#365daysofbiking Canal dreams:
December 7th – After a long day at work carrying out boring tasks, I left collecting a pal on the way. We popped in passing to Walsall’s Town Wharf, as the Arboretum I was aiming for actually had an event ongoing.
Town Wharf and the waterside here are gorgeous at night. Finally reaching potential after near enough two decades, this place has taken a long, long time for regeneration to happen, but it looks wonderful in the shadow of Walsall’s remarkable New Art Gallery.
Sadly, the state of retail being what it is, the centre of Walsall only 100 or so yards away, remains depressed.
But here at leat, developer dreams seem to be coming to fruition.
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 9th – In Kings Hill, after many years of dereliction, I note someone has been working on the former Scott Arms pub. Like it’s namesake in Kingstanding, the once popular house had fallen out of favour and closed some time ago, becoming nothing more than a blot on a changing urban landscape.
This pub used to be rammed lunchtimes when there were big factories nearby – Servis and Exidoor to name but two; but in these days of workplace alcohol bans and with the workshops now housing, there was no business to keep this pub going.
I’d wager it’s future is probably flats, or as a house of multiple occupation, looking at the way the upstairs windows have been fitted. Whatever it is, I doubt the Scott Arms will ever serve ale again.
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 25th – The land at the bottom of Bentley Mill Way, wedged in behind the houses on the Darlaston Road, the motorway and canal has been vacant and derelict a very long time, in fact as long as I can remember. Blighted by former shallow mining, and probably contaminated, this is scarred industrial wasteland that also has the River Tame flowing through it.
Since last year, work has been taking place on upgrading the adjacent Bentley Mill Way for a new improved road system, loftily touted to ‘improve development potential’.
In all the regeneration-bullshit that’s ebbed and flowed, there has been talk of reclaiming this land and building on it, and architect’s drawings of a particularly odd building have been circulated.
Someone has clearly been enticed here, as fresh boreholes have been drilled in the last week; those coloured pipes with locked caps are sleeved bores for surveying purposes.
Whilst the wasteland green is pretty in the summer, it would be nice to see building here. Let’s hope something happens soon.