A BUSTED FLUSH

An interesting development in the bog-gate saga.

A planning application has now been submitted to demolish the redundant public lavatories in the Shambles in Wednesbury and build two retail outlets at street level with flats above on first and second floor levels.

THE SHAMBLES STORY.

On 13th August 2012 the council sold three redundant lavatory blocks including that in the Shambles for £35,000.

The sale contract included a number of conditions. One condition was that lavatories at the Shambles were not to be demolished. They are within the Wednesbury Market Place Conservation Area. The other two blocks were sold subject to a condition they be demolished within 6 months. They are still standing.

On 2nd April 2014, the Shambles lavatories alone were re-sold for £40,000. (Some evidence that the original purchaser had had a bit of a bargain, 18 months earlier.)

A change of use application made by a Bobby Jandu was granted on 19th December 2013 to allow retail/ residential use.

Then on 9th October 2014 a planning application on behalf of a Rai Jagota was granted to extend and convert the building to 3 residential apartments

In May 2016 Mr. Jagota was back with an application to demolish the building and build apartments. Permission was granted in December 2016 subject to the ground floor being rebuilt as close as possible to the form of the existing building.

Now Mr. Jagota is back again with the current application. Unsurprisingly, the submitted plans run directly counter to any condition that the front of the building be rebuilt to resemble the existing; UPVC windows will replace wood, aluminium doors instead of wooden doors and two large shop front windows will be inserted.

LESSONS TO LEARN

  1. Council property can go cheap in Sandwell. To get a bargain, it may help if you’re related to a councillor, but it’s not essential.

  2. Don’t worry about restrictions in any sale contract, the council will not enforce them. So if they say you can’t, it really means you can.

  3. Planning in Sandwell is a process where if you try, try and try again you get what you want.

  4. Some towns get very picky about what you can do in their conservation areas. Even deciding the paint shade on your front door.

    No worries in Sandwell. It’s a free for all.