A COUNCIL chief has called a meeting tomorrow (Friday) to look at solutions to the dereliction of a parade of shops in Cradley.

After more than a year of campaigning by the Cradley action Group, Dudley Council has put the empty Colley Gate shops “high on the agenda”.

Co-founder of the group Chris Legiewicz said the meeting was a “step in the right direction” and she hoped something constructive would emerge.

The five premises, which are privately owned by recluse Edwin Goodman and Shakil Hussain, have become a target for vandalism and arson attacks.

Deputy council leader Councillor Pete Lowe has invited Mrs Legiewicz and members of the emergency services to the meeting.

Cradley MP Margot James, who will also be at the meeting, hopes there will also be an update on progress made by the council to find a developer to take the site.

A deadline for expressions of interest was set for the end of July, with the hope that the property owners will either sell to a developer, and if not, that the council will compulsory purchase them.

Cllr Lowe said he was “acutely aware of the impact” the derelict premises had on the community.

He added: “That is why as a council we are working hard to find a development partner to bring forward a scheme that can remove these buildings and provide new investment in the area.

“I have worked closely with council officers to ensure all appropriate powers available have been used in trying to address this situation and I have called this meeting to make sure the site stays high on the agenda of the council and its partner agencies.”

Mrs Legiewicz said her members wanted action not words and were fed up of being fobbed off.

She said: “We want to push for something tomorrow – not next year. The council has the powers and they must use them to get this sorted.”

Mrs Legiewicz also plans to highlight the “horrendous” state the building have been left in following last month’s double arson attack on two of the shops.

She said: “The boarding up is an eyesore with odd pieces of board used and there is still glass hanging out of an upstairs window.”