Interesting views on Brierley Hill Civic Centre as new management offer vision and drive

DCVS has a good blog post on their website about the Civic Centre following up on their event there in March regarding its future.

Users seem to be somewhat unhappy with how they’re been treated under council control. Hopefully, now this has been identified the new management arrangements will help to put things right.

Although questions arise about the lack of public consultation over the future of the centre before a decision was taken which would have highlighted some important issues – such as securing investment for the future – it is really good to see someone with enthusiasm and vision driving the Centre forward.

Consultation in pipeline over regeneration plans for Brierley Hill From Stourbridge News

Consultation in pipeline over regeneration plans for Brierley Hill From Stourbridge News.

PLANS to hold a six-week consultation on a new design guide for Brierley Hill to help shape the area’s future look are due to be approved on Wednesday March 14).

Dudley Council’s cabinet has been recommended to back a proposal to hold a consultation from Monday March 19 to May 20 in response to the council’s draft Design in Brierley Hill Town Centre supplementary planning document – which forms part of the newly-adopted Brierley Hill Area Action Plan.

Development in the town is guided firstly by the adopted Brierley Hill Area Action Plan, which sets out the vision for the future and guides the location, use, design and infrastructure requirements of any new development.

But the additional planning document aims to encourage a high standard of design for new developments happening under the framework of the area action plan. It will also influence any new retail development in Brierley Hill High Street, as well as streets, public spaces, green spaces and public transport hubs up to 2026.

To view the plan go to then click ‘planning policy’’, then ‘Local Development Framework’ then ‘Design in Brierley Hill Town Centre SPD’.

Paper copies can be viewed at the borough’s main libraries or at council offices at 3 St James’s Road, Dudley, and Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, during the six-week consultation.

Survey: shoppers like Brierley Hill but there’s work to be done

A survey of shoppers and residents in Brierley Hill has revealed that there is a great affection for the town, but people feel that there is still work to be done to make improvements.

Addressing a meeting of Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership, on Tuesday 24th May, Shona Gilsenan, a volunteer with the Artspace and Brierley Hillness projects, explained that face to face interviews with shoppers in the High Street and other members of the community had taken place to help decision makers determine priorities and to guide new developments planned for the town.  She said:

“On the positive side there were some important key messages.
“People liked the old buildings in the town and wanted new developments to reflect the best of the architecture already present.
“Most people come to the town centre on business.  Interestingly many said that they never went to Merry Hill and preferred the local shops.  The markets are a particular strength.  One described Brierley Hill as a good typical Black Country town, whilst another said him came all the way from Halesowen as the best Black Puddings are sold on the High Street”.
But respondents also had suggestions for improvement.  The frontage of many shops was depressing, the removal of trees was much lamented and there was a need for more flowers to make the area brighter.  The lack of free car parking was also perceived as a problem as it limited shoppers’ time in the town.
In a separate survey of 74 primary school children 65% said that old buildings in the town should be preserved.
The Partnership agreed to ask for more details of the survey results and to request its High Street Working Party to look at ways of implementing suggested improvements.
For further information please contact Shona on

Area Action Plan nearing completion

Brierley Hill Area Action Plan – a key planning document which will guide future developments in the area – is reaching its final run in to adoption following an ‘Examination in Public’ held at Dudley Council House in December.  Planners are now looking to formally adopt the plan this summer.

The proposed plan which will guide the creation of over 10,000 new jobs, a significant expansion of the Merry Hill Centre, the building of over 3,000 new homes in the area, and the introduction of more leisure and community facilities, was subject to questioning by Inspector Vincent Maher during a week of meetings and visits.

Community groups, council officials, traders, environmentalists, developers and landlords all attended the examination.

Overall the process was very positive – not a surprise given the amount of consultation that has taken place over the last decade.

Points of debate centred around how to improve public transport to the town, how to enhance the High Street, the impact of the introduction of car park charging at Merry Hill, how best to protect and enhance wildlife in the area and  the role of manufacturing within the plan.

Mr Maher is now considering his report on whether the plan conforms to national requirements and is realistic in its delivery prospects.  His report should be available at the end of this month, February.

All being well the plan should be ready for adoption this summer and the hard work of implementing it will gain a further boost.

Brierley Hill Area Action Plan, Examination in Public

The examination in public of Brierley Hill Area Action Plan by the planning inspectorate kicks off on December 7th at the Council House in Dudley.  The inspector will review the Plan which sets out a framework for the regeneration of the area.  Debate will focus around a number of questions, the outline for which is given below.

Timetable 3 November 2010 MOR

What do you think the new Brierley Hill should look like?

As one of the key regeneration areas in the West Midlands Brierley Hill is expected to provide over 3,000 new homes, an increase in shopping facilites and 250 thousand square metres of new offices.  Transport improvements are also planned.

Already new buildings have been constructed: the £25 million new Health and Social Care Centre, the Merry Hill £24 million food court ‘Eat Central, and the new Brierley Hill Creative Industries Campus for Stourbridge College.  Improvements to transport are already underway with the completion of the £28 million Venture Way.

But it as old Brierley Hill, Merry Hill and the Waterfront are linked together it is important that the town looks and feels good, and there is a real positive sense of identity for residents and visitors.

One way of achieving this is to set out expectations that develpers will have to meet when designing new buildings.  This is done througha ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ and Dudley Council is seeking views on what this should contain now.

You can read the document and questionnaire below and have your say by 18th October 2010.  Enquiries should be addressed to

More information is available at:–planning/planning/local-development-framework/bhill-urb-des

Brierley Hill Supplementary Planning Document Report – With Answer Boxes

Brierley Hill Design Guidance put on hold

Plans to draw up design guidance for new developments in Brierley Hill has been put on hold to late summer. 

The delay will enable the council to focus on its efforts on the Joint Core Strategy examination in public.  The Joint Core Strategy is an important planning and regeneration document which sets out how the Black Country Councils aim to tackle key issues such as jobs, housing, shopping centres in the area.

Officers will be available for consultation events in December.

Urban Design in Brierley Hill Town Centre: event and consultation

How should buildings in the new Brierley Hill look?  How can design influence the ‘feel’ and viability of a town centre?  Can crime be designed out?

Brierley Hill Civic Society will be having a presentation from Dudley Council on these matters on Monday 19th July at 5.30pm at St Michael’s, Brierley Hill.  If you are interested in the future of your town please come and join us.  The council’s website explains the process of drawing up the ‘Supplementary Planning Document and this will be a chance to have your say… Continue reading Urban Design in Brierley Hill Town Centre: event and consultation

May Day in Brierley Hill – your views wanted

CFP have been commissioned by Dudley MBC Economic Regeneration Division to research the impact of events upon the vitality and viability of the town centres in Dudley. We’d like to hear your views about the impact of the recent Funday in Brierley Hill Town Centre.

 Please take a couple of minutes to complete the short online survey at

 All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence and only aggregated data will be used which cannot be attributed to individuals or organisations. CFP are registered with the Information Commissioner and our use of the data is governed by the Data Protection Act 1998.

If you would like any help completing the survey or wish to discuss any aspect of the survey please contact Adrian Spray at CFP on 01562 887884.

Brierley Hill regeneration a ‘moral imperative’

Early projection of Brierley Hill town centre

Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership has urged planning authorities to press ahead with plans to regenerate the area, describing the need to tackle social disadvantage a ‘moral imperative’.

The partnership issued its call to action as part of its representation on the Brierley Hill Area Action Plan – consultation on which closed on Friday 1th January.

At its meeting the previous day the partnership had heard of social need in the area where the average life span of males living in the ward is a shocking seven years less than in nearby more affluent wards. Continue reading Brierley Hill regeneration a ‘moral imperative’