THE FIGHT to save an historic Oldbury canal basin now looks certain to end in failure.

Councillors sitting on Sandwell planning committee last night agreed to approve in principle an application from a haulage firm to infill Valencia Wharf once a flood risk assessment has been carried out.

Final approval will now be given at a later date.

The move will disappoint residents and organisations who campaigned against the plan - claiming the basin is of historic value to the region’s canal network.

Councillor Tony Ward told the committee: “I am very much against this kind of thing happening, where you are losing waterways, in normal circumstances.

“But having been to the site today I believe it would be to the advantage of everyone to fill it.”

The committee was told planning officers had changed their recommended the scheme for refusal because there had been no flood risk assessment.

The scheme was opposed by canal enthusiasts including Birmingham Canal Navigation Society - who claimed 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.