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Plea for action over dangerous shops

Plea for action over dangerous shops

Downtown Colley Gate.

Chris Legiewicz, co-founder of Cradley Action Group outside one of the dilapidated shops.

First published in News

DERELICT Cradley shops are in danger of collapsing and neighbours fear someone could be killed if urgent action is not taken.

Windows have been smashed in the Colley Gate shop fronts, exposing razor sharp glass edges, and a ceiling is held up with an acro prop.

The roof has caved in on a single storey building and neighbours fear children could be injured if they climb into the insecure premises.

Cradley Action Group co-founder Chris Legiewicz said: “We don’t want a tragedy like happened in West Bromwich where a building collapsed and someone was killed.

“It’s time for action - the owners shouldn’t be allowed to leave these buildings to fall into this state – Dudley Council must take control.”

Cradley councillor Richard Body said: “The council has been warned – if anyone is injured or killed the council will at least be partly to blame.”

The Golden Cup takeaway on the end of the parade where three shops are closed down is owned by the council and Cllr Body said there are three separate parties interested in buying the whole site.

But to do that the council would first have to compulsory purchase all four derelict shops and land from two private landlords.

One of the owners could not be contacted by the News, but the other, Shakil Hussain, who owns the empty Shak’s Balti and adjoining two premises apologised for their dilapidated state.

He vowed to board them up this weekend and said he hoped to start work on creating a restaurant and takeaway in the units in a couple of months.

But a council spokesman revealed his planning permission, granted four years ago, had expired under the new three-year ruling. Consent used to last for five years.

But Cllr Hilary Bills, cabinet member responsible for environment and culture, said the council was looking at how it could use its powers to resolve the issues.

She added: “Following detailed engagement with local people, we are in discussions with potential development partners to see if we can put together a viable scheme that would redevelop the entire block at Colley Gate.”

Council officers will update residents at a meeting of the Cradley Action Group at The Laurels, Windmill Hill on Wednesday June 18 at 7pm.

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