Since I was elected in 2017, I have been working with Council bosses to tackle derelict sites in Walsall North. It's often an issue that local residents raise with me, as they are a blight on our community. Not only are these buildings unsightly but they also pose a risk to local residents, often becoming sites for anti-social behaviour and community safety concerns.
It is vital that the Council take tough action on these rogue landowners and the Government will continue to push for stronger measures to help enforce action and fines against derelict site owners.
In Walsall North, we have sites such as the Brown Jug, The Eagle, Royal Exchange, the old Ingersol Rand Building and derelict industrial sites. The Deputy Leader of Walsall Council has created a Taskforce to identify dilapidated vacant sites across the borough and take action. I will be meeting with the Taskforce to ensure that they take these rogue owners to task. At present, there is an open enforcement investigation underway on the owner of the Brown Jug and I hope that these measures will be applied across the other sites in Walsall North.
I have been instrumental in the development of sites like the old Elkingtons factory in Goscote and Caparo in Birchills, which have been transformed into new energy-efficient homes for local families, whilst working in partnership with local housing associations. By working with developers and housing associations we can continue to bring these vacant sites back into use and give a new lease of life to unloved buildings.
The Willenhall Framework Plan has also set out a 10-year vision to transform derelict sites in Willenhall Town Centre into high-quality housing. Some of these sites are already taking shape and planning applications have been approved on sites such as the old Eagle Works and Shakespeare Inn. Applications have gone in for buildings on Ensdale Row and demolition plans have been approved for the old Ingersol Rand building, on the corner of Moat Street and Stafford Street.
Local Councillors continue to highlight concerns raised by residents and scrutinise the handling of derelict sites. I will continue to work with Councillors to make sure that these concerns are raised in the Council House and in Parliament.
Community Safety and Anti-Social Behaviour remain a concern on these sites, although the council is aware of activity in these areas, it is crucial that we continue to report these matters to the Council and the Police. Please contact Walsall Council's Community Protection Team on 01922 653060 and any non-urgent incident to West Midlands Police by calling 101 or using the online chat on WMP website: https://west-midlands.police.uk/contact-us/live-chat.
I will continue to raise these matters with the Council and if you have any particular concerns, please share them with me here.