Express & Star

'It's about time': Residents react as 'eyesore' Oldbury pub to be demolished for shops and flats

Residents who live near a disused Sandwell pub have said they are 'pleased' development plans are moving forward.

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Residents have said they agree the site needs to be developed

The reactions come after plans were submitted to develop a four-storey space, consisting of housing and shops, on the grounds of the former Merrivale pub in Oldbury.

The Merrivale, which has been disused since 2013, was dubbed an 'eyesore' in a statement that was submitted to the Sandwell Council in early 2019 that looked to convert the former pub into a Hindu temple, also saying that the building was a wasteful use of land.

Residents seemed pleased when asked by the Express and Star if they agree with the latest plans, saying that they agree that the proposal for the land is useful and that the ground should be developed on.

Mark Stringer, 43, from Oldbury, said: "It's good that it might finally get used, that bit of land has been wasted since it was empty in 2013.

"I agree with the plans, it is a bit of an eyesore for the area really, I mean look at it. I'm more than happy it'll get turned into shops. It's about time."

The residents also said the former pub had become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour since its abandonment in 2013.

An artist's impression of the proposed shops and flats replaying the former Merrivale pub in Oldbury. Credit: Simply Planning

Lisa Parkes, who lives nearby, said: "It's been a nightmare honestly, you can see the windows are put through. That was down to kids throwing rocks at it.

"And there were actually two fires in there that were only a week apart. It's good they're developing it. We have a row of shops there, it would be good to have a little high street I think."

Another resident said it was a shame that the pub was disused, however, he supports the latest move.

The pub is surrounded by shops and housing

Adam Chambers, 65, said: "It's a shame it couldn't be turned back into a pub, but a row of shops is just as good.

"It will be good seeing the area developed. It's a bit worrying about the building process, but when it's done it will be good."

The plans were met with mixed feelings from residents who were sad to lose another pub to vandalism and fire damage, however, CAMRA's chairman for Dudley and South Staffordshire said the pub is another victim of the use it or lose it policy.

Two fires that took place only days apart ravaged the roof of the former local

John Corser said: "It's sad to see the loss of another pub in the Black Country, it would have been great to see it returned to its previous life.

"The loss of the Merrivale is a reminder that it is vital that people use the pubs in their area or risk losing them."

The latest application for the site, which was placed by the 'upmarket' grocery shop Simply Fresh, outlines plans for a four-storey building with space for two ground-floor shops and 12 one, two and three-bed flats. The plans also outline plans for 15 parking spaces.