A proposed Cradley housing scheme which residents feared would intensify anti-social behaviour problems they suffer has been rejected.
Developers had hoped to construct 10 houses, a bungalow and a communal garden on two parcels of land on Foredraft Street and had received support from Dudley Council planning officers who recommended approval.
But the proposal was rejected by members of the authority’s development control committee at a meeting on Wednesday (April 28) due to concerns about a loss of parking hitting shops on the nearby high street and a loss of green space for residents.
During the consultation period, objectors said the development would “ruin the high street” and also feared problems including drug dealing, graffiti and littering would increase.
Previously, a plan for a mixture of apartments and houses earmarked sparked even more fury amongst the community.
The proposal, put forward by S P Faizey Chartered Accountants, was amended and planning officers said concerns were addressed but the scheme still drew criticism.
Nearby resident Alan Morris told the committee: “There are still some issues, the major one being the planned reopening of a walkway from Foredraft Street to Talbot Street.
“A communal garden is also planned to the rear of the site. This walkway was closed 20 years ago due to anti-social behaviour. Nothing has changed on this location.
“The area to the rear of the Post Office on Windmill Hill has been and continues to be blighted with ASB, drug dealing, drug taking, alcohol consumption, littering and graffiti.
“Some of the space would be much better used for extra parking for the shops and businesses. There will be a significant loss of parking due to this proposal.
“The communal garden is a dream that will very quickly become a nightmare and a no-go area for the people of Cradley. Common sense says no to the reopening of this walkway.”
Paul Beddard, who spoke on behalf of the developer said: “We have tried to work together in a positive manner to best meet the needs of the local community on this potential development.
“This site provides us with a great opportunity to improve the area, address long standing issues and provide much-needed affordable housing.
“The consultation process has been a big positive and listened to local opinion and changed the proposal as a result. However, these changes have put us on the limit of financial viability of what we can deliver.
“Historically, this site has been unviable for developers to build on, hence why it continues to sit empty and provide nuisance for the local community.
“If planning is successful, we plan to engage with local stakeholders where possible to reassure and aid where we can.
“Parking is an issue and this is recognised. However we are creating four spaces within the development and would be willing to work with shops to identify parking spaces ie providing white lines.
“We are also looking at improvements to Foredraft Street itself including the poor condition of the highway.
“Also, so far as we are able, we will look to work with the local community to try to address concerns over potentially troublesome anti-social behaviour spots.”