BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘housing’

#365daysofbiking All for the best

Wednesday March 3rd 2021 – Returning from work again in the middle evening, it was a much clearer night as I crossed the Pier Street pedestrian bridge back into Brownhills, a traditional homecoming when the canal towpaths are not too wet.

Thankfully, they seem to be drying out a little, at last.

I love the look of the new housing along the canalside here at night. This used to be such an empty, desolate area, especially in the dark. It looks so much more alive and inhabited now, almost cosy in the streetlight.

Definitely change for the better.

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#365daysofbiking The changing skyline

Thursday December 17th 2020 – Another classic muse for me in winter is the view from Catshill Junction Bridge towards Brownhills, over the wide of the junction to the new flats in the foreground.

When I started this journal, only the tower block to the left was here and the rest was mostly derelict scrub, cleared of a large tower block in 2004.

As the years passed, new housing appeared and the skyline has totally changed – you used to be able to stand here in a feeling of solitude, but not anymore. Humanity is close now: You can smell cooking, cigarettes. Hear chatter, TVs and kids playing.

The skyline has changed, for the better, and I think makes for a more interesting photo. But I do miss the solitude a bit.

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#365daysofbiking Changing places

August 30th – I headed into Brownhills to pick up a takeaway on the way home.

Riding up Pier Street from the canal, I realised how changed this area was. With the new housing on the former market site, this now feels way less desolate at night and actually looks quite warm and cosy.

The design of these homes is pleasant and care was clearly taken with line and materials to extend the line of the street.

I like this very much – and more people living in the centre of town can only be good for the place.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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#365daysofbiking Chains changed:

November 16th – Heading back to Brownhills and home, I stopped to look at the view of Silver Street now the building works are finished here. Around 200 new, modern dwellings on what was 12 year dead wasteland and an abandoned marketplace. The change from desolation to signs of life and habitation is remarkable. Every time I see it, I struggle to take in the massive change here.

Change for the better.

About 6 years ago I speculated that this then desolate, windswept, empty place was haunted by the ghosts of civic failure. They have been exorcised, and gradually, almost imperceptibly, there are signs of life developing in my old town again. The people that live in these houses now will use the local takeaways, pop for a paper, a haircut and use the high street out of convenience. No, it’ll never boom like it did, but this trade fillip has to be welcome. 

Finally, Brownhills is becoming unshackled from the system built housing misadventure of the sixties. All we need to do now is finally rid ourselves of the blight that is Ravens Court…

February 10th – I’m liking the look of the houses going up on the old Brownhills market site right now. Hopefully, when complete they’ll bring lightness and a more populated feel to this once very open, wind-swept area of town, and hopefully also much needed footfall for the High Street.

Since the new houses became occupied on nearby recent developments, there has been a notable increase in people on the High Street, which can’t be a bad thing.

January 15th – One thing did impress, though: The new housing estate on the old market site in Silver Street is coming on apace.

I’m so glad to see this – it’s been so barren, so open here for an awful long time. To see life here at night will be wonderful, and hopefully, the nearby High Street will see more trade.

For once, I’m not pessimistic about the future of my town. We might, just might, break even.

September 9th – Change is happening fast at the site of the old market in Brownhills. At the start of the week the earthmovers and excavators were just moving on site, and a mere five days later the groundworks are well underway with new sewers and the like being dug.

I’m sad to see the marketplace gone in some ways – like most Brownhillians I remember the good days of the market here as being excellent – but we have to move on, and the days of prosperity for the traditional market generally in the UK have long since passed, their job being replaced by online retailers and everyone’s favourite tat bazaar, eBay.

But it will also be nice to see life here again once more.

September 4th – Returning to Brownhills in the evening, I was pleased to note that the development of new housing seems to have finally started on the site of the old market place off Silver Street, with earthmoving plant commencing operations.

Realistically, we have no chance of ever getting the market back, and the space it occupied has lain idle for five years or more. It’s open, sad and dispiriting and the houses being built here will be a great improvement, and will also mean an end to the serial occupation of the site by travellers.

A good thing, a long time coming.

August 5th – Looping back, still with a heavy heart, I stopped on the Pier Street bridge and noticed that more exploratory groundworks had been taking place on the old market site off Silver Street, clearly in preparation for new housing given permission there.

I’m all for that and hope work starts soon – anything that makes this area look less open and bleak is welcome to me.

That thought, at least, made me somewhat brighter.

December 14th – I went back to Kings Hill, to have another shot at that night view of Wednesbury, this time with the FZ72. It’s still not quite what I’d like, so will try on a clear, crisp night with the Nikon (tonight was quite murky and damp, so wasn’t ideal). Still, the camera made a decent fist of it considering the operator hasn’t a clue what he’s actually doing.

I know what I want here, and I’m not sure if it’s even possible with the kit I have. I think the Nikon may be the job though, it can do the harsh light thing I like.

Closer than yesterday. It still looks gorgeous.