Eyesore shop development stalls

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Dudley’s financial problems have hit plans for redevelopment in Colley Gate where a row of eyesore buildings are set to be demolished.

The council was planning to level the buildings between 122 and 128 Coley Gate and build eight new homes to be rented to people on the housing waiting list.

However the scheme has now been shelved after Dudley Council’s cabinet decided to spend cash from its ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account on maintenance of existing stock rather than new buildings. Cradley and Wollescote Lib Dem councillor Ryan Priest said:

“It’s disappointing that Conservative financial chaos on the council means that development in Cradley will stall. My hope is that the site can be placed on the open market and that a local developer can take it on.” 

Demolition seems set to still go ahead as funding for that part of the project was approved before the council introduced new spending controls. Council officers will declare the site surplus to requirements and look at options for redevelopment which could include putting the site on the open market or selling it to a social housing provider.

Dudley’s Conservative leader, Cllr Patrick Harley, defended his administration’s handling of the council’s finances at the last meeting of the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He said:

“We have gone from what could have been an absolutely disastrous position in October to one now where we are going to set on the first Monday in March a legal budget.

“What we are also doing is tasking all the officers to work on getting the new total operating model for this authority. That is what will put our finances firmly in the black and allow us to still provide services to the people of this borough in a way where we are not just savagely cutting away at services.”

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