Is a retirement village in Cradley the worst option available?

11:33am Thursday 6th December 2012

As someone who lives very near the old Cradley High School and leisure centre it seems to me, and friends and neighbours that I talk to locally, that a retirement village would be much better proposition than ordinary housing scheme for several reasons.

The main ones being jobs on the site and the lesser impact of increased traffic, that flats and houses would bring – the Stourbridge Road already being over busy. I would prefer to see a leisure centre with changing rooms back on the site, perhaps with a swimming pool and roller or ice rink; but pipe dreams aren’t going to happen. However I also think a retirement facility of this class would be an asset to the area.

I am a Clerk of Works and used to looking at plans, and there are two major aspects about the proposals that I do not like, firstly that most of the development is four storeys and secondly it is clad in blue brickwork which will be totally dominant over the park, like a blue shadow; whereas the School was in a light red brick with red tiles which fitted in with the surrounding houses, and it sloped gently back to three storeys, as if it were part of the hill (see attached photos).

This development as it stands will be clearly seen as you drive down from Windmill Hill and will be very in your face, you will be easily able to identify it from Mucklows Hill!

Aside from this I am wondering if the road, that is already there by the way, needs to be widened at all – it is mostly straight and therefore with the introduction of appropriately sized and located passing places (surfaced with grassed concrete paving) with traffic priority signs surely it would suffice. The school and leisure centre seemed to cope. Alternatively could not a one way system be introduced using Homer Hill Road the other side as an exit, I note that all the plans of the development seem to conveniently cut off the relevant part which would show this possibility.

I am unsure whether to join the councillor in fighting this proposal, or just fight to get it made acceptable. What is holding me back from totally objecting to it is the thought of the alternative that we might end up with. A high density housing development, slums of the future.

David Beale MICWCI

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