As many of you will know there was a shocking accident on the building site at 103-109 Barclay Road earlier this week, which fortunately didn't result in a fatality. Since then we have had numerous inquiries about what is happening on that site. This is our understanding of the current position…and some things which may happen over the next week or so.
Last year, after a frustrating series of delays by the developers Sandwell Council applied to compulsorily purchase the land in order that we could sell the site to a builder who would complete the planning permission for three terraced houses. The developer appealed, and in January this year the Planning Inspectorate endorsed the council's action, and if there is no unforeseen delay the council will take ownership of the property within the next couple of months.
For some reason the developers have continued to carry out work on the site, despite the fact that the work they are carrying out has undermined the foundations of the properties immediately adjacent. So much so that the property at 101 has been deemed to be a dangerous building and is in need of shoring up.
We cannot go into too much detail about the legalities of what is now taking place between the council, the developers, insurance companies and the Health and Safety Executive, but we are assured by the council's Building Control Officers that they are doing everything legally within their powers to ensure the properties – and the site – are made safe. However, we do need to point out that the council's powers are extremely limited when dealing with what is a private property. We simply do not have the legal power to intervene at will, and whatever steps that can be taken are being taken.
Hopefully this long drawn out saga is drawing to a conclusion and within a few months the adjoining properties can be made safe, and work can be commence on building some houses which will be in a sympathetic design to the neighbourhood.
But before then there is some remedial action that must be taken to prevent the property at 101 Barclay Road from collapsing. That work over the next few days will involve heavy construction plant and may involve restricted access to Barclay Road, and we will try to update people as things develop.
The council will attempt to minimise the inconvenience, but we're afraid that may be beyond our control.