FED-UP Cradley residents are calling for urgent action to make safe a row of derelict shops before someone is hurt after a long-awaited development stalled yet again.

Residents are also frustrated after a proposed development to improve the area has failed to get off the ground - leaving the row of eyesore shops on Colley Gate crumbling.

Christine Legiewicz, of Cradley Residents' Association, said she is worried a child could be hurt by masonry or tiles falling off one of the three derelict shops next to the former Golden Cup Chinese, which has now also closed.

The derelict shops have blighted the area for years.

Christine, who is "at her wits end" after working for 11 years with Dudley Council and proposed developers on schemes to improve the area, said: "Kids are crawling in and out of the one building.

"It's on a school run, if a tile falls off on a windy day and hits a child someone will be held responsible.

"If you look inside they are held up by props.

"The landlord promised me he would sort it out but he hasn't.

"I can't believe in this day and age owners can allow their buildings to dilapidate into such a dangerous state and not be held accountable.

"When will someone do something to help us in Cradley?"

The 71-year-old met with developer Hortons Estate Ltd last Tuesday - and now a possible scheme could be a row of four starter shops with accommodation above, but nothing has been proposed.

Initially a large development along the whole street - Colley Gate from its junction with Colley Lane up to the council car park next to Nisa supermarket, at the junction of Maple Tree Lane, was planned - but in the interim years the Nisa supermarket and Chainmaker's Fish and Chip shop have opened and are doing well, along with the chemist.

Christine said: "We have had promises, upon promises, upon promises.

"It's been 11 years and I am at my wits end - at one point we were told the developer had been given compulsory purchase powers by the council.

"At one stage it was going to be a health centre.

"I have dealt with people who have since left their jobs at the council. We've had the former MP Margot James involved.

"We were told contracts had been exchanged - but now we get to the nitty gritty it seems nothing has happened.

"At one point Dudley Council had a consultant working on it - I wonder how much they paid him?

"How much up to now has it cost to achieve nothing?"

Richard Norgrove, of Hortons, said it is still interested in developing Colley Gate.

He said: "We are working with the action group and the council.

"All options are still open.

"It's an area we like and we want to see it developed."

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Councillor David Vickers, deputy leader of Dudley Council, (pictured above with Christine Legiewicz) said: "I'm trying everything I can to get the row of shops voided up for safety reasons and have asked the council officers involved to make that happen and to bill the owner of the premises or that he is made to come and do it himself - but it needs to be done immediately.

"It looks terrible and it has looked terrible for years.

"The shops need to be demolished - there's quite a lot of land behind the chemists which is owned by the Bhandals.

"I would like to see the whole area developed, into what I don't know.

"There were talks about a health centre - the shopkeepers would like extra shops to make the area more attractive.

"But the figures have got to be right - it seems like the shops need to be demolished and then someone can say ok I can do something, but it seems no-one wants the cost of demolishing them.

"It's got to be sorted."

The council owns the Golden Cup premises and the car park on Maple Tree Lane.

Councillor Ian Kettle, Dudley Council's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: “Officers have been out to the area in the last week to investigate concerns raised by local councillors and residents.

"They found damage to one of the properties allowing access and intend to serve a notice on the owner to get it secured immediately.

“We understand the frustrations of residents and are committed to working with them to bring about change in the area.

"We have appointed Hortons, a developer, to work up a viable development scheme for the area and they are currently carrying out preparatory works.

"Hortons provide regular updates on their progress at the local community forum.”