BULLDOZERS moved in to demolish Cradley Heath’s iconic Municipal Buildings this week to make way for a new fire station and leisure centre car parking.

The historic moment was captured on film by News reader and nearby resident Pete Lopeman.

The site, on the corner of Halesowen Road and Barrs Road, is expected to be cleared by the end of November, weather permitting, with the demolition contractors recycling the materials as well as back-filling the basement void with the resulting crushed rubble.

It is hoped work will start on building the new £3 million community fire station, which will serve Cradley Heath and Halesowen, and the 30-space overflow car park for the adjacent Haden Hill Leisure Centre, next March.

Plans for the controversial station were approved by the West Midlands Fire Authority last month, but a planning application will not be submitted to Sandwell Council until December.

Existing overflow parking spaces used by leisure centre customers have been temporarily moved to land off Lee Road, including Old Hill Tennis Club and Haden Hill Park weekdays between 4pm and 10pm, Saturdays from 8am until 1pm and all day Sunday subject to events Sandwell Leisure Trust’s deputy chief executive Ash Rai said the spaces would be reopened once the demolition is complete.

The Muncipal Buildings, which date from the 1930s, are no longer required by Sandwell Council, which has sold the site to the leisure trust and fire authority.

The decisions to close the existing fire stations in Halesowen and Old Hill in favour of one community station and to cut the number of fire engines from two to one caused outrage early this year, but protesters backed off from making a legal challenge on cost grounds.