Demolition bid at former centre

By Ian Dipple 13/04 Updated: 13/04 11:12

Buy photos » The former Smallwood Health Centre is set to be demolished. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1512038MMR.

THE FORMER Smallwood Health Centre is set to be demolished and sold off in a major step forward for plans to regenerate the town centre.

An application has been made by the Homes and Communities Agency for permission to tear down the buildings which were built in the 1960s as an extension to the old cottage hospital.

It will take about five months to complete the demolition and level off the site which will then be sold.

The land is part of the wider Church Road development and the North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration Unit, of which Redditch Borough Council is a part, is currently in the process of drawing up detailed options for the site - as revealed by the Standard in February.

A spokeswoman for the HCA said: “The site will be taken to market though not likely to be until 2013. In the meantime, we will be working with the council to prepare a development brief, which will outline the use for the site in line with the council’s aspirations for the area.”

A previous planning document produced in 2007 identified the site as suitable for housing as well as various retail and leisure uses but there is speculation it could be used to entice a supermarket back into the town centre.

But a spokesman for Redditch Borough Council said no options were on the table yet and a meeting was due to take place with the HCA in the next few weeks.

“The project is in its early stages, with our team currently putting together a project brief for a detailed feasibility study,” he said.

Ros Sidaway, chairman of Redditch Town Centre Partnership, said the demolition brought the whole scheme a step closer to becoming a reality.

“The way it has been vandalised and gutted inside is just awful and it’s a bit of an eyesore. Demolishing it does make it more attractive to a potential developer because it is almost like starting with a blank piece of paper,” she said.

Buy photos» A video recently posted on You Tube has revealed the extent of the vandalism inside the former Smallwood Health Centre. (s)

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