The exciting new vision for Brierley Hill…from 1944!

In March 1944 Brierley Hill Urban District Council received a proposed master plan for the area.  It presents a fascinating insight into how the town’s future was envisaged by leading dignitaries.  It is interesting to see how the plan influenced the town as it is today.  Below are some of my thoughts and the full article for the County Express.

What do you think?

1944 Master Plan Brierley Hill

  • The plan is the first recorded proposal for the new road in Brierley Hill which eventually opened as Venture Way in 2008 – a mere 64 years after the original idea was put forward to the Council. It remains open to debate whether this has resulted in the High Street becoming “…  a convenient and pleasant by way where shopping, amusements, and business activities could be carried on in comfort without danger from passing traffic.”
  • In recent years considerable debate has taken place over the Western Orbital proposal for a road to the West of the Black Country conurbation. Here, the 1944 visionaries discuss how hard it is to bypass the Amblecote Wolverhampton road – their concerns on this turned out to be correct as the Western Orbital was abandoned 12 years ago.
  •  The plan recognised that Brierley Hill is made up from distinct local communities. Building on this it is envisaged developing new homes around “existing nuclei”. This seemed to have been an effective part of the plan – as evidenced by the “new” community centres at Brockmoor, Kingswinford, Wordsley and Quarry Bank.
  • The illustration of the master plan for Brierley Hill town centre shows housing to the West.
  • This aspect of the plan was implemented through a “slum clearance” program lasting until the mid-1960s. The most visually striking example of this is the Chapel Street Flats. But Cottage Street, Level Street, Fenton Street, and Albion Street were all cleared. This has the unintended side-effect of damaging trade in the High Street. By the late 1950s traders were complaining about the “Exodus” of residents which had hit their businesses. They were looking forward to the building of the new flats at Chapel Street. All of this a quarter of a century before the development of the Merry Hill Centre.
  •  One of the biggest surprises was the proposal to use Marsh Park for the Civic Centre. This was to include council offices, a police station and a fire station. The idea was implemented almost fully – but at the other end of the town where the Civic Centre stands as evidence today.

Her is a transcript of the full story from the County Express, March 1944:

Approved by Brierley Hill Council

A report on post-war housing and reconstruction, prepares for Brierley Hill Urban District Council by their town planning consultant, Mr T. Alwen Lloyd and Mr H. Jackson, was adopted by the Council at their meeting on Monday.
The plan of reconstruction is a very extensive one, and has been worked out in some detail.
Cllr J. N. Hickman remarked that Brierley Hill was one of the first towns to move in that direction, and they would long have reason to be proud that at least in that one corner of the world there would be a brighter, healthier, and happier place in which to live.


It was reported that at an extraordinary meeting of the Public Works, Housing and General Purposes Committee on March 6, presided over by the Chairman (Cllr Hickman), the report of the councils Town Planning consultants, Messrs T. Alwyn Lloyd, P.P.T.P.I. and H. Jackson, F.R.I.B.A. was received. Mr Lloyd explained the principles which had guided his colleague and himself in the preparation of the report, and explain generally thereon, and afterwards he and Mr Jackson replied to points raised by various members.
The committee recommended that the report and recommendations be generally approved, and that the broad principles as to zoning, communications, open spaces, etc be included in the Council’s town planning scheme: also the Chairman and the Clerk of the Council consider what effective steps could be taken in regard to the publicity of the proposals. The Clerk explained that, with regard to the proposed Civic Centre in the Marsh Park, the conveyance to the Council contains a covenant restricting the use of the path the purposes of a public park and recreation grounds. He has been in communication with Messrs. Marsh and Baxter Ltd, and read a letter from the company stating that they would be prepared to waive the restriction to enable the Civic Centre to be constructed.


At Monday’s Council meeting, Cllr Hickman presented a summary of the report, which was as follows:
The report, with the accompanying maps refers to an outline planning scheme for the development of the urban district after the war, with the intention that after this has been duly considered by the Council, subject to any modification that may be decided on, the proposals shall automatically be embodied in the statutory planning scheme for the whole area. The present urban district comprises 5932 acres, with an estimated population in 1939 46,000. The district was only formed in 1934 by the amalgamation of the old Brierley Hill, Quarry Bank, and Kingswinford authorities. It contains a number of important industries of varied character. Existing development is of a dispersed order, consisting of communities that have grown up separately, and in consequence there is not the same cohesion as would have occurred if Brierley Hill had grown as one large concentration, such as one usually finds in other industrial towns.


The report recommends that advantage should be taken of the dispersed character of development by making the several parts of the district into better communities in the full sense, including the requested open spaces, shops, schools, communal facilities, and so on. Concurrently with this replanning of the outer areas, the central part of Brierley Hill proper has received close attention and a number of important improvements are recommended.
Roads: Owing to heavy congestion of traffic through the built-up area, it is evident that there must be traffic relief by new bypasses and other improvements in main road communications. The classified road A461  is a case in point, and the route for a bypass south of Brierley Hill is suggested from the direction of Stourbridge, avoiding Lye and continuing to Dudley, with a cross connections to the centre of Brierley Hill and other key points.
One of the chief recommendations is an internal bypass relieving the heavy traffic through the centre of Brierley Hill, by way of Church Street and High Street. This bypass or relief road would run immediately to the east of the High Street, through the old property and streets that in any case will have to be redeveloped before long. The internal bypass will include dual carriageways, service roads, with all necessary roundabouts and improvements at Street junctions. Alongside the relief road the future central bus station and car park for Brierley Hill have been placed.


Under this scheme, to be in accord with modern techniques for closely built-up areas, it is recommended that the High Street shopping and business zone should be treated as a precinct, kept free of heavy and fast through traffic, which would be diverted along the internal bypass. The High Street would then become a convenient and pleasant bye-way where shopping, amusements, and business activities could be carried on in comfort without danger from passing traffic.
Regarding the other chief classified road A491, running from Amblecote in the direction of Wolverhampton, it has not been found impossible to bypass this entirely, but suggestions are made for the drastic widening and improvement of the existing highway through Wordsley and Kingswinford.   Advantage has been taken of certain existing roads there for getting traffic relief, and the other important suggestion is for a through road to be constructed just east of the Kingswinford Wordsley crossroads, which could be undertaken as part of the post-war development of that area. There are also schemes put forward for improving the lateral routes via Bromley Lane and Brierley Road, Buckpool. That method would have the merit of avoiding a new north to south route through what is now largely open country of awkward level.
Future patterns of the urban district: there is particular emphasis on securing green belts and wedges of open land between and around the existing communities at Brierley Hill, Quarry Bank, Wordsley, Kingswinford, wall heath, and Pensnett, instead of these being linked up by a continuing process of ribbon development along the highways.  Each of these sub-centres comes in for separate treatment, and proposals are made for the location of community centres, to comprise full facilities for shopping, education, health, youth activities, amusements and open space.


The location for post-war housing, which naturally looms large in the Council’s programmes, has received detailed attention, and the report makes ample provision for new housing estates in suitable localities.  The principle followed has been to group these around existing nuclei so as to avoid sporadic disposition of housing, and conserve public services.  The new and old development would thus form compact communities where the residents will find scope for their social and cultural activities, as well as me housing provision.
The future of agriculture in the district has not been overlooked, and in appropriate places rural zones are included, in which farming, market gardening, and similar pursuits would continue. In the outlying portions of the district there will be opportunities for estate development of more open densities, so that houses of various types and sizes can be erected to suit public requirements. Special attention has been devoted to conserving the best soil for agriculture and horticulture, bearing in mind the fact that in pre-war years a great deal of this was sacrificed to uncoordinated building development. Effort should be made also to save all existing amenities and pleasant countryside still to be found within the urban district.
Industries: the district has suffered widely from the scars of past industrial activity. Proposals are made for treatment of the derelict sites, clearance of old debris, and levelling up tips and unsightly dumps, so that these can be brought into better use under the post war plan. There are recommendations for the extension of existing industries and for providing sites for new industries in certain areas. The continuing prosperity depends so much on industry that steps should be taken to retain the cooperation of industrialists and businessmen in securing a more orderly and efficient background to their activities in the future.


Civic Centre: Owing to the urgent need  for municipal buildings, steps were taken prior to the war to examine suitable sites, and preliminary proposals were explored. However, the authors of the report were asked to review the whole position and to advise the council on the most suitable location for the new civic centre. After pursuing their enquiries they came to the conclusion  that by far the best site for this purpose is Marsh Park and the land immediately adjoining it. This stands at the highest part and in the centre of Brierley Hill, where an imaginative scheme for public buildings grouped around formal gardens and other features on the hillside would dominate the town, and constitute a very fine scheme. This would include the clearing of some of the old properties and improving the access to Marsh Park up the slopes from several sides.
Redevelopment areas: Proposals are made for taking advantage for drastic replanning of these as occasion arises. One such area lies between the back of High Street and Moor Street,  and the railway. The plan includes for realignment and opening out of the streets for future buildings, including a better approach to and a new Brierley Hill station. There are other areas of this description which come within the replanning scheme.


Appreciative reference is made to the existing public open spaces, that these will be quite insufficient for post-war needs, and it is recommended that 150 to 200 additional acres should be secured. The chief proposal put forward is for obtaining an extensive area of central park belt. This would run from the north end of Middlepool  through the heart of the district, comprising old works, tips, pools, and waste lands as far as Buckpool,  where the park belt  would join the proposed rural zone. It would have incalculable amenity value and would avoid, as so often occurred in other towns, the indefinite extension of building over all land near the centre. The layout of this park built would give great scope for ingenuity and creating attractive features by the clearance of industrial debris,  afforestation  and planting of ornamental trees.   In it there would be fine opportunity for laying out large recreation grounds games pitches, playfields, and swimming baths. The park belt would enable pedestrians to walk through pleasant surroundings from one end of the district to the other, uninterrupted by main road traffic and rows of buildings.
All proposals in this report relating to the main roads will be submitted to the County Council.

The report was illustrated by a series of maps showing the general proposals, the Brierley Hill central replanning and civic centre and the neighbourhood planning of the five sub centres.
These were displayed around the Council Chamber.


Cllr Hickman said the meeting of the Public Works Committee was extraordinary in more ways than one. First, because of the most important and far-reaching proposals ever presented for consideration, and also for the remarkable unanimity and goodwill. He thought they would probably have to make adjustments to the proposals, which would take 50 years to complete, but some essential features could take place immediately after the war. Whilst the Council’s secrets should be safeguarded, he thought it would be interesting to exhibit some of the drawings in the town, and to publish the brochure.


The chairman (Cllr H Haden, JP)  said the adoption by the Council of the broad outline and general principles of the experts’ town planning and post-war reconstruction proposals marked an important step forward, and “vista of progress and development for their area. Big tasks lay ahead for that and future councils: tasks with commensurate opportunities. Time, money, energy, and enterprise would be required to give practical effect to the blueprint prepared by Messrs Lloyd and Jackson.   He expected the ratepayers would require to give their endorsement as the programme unfolded, but he had little doubt that general support and cooperation would be readily accorded, seeing that the object of the recommendations was to provide more houses, much-needed amenities, better communications, and improvement in the general conditions and layout of Brierley Hill urban district. “Let us hope” said Cllr. Haden, “that by reason of what in due time will be accomplished present and future generations may concede that in the year 1944 the members and officials of the Council showed courage, initiative and vision.”

Country Express March 1944

Brierley Hill SNOW wins right of representation at Clean Power Appeal

SNOW.jpgName: Tim Lee


Comments: Brierley Hill SNOW* Campaign: Update SNOW* has today been given “full party” status at the Planning Inquiry. This means that SNOW* will be able to represent the views of the community at the Inquiry “at the top table”, as well as Clean Power and Dudley MBC. This is a major step forward. We shall be filing a formal Statement of Case by 22 April, and our evidence by 20 May. The Inquiry starts on Tuesday 17 June at 10.00am at the Council House, Dudley. Would anyone interested in having a say at the Inquiry, please contact; or Tim Lee on (01384) 936 652

Say no to the waste site – Public Meeting Wednesday 26th February, 7pm, Insight House, Brierley Hill


A public meeting has been called to rally opposition to the Clean Power waste site proposed for Brierley Hill.  Residents and objectors have been invited to attend the meeting which will take place at Insight House, Pearson Street, Brierley Hill on Wednesday 26th February.  The meeting will start at 7pm.

Residents and councillors have come together to form the SNOW (Say No tO the Waste site) campaign and to discuss tactics in the light of the Clean Power appeal after the original application was turned down last August.

Campaign posters have been produced, a twitter account (@BrierleyHillSNO) web site ( and Facebook page have been established, and posters are being produced to demonstrate the strength of local feeling against the proposal.  A proposal which would bring food waste to within 20 metres of the nearest homes.

Speaking at a meeting of Brierley Hill Civic Society on Monday evening (17th February) leading spokesman Tim Lee said:

“We are hoping for as much support as possible.  The planning inspector will consider all of the planning issues.  We have great concerns about the proximity of the proposal to local homes as well as the prospect of hundreds of heavy vehicles visiting the site each week.”

Ward councillor Rachel Harris agreed at the meeting and stressed how the area had already suffered from the RDF ‘waste  mountain’ which is still the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.

Posters have been produced for local residents.

The Civic Society unanimously agreed to support the campaign and to lend its weight to any representations which are made.

For further information contact:

  • Tim Lee 01384 936 652 or
  • Cllr Rachel Harris 01902 490 139 or
  • Cllr Zafar Islam 07712 189 797

Alternatively email the campaign on


John Parry to speak at Brierley Hill Civic Society, Monday 5.30pm, St Michael’s

The Parry People Mover
The Parry People mover in Brierley Hill

Transport visionary John Parry will be the Civic Society’s main speaker at its open meeting on Monday 19th March 2012, at St Michael’s Church, Bell Street South Brierley Hill. The meeting will start at 5.30pm and all Brierley Hill residents are welcome to attend.

The Parry People Mover is an energy efficient tram-type vehicle which has been running for several years on the Stourbridge to Stourbridge Junction line.

Now plans are being developed to see if the service can be used between Stourbridge and Brierley Hill, offering a rapid and economic means of improved public transport.

Mr Parry wil be talking about the project and answering questions.

Former Lloyd’s site, Hawbush–Planning consultation–Mon19th March, Brierley Hill library

I thought you might like to know that I have been notified about a drop in session at Brierley Hill Library on the19th March from a company called Cerda Planning.

They are handling the public consultation work for Taylor Wimpey who are looking to go ahead with the development of the former Lloyds site on Brettell Lane. The site will back onto the Hawbush estate at the back of Westwood Street and exits onto Brettell Lane so some residents may want to know a little more about it.

The leaflet I have had proposes 100 homes (the original planning permission was for 156 plus apartments) and the outline plan also shows a cycle/footpath link onto Bull Street.

Cllr Rachel Harris

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

Regeneration plans move step closer as Joint Core Strategy examination concludes

The implementation of regeneration plans in Brierley Hill and the Black Country moved a step closer with the ‘Joint Core Strategy’ examination in public by planning inspectors in July.
The Joint Core Strategy is a key plan which sets out how the Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils plan to work together to regeneration the area. It states how the four councils and other partners will work together to tackle challenges included providing new homes, creating new jobs, improving the environment, and enhancing transportation in the region whilst driving up educational standards.
Statutory Local plans – such as the Brierley Hill Area Action Plan – have to fit in with the joint core strategy.
A meeting of Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership (2nd September) heard from senior Dudley Council planners that the enquiry had gone well. Inspectors had seemed impressed with the regeneration plans drawn up jointly by the four Black Country boroughs and the unity of the four authorities. The inspectors’ report is due in October and the Brierley Hill Area Action Plan examination in public is set to take place in December of this year.
More information on the Joint Core Strategy can be found at:

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

Designing the new Brierley Hill: Powerpoint presentation

On 2nd September Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership received a presentation on how the drawing up of new guidelines for Brierley Hill. View the presentation below. If you want to take part in the consultation they you can do so by going to the website:–planning/planning/local-development-framework/bhill-urb-des
Power Point Presentation – 021092010