Controversial development plan for Moor Centre goes to Planning Inspectorate

Campiagners at the Moor Centre

People and businesses in Brierley Hill must go into battle again if they are to see off a plan to redesign the Moor Centre in the town

Dudley Council’s planning committee had turned down a plan by Sheet Anchor Ltd to make external alterations to the shopping centre.

The proposal sought to replace the open space in front of the centre with a new 26-space car park with access off the High Street. Shoppers and traders, however, feared the changes would prove “damaging” for the town and risk pedestrian safety and the scheme was refused last June.

However, Sheet Anchor Ltd has appealed against the local planning authority’s decision and the plan will now be determined by His Majesty’s Planning Inspectorate. Brierley Hill councillor Adam Davies, who campaigned against the proposal with Brierley Hill Community Forum and local businesses, said:

“The council is firmly standing by its decision and for the past few months I have been working with fellow directors on the Brierley Hill Community Forum to prepare our objections against the appeal.

" We're not against change or investment in our town – quite the opposite, we want to work with private landlords on plans that are both beneficial to their businesses and to our town. Unfortunately, the plans the Moor Centre owners put forward make very little sense at all.

"They pose a clear risk to pedestrian safety, would worsen congestion at the Five Ways junction, mean we lose the main community event space in the town, and lead to a huge loss of parking as the plans are based on the idea of closing the much larger car park at the rear of the centre."

He is now urging members of the public to submit their own objections to the Planning Inspectorate “to strengthen the argument we have spent the last few years making and ensure Dudley Council's decision to reject the proposal doesn't get overturned”.

The appeal seeks full planning permission to carry out external alterations to the shopping precinct, including alterations to existing shopfronts to enable retail units to be sub-divided, demolition of unit 1 to allow vehicular access from the High Street, the creation of new public toilets and creation of a 28-space surface car park and cycle parking plus landscaping and works to the highway.

A statement of case, submitted by Pegasus Group on behalf of Sheet Anchor Ltd to the Planning Inspectorate, states: “The proposed development which is the subject of this appeal has been designed to safeguard the future of the Moor Centre and to assist with security the viability of the site through addressing the continually vacant units.

The overall proposed development will result in smaller sub-divided units which better reflect the change in market requirements.

“The proposed development represents significant investment into the area and has been designed to ensure the visitor and user experience of the site is improved, as well as enhancing the overall vitality and viability of the Moor Centre.”

Community members, however, have raised fears the redevelopment would potentially lead to the loss of the current large 167-space car park at the rear of the site, reducing car parking in the town, and people have expressed concerns over the loss of open space which is used for community events and activities throughout the year. Tim Sunter, chairperson of Brierley Hill Community Forum, said:

"At a time when the council is spending millions of pounds on improving Brierley Hill, the last thing we need is a proposal which will reduce car parking, increase traffic congestion and pose a risk to pedestrians.

“The Community Forum calls upon residents and traders alike to oppose this badly thought-out idea.”

To submit views to the Planning Inspectorate (search 3308116) or write to the Planning Inspectorate, Room 3C Eagle Wing, Temple Key House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN (including application number P21/2073).

The deadline for objections is March 17.


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