Lib Dem's hit back at council for paying 'lip service' to development

Local campaigners have hit back at plans to replace dilapidated shop frontages at the junction of Colley Gate and Colley lane saying they want 'action not words'.

The shops, that have laid derelict for years, were previously the subject of interest from commercial developers. However, their withdrawal last year led to Council bosses stating they were “tired of being let down” by partners.

That has led to a new scheme, this time proposed by the Council itself, for eight new affordable homes on the site that will finally bring an end to this long-running saga.

In a statement released by local Conservative Party representatives, Cllr Natalie Neale and campaigner Jason Thorne said:

“We have always said that we will stop at nothing to get these shops demolished, so the news today that Dudley Council will propose the development of new council homes on the site is really welcome.

“It has been a long and difficult fight for passionate local campaigners in Cradley who have been working to get these shops demolished and rebuilt for many years. We are thankful for their work and support to get to this point.

“We hope that Cradley residents will like the proposals.”

However Ryan Priest, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for the ward criticised the move, saying the party are looking for 'actions not words'. He added:

“All that is being committed to here is a consultation on the possibility of submitting a planning application. So far as we can tell [the council] still don’t even own the land.

The plans for the site include 8 one-bedroom apartments.

“I am 25 years old, I grew up in Colley Gate, I went to Colley Lane school and I have never known a time when there weren't abandoned shops there. I want this fixed with every fibre of my being, and that’s why it makes me so angry when the Conservatives use this for political gain.

“We have been here before, a grand promise from the Conservatives before an election, only to find it fall apart after one. I think the people of Cradley are rightly worried that they are up to their old tricks

“The Conservatives also told us in October that any plans to build may well involve the open shops too – the council must commit to protecting the open shops by removing the sites from the Black Country Plan."

Councillor Simon Phipps has stepped in to defend the move, adding: "It's such a shame that Ryan is always so negative towards what the council wishes to do to regenerate our small towns across the borough. 

"He is only ever interested in opposition for opposition's sake and many times he peddles false information just to try to and scaremonger and win votes.

"I've lost count the amount of times I've seen twisted facts on his social media pages and this should be called out. He may have gone to the school of Liberal Democrat electioneering, but he has a lot to learn in the real world of local community work."

There will be a drop in consultation event on Wednesday 26th January at Providence Methodist Church on Colley Orchard. The event will run between 3:00pm and 6:45pm and will give local residents and business owners the chance to view the plans and discuss any concerns they may have.


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