THE FATE of an historic 240-year-old Oldbury canal basin hangs in the balance with a decision due on plans to fill it.

An application from haulage firm Joseph Holloway Ltd to infill Valencia Wharf basin is set to be decided by Sandwell planning committee tomorrow, Wednesday April 22).

The wharf, most recently used for residential boat moorings, is on land owned by the company who want to accommodate more parking and ease vehicle movement.

This has been opposed by residents and various organisations who claim the basin is of historic value to the region’s canal network.

Graham Whorton, chairman of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, said losing the wharf would lead to a loss of local heritage and a tourist attraction.

He said: “Its retention is essential to enable the community to celebrate its history and make sure it is available for future generations.

“We accept it is impossible and unreasonable to attempt to preserve all historic features and structures but in this case it is the last remaining wharf in Oldbury on the old main line.

“When it’s gone it will be gone forever.”

The society believe the wharf could provide good quality residential moorings - boosting trade for the town’s shops - or even used in the future for commercial goods carrying.

Dating back to 1769, the basin was once home to the Allen boatyard and the Chance & Hunt chemical manufacturers.

Objections to the plan have also been raised by the Environment Agency because of a lack of flood risk assessment, while the firm incurred the wrath of the council in November by piling rubble into the wharf without permission.

A report by planning officers has recommended the scheme for conditional approval, though councillors opted to view the site before making a decision.

Joseph Holloway Ltd were unavailable for comment as the News went to press.

Log on to on Thursday for news and reaction from tomorrow’s planning committee