BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘derelict’

#365daysofbiking Down amongst the derelict

Monday November 30th 2020 – The weather remained bad, and heading home late up Brownhills High Street, I stopped to check a text, and then looked to my left.

Ravens Court was never a success. Opened in 1964, this dystopian, anonymous shopping precinct was mostly empty until 1970. It enjoyed a period of being mostly fully let for about 15 years, then it began to go to seed. A failed development by Tesco and its acquisition by property speculators sealed the fate of this dingy, concrete shopping parade. It’s owners never re-let the vacated shops and for the best part of a decade it’s been deserted and decaying, right in the heart of Brownhills.

It’s shape as a plot is bad. It’s on a pronounced gradient. There’s a lot of demolition to do. The site is unattractive, and this is not a time for retail investment.

In private ownership, the council are powerless to duo anything, much, and to the town’s frustration, we are left with this rotting monument to opportunist modernism.

Hopefully something will change here, soon. But I’m not optimistic.

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#365daysofbiking Dark, dark heart

November 15th – It had, at least, stopped raining. I arrived in Brownhills to overcast skies but thankfully, for once, dry.

I stopped to re-tie my lace at Ravens Court, the derelict, abandoned shopping precinct in the middle of Brownhills.

Beyond me in the heart of darkness there are no longer any shops in the place, and it sits, gently decaying, unloved and beyond the reach of anyone who cares to sort it out.

One day it will be gone, and this sad place will no longer be a focus for that which ails our town. But until then, it makes for a very eerie night image.

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#365daysofbiking Garden ruin


October 19th – Originally featuring tennis courts, gardens and bowling greens, the original, once beautiful Oak Park has been pretty much abandoned and allowed to decay in recent years.

This is a crime, and a civic insult to the miners and citizens of Walsall Wood to whom this place was a gift.

Only the bowling club, with a well kept, securely fenced green still get the benefit of this sad, lost place.

I cannot countenance a world where there simply isn’t the money allowed to look after our civic amenities like this.

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#365daysofbiking Stumped

October 19th – Nipping over to Walsall Wood on an errand, I crossed the sadly fading old Oak Park – not the leisure centre of the same name, but the formerly ornamental park that gave the centres their name.

Near a bench by the old waterlogged bowling green, an amazingly vivid colony of what I think is honey fungus.

There was a fair collection of disparate fungus here, to be fair. About the only thing that seems to be doing well in this sad, lost park.

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#365daysofbiking Where there’s a will

July 6th – Spotted proudly sprouting from beneath the derelict coal chute at Anglesey Wharf, a bramble appears in rube health after somehow growing through the paper-tin gap between a bolt head and the base of the old chute.

It just went to show, considering my low mood, that nature – and goodness – always finds a way.

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#365daysofbiking Primrose and proper

April 14th – Spotted on a morning errand, these primroses and scattered down the bank of the McClean Way, the cycle and walking route on the former South Staffordshire railway line through the heart of Brownhills, just below the Miner Island.

I remember as a child watching trains thunder through here full of coal, oil or cars. Now, the lines are lifted and after 30 years of decay, the wonderful Back the Track group led by human dynamo Brian Stringer have done an excellent job of reclaiming the permanent way for public use – and their hard work continues.

These primroses don’t seem much, but they’re a huge achievement. Take a bow, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Rising again


February 23rd – It’s not often there’s good news to share on pubs here, I normally note their closing but seldom their re-opening.

I had noted the sad state of the Meynell-Ingram Arms at Hoar Cross more than once, after its sudden closure in 2014. I genuinely thought it would never open again.

This charming old country pub was in it’s day a decent place and could, I think, be a great destination for a decent rural pint and a meal. It’s great that it’s being refurbished and revitalised.

You can find out more here on the website.

I wish the new owners the very best in their new venture.

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#365daysofbiking The rising

 

February 10th – A real four seasons in one day experience, with rain, snow, hail and bright warm sunshine that made for a great afternoon at Chasewater. From the snowdrop glade near the derelict dam house to the view over the fields from the canal to Hammerwich, they day was just bursting with spring.

The water level is rising fast now too, with Fly Creek and the feed from Jeffrey’s swag now enlarged by recent rains.

This spring thing. It’s happening. And most welcome it is too.

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#365daysofbiking An end to Police brutalism in Walsall

January 24th – There is a madness afoot in the country, and possibly the broader western world in the last 10 years or so, and I can see no solution in sight.

Governments come to power on the promise of austerity and cutting spending, yet close used and needed public facilities that took decades to be obtained – in a flash. And so we lost the police station in Walsall on Green Lane, built in the Brutalist period of the 60s, which was closed in response to spending cuts in 2016. Police now have to take suspects to Oldbury when arrested, which is impacting officer availability and causing great inefficiency.

The building itself – an unremarkable modernist structure – was sold to developers and is currently being demolished.

We will need a police station again. The situation as it is is not working.

And it will cost us far more than closing this one saved to sort the mess out.

And when some politician grasps the nettle and does it, they will be derided for financial profligacy.

But the real crime is cutting things communities need, in the interests of short term political gain.

It takes years to build communities, and days to destroy them with cuts. The recklessness seems in the axe-hand to me.

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July 12th – One indicator of an advancing summer I always have mixed feelings about is buddleia. This purple-flowering, profuse shrub, sometimes known as the butterfly bush is great for bugs and bees and lepidoptera of all kinds – but the one issue I have is it’s the shrub of urban decay.

This versatile plant will grow anywhere it can find – gutters, chimneys, soot-filled fissures in brickwork, and once it takes hold it will destroy masonry as it grows. It’s the sign of dereliction in summer, growing old disused rail lines, factory yards and edgelands of all types.

A fascinating, but destructive plant.