LONG-suffering Cradley residents are hopeful that derelict shops in Colley Gate will be redeveloped after interest from two supermarkets was revealed.
Dudley Council refused to name the companies which had responded to development opportunity adverts for the site, which includes seven empty shops.
But at a meeting council officers told residents’ representative Lynn Adams and Cradley Action Group co-founder Chris Legiewizc two of the interested parties are large supermarket companies.
Council officials said talks with shop owners – Shakil Hussain and Edwin Goodman – had led to indications they would sell, avoiding the need to compulsory purchase the buildings which have become targets for vandals and arsonists.
The meeting was called by deputy leader Councillor Pete Lowe after more than a year-long campaign by Cradley Action Group and many years of complaints from nearby homeowners.
Mrs Adams, whose Colley Lane home overlooks the parade of mainly empty shops said: “It was a constructive meeting with all attendees agreeing to work together for the future of Colley Gate.”
It is hoped the Golden Cup takeaway which occupies a council-owned unit on the parade will be relocated and that the Modi Pharmacy will take one of the new retail shops.
The meeting, was told it will take six to 12 months before demolition and new building is likely.
In the meantime, the council plans to remove asbestos which was exposed during a recent arson attack on the former single storey antique shop and will charge the cost to Mr Goodman the owner. The Halesowen recluse is also to be requested to erect a temporary barrier as a gesture of goodwill to secure the rear of the premises.
Mrs Adams said: “Working together we can make a difference and although it may seem a long way away, it’s a start to what may be the way future councils throughout the UK clean up their towns and villages.”
But she is dismayed that some of the overgrown greenery at the back of the derelict shops, bordering her garden, had been chopped down and left, creating fly tipping.
“It makes me cross because we are desperately trying to get the area secure and tidied up and this happens. Of course, with the site at the back exposed even more, this will encourage more fly tipping,” added Mrs Adams.