alerted me this afternoon on twitter, so on the way home I popped down for a look. @BrownhillsBob Bike park being installed at…

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Racked off

So, the Tesco Brownhills turd polish – known by Tesco fans as a ‘refresh’ – has apparently concluded. We have nice new wooden benches for the drunks, vagrants and teens; charming flower beds, new signage and a patched-up car park. The store has had a lick of paint, and everything smells of new plastic, including…

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No shit, Sherlock

I noticed the above item, oddly tucked onto the front page of the Walsall Express and star last night. I can’t believe they’ve just twigged this, months after Radio WM and I spotted that Tesco had got cold feet. This project isn’t just ‘delayed’; I’d tenure it’s shelved. The company have just spent money revamping…

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Brownhills Tesco: Access denied

Shopping giant Tesco, fresh from expecting the residents of Brownhills to get excited over the fact that they have painted their store and fixed a few leaks for the first time in nearly two decades, seem to be intent on creating their own little retail island. The people behind the ‘Refresh’ (a mere turd polish…

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A day at the races

I note today there’s been growing interest in the question of Brownhills Racecourse, such as it was. For younger readers, this wasn’t the old stadium by Chasewater which an unsuccessful trotting track, or it’s precursor, the trotting track on the site of Brownhills School’s field, oddly still marked in the current edition of the Birmingham…

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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…

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Tesco Brownhills: come on in, the water’s lovely.

The above image of water leaking from the cladding of Brownhills Tesco certainly makes you think. With buckets dotted about the store to collect other ingress, just how bad to things have to get before Brownhills deserves a decent place to shop? Rate this post…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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This is the modern world

It’s been a while since I featured a David Evans piece here, so I thought I’d feature this one, which seems oddly appropriate for a sunny spring Saturday. As ever, I thank David for his tireless work and contributions, which are always a delight. Now, on with the show… The final death throes of the…

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Car Ferrie

Further to my previous post, enquiring after noted local businessman Ralph Ferrie, the anonymous reader who supplied the original clipping has once more come forward, as it appears they forgot to include this image with the article. I’m not sure is this shows Brownhills Motor Sales workers or those of McNeillie who renovated the car,…

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High roller

I’ve received a curious little snippet from a reader of the blog who wishes to remain anonymous. This clipping from an unknown paper specified only as ‘from 1971’, is an interesting snapshot of the life of Brownhills businessman Ralph Ferrie. Ralph passed away a long while ago now, and I’m unclear what happened to his…

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Ticket to raid?

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that the parking system in Walsall, and it’s enforcement, is a scam directed at easy targets for maximum profit. Chuckery resident TraceyQ, a well respected, community spirited, long time friend of this blog, who works in Brownhills High Street, recently had the misfortune to find her car ticketed on…

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Electile Dysfunction

It’s almost a year to the day since I wrote this post, urging readers to take up their democratic right and vote. I thought about this again today, on the eve of local elections and the referendum on the Alternate Vote. I considered all the things I could write; the noble sentiment I could wax…

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Odds and sods

One of the things about compiling the weekly old pictures post that irritates is that there are some really interesting old images floating about that you just can’t fit into a post. One or two-offs that don’t really fit in with themed articles. Misfits and misshapes. There are so many of these to feature now…

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How planning works

It seems that a planning application has finally been submitted on behalf of Morris Homes for a housing development on the land just off Silver Street in Brownhills. This won’t come as any surprise to regular readers of this blog, as when a sign appeared on the site in question back in September, advising of…

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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,…

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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…

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Predictable outcomes

Way back in June, 2008 I uploaded a photo to Panoramio of the wasteland that stands unloved and empty on the corner of Silver Street and the Watermead estate in Brownhills. It was just after an attempt had been made to develop the plot into a social club and bingo hall had failed, much to…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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That Tesco leaflet in full

In the interests of fairness, and due to the fact that many households in the area (like mine) have not been deemed suitable for inclusion in the leaflet drop regarding the new Tesco development in Brownhills, I’ve now obtained a copy to include here. It consists of a single glossy sheet of fairly heavy gauge,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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You can’t polish a turd

I’m not really sure what the hell is going on here. I noticed on Saturday that there was scaffolding erected around one corner of Ravens Court, the very nearly empty shopping precinct in the centre of Brownhills. This is a square where there are few units still occupied, with crumbling paving, graffiti covered, permanently shuttered…

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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…

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Tesco Brownhills: A planning application at last. Sort of.

This is just a short post to point out that there’s recently been a planning application submitted (Walsall planning application number: 09/1832/FL) relating to the Tesco Store in Brownhills, but it’s not what one might expect. Indeed, it’s rather surprising. Spotted by a keen-eyed reader, the retail giant has applied for planning permission to erect…

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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…

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