August 24th – At Chester Road near the Stonnall turning, just before Castlehill, change is afoot. The old quarry with the hardstanding, idle since the 50s after it’s use as a concrete block manufacturing works is now undergoing groundworks for the construction of a new care home.
There have been a number of planning applications for this site over recent times, and permission for a fairly large elderly person’s care facility was granted last year and will involve extensive modifications to the road to mitigate the driveway.
It’ll be interesting to watch this progress.
August 17th – A sad, regrettable tragedy unfolds in Rushall at the moment as the former Rushall Mews care home, an 80s-built single level facility that once housed many vulnerable old folk will soon be no more.
After four or more years of lying unused, the demolition crews have moved in.
There was nothing wrong with this place; the features were modern and it was well staffed by caring people and loved by the community. Closed by a council desperate to save money like so many others, we are now left with a care crisis, but the land will soon be new homes, probably beyond the reach of first time buyers.
Like other lost care homes – Narrow Lane, St, James, Greenwood House, Scotch Orchard – the gradual erosion of our social state makes me very sad indeed.
June 29th – Intrigued and saddened to see the Four Crosses pub in Shelfield – the last pub in the area, closed a few months ago – now up for sale as a ‘residential development site’.
Planning permission was granted some time ago to build a care home behind the pub and adjoining it; the developer recently tried to get the admission criteria loosened to allow those needing care additional to senior citizens to be admitted. Combined with the pub’s closure, there was a furore in the community and false rumours it was to be a drug, alcohol, mental health or bail hostel.
I would imagine that permission has been denied, or is not looking positive, despite rewording to exclude contentious groups, and the developer has decided to cut their losses and sell.
The building was granted meaningless Asset of Community Value status and a petition raised, too. Both have proven now to be pointless. From a development that looked like it may retain the pub, it now looks likely the building might be lost altogether under more housing.
At the heart of this is a basic truth nobody seems prepared to face: you cannot force people to keep running a business they don’t want to. It’s the huge elephant in the room that sits unspoken in many debates about the future of once-great pubs like this one.
A cautionary tale hangs here, I think. I shall watch with interest.