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Bitter-sweet news as Sainbury’s wins extension backing

80 jobs are set to be created at Sainsbury’s, but a local heritage building will be demolished.

Sainsbury‘s were today awarded planning permission to extend their store in Rookery Street Wednesfield, despite objections from local a historian. 80 extra jobs are set to be created but a local heritage building will be demolished to make way for a car park extension.

The new 21,600 sq feet extension which is set to include a new restaurant and bakery, as well as 74 new parking spaces has been given the go ahead by planners, but will see a 19th Century heritage building demolished.

The Temperance Hall opposite Sainsbury’s dates back to the 1860s and was used by the Salvation Army before becoming a theatre and cinema, going by the name of the Tivoli.

Wednesfield Historian Ray Fellows wrote to Prince Charles concerning the plans to demolish the hall and also put forward his objections to planners.

Ray called upon the Sainsbury’s to drop their proposals to demolish the hall saying “Wednesfield as a community has suffered more than most Black Country towns from the loss of it’s ancient heritage. Delivering an innovative planning proposal which incorporates a use for the building just as Sainsbury’s did at the former St. Georges Church in Wolverhampton City Centre would be applauded.

Mr Fellows asked Sainsbury’s whether it was possible to use the building in some way, but the company wish to demolish the hall in order to extend their car park to include a total of 472 spaces, including 29 disabled spaces and 20 parent and child spaces, an increase of 74 spaces. Motorcycle and cycle parking is also proposed.

Planners at Wolverhampton City Council ruled that although the hall was a heritage asset to Wednesfield, it was not deemed significant enough to deny Sainsbury’s proposals to demolish it.

Duncan Nimmo, Treasurer of the Wolverhampton Civic and Historical Society added, “The problem is that it is not reasonable to try to preserve every bit of heritage; that would mean stagnation, and preventing new things which may become the heritage of the future.

“What is necessary is to strike the right balance between preservation and demolition. At least now this is formally recognised in the planning process, with developers required to assess any heritage damage and to justify it in terms of the benefits brought by their proposals.

The car park extension requires the demolition of a nearby builders yard and the former Temperance Hall, with Hall Street being extinguished and incorporated into the car park.

The existing petrol station is also set to be demolished and relocated to allow for the extension of the supermarket building. The silver-lining is that extension will bring 80 new jobs to the area.

Do you think supermarkets should be allowed to demolish heritage buildings in order to increase profits? Or should planners make more effort to incorporate our history into buildings of the future? Let us know in the comments!

In related news, rumour has it that an ASDA Living store may be coming to Bentley Bridge.

Photo: Sainsbury’s

11 replies on “Bitter-sweet news as Sainbury’s wins extension backing”

Yes Rob Williams is right Wednesfields heritage is being lost never to be seen again, Alcocks Farm lost, for what? a car park, Temperance Hall, for what? a car park, the Bentley Canal, shopping centre,Regal Cinema,for a Supermarket, Wesleyan Church for a car park, Ideal Cinema/Smack burnt down, Old church school, for flats, not much left in the way of heritage sites, but what is left is never going to be safe from the Wolverhampton City Planning department. ANY PREDICTIONS by anyone as to what can be redeveloped next in Wednesfield?

Q – Do you think supermarkets should be allowed to demolish heritage buildings in order to increase profits?

A – ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is a sad reflection of our times that the wants of a supermarket chain (in order to extend a car park, of all things!) is deemed as more important than our local heritage. I am utterly dismayed that the councils have allowed this to go ahead. Shame on them, as there is waste ground very conveniently situated nearby. It will be a case of “oops sorry, we made a big mistake here” – as so often happens in the aftermath (Elephant and Castle) – (and NO!! I do not think a car park will be our ‘future heritage’ – that is absurd!)

Q – Or should planners make more effort to incorporate our history into buildings of the future?

A – If it is the case that a piece of important heritage, e.g in the form of a historical building, is unfortunate enough to be ‘standing in the way’ of progress, then of course it should be incorporated into the new building, restored, and used in an appropriate manner, with a heritage blue plaque attached for future generations to realise the importance of it. St John’s Church in Wolverhampton, again for the use of a supermarket, is a good, if somewhat controversial at the time, example. Why couldn’t the Hall be revamped and used in some way which preserves it?

I am very concerned that this has been allowed to go ahead!

Not half as concerened as me about the Tivoli Theatre being demolished by Sainsburys for a car park, repeat car park, a local heritage site being demolished for a car park, but dont blame Sainsburys blame those that passed the plans, Wolverhampton City Council.They dont give a monkeys about Wednesfield or any of our heritage,I opposed the plans way back in May all of the details are in my new book Wednesfield Our Heritage due out 21st January.

Ray Remember When Rookery Street Was an Extension Of The High Street?Busy,Busy!They The Council Hounded The Shopkeepers Out Of Their Premises! The Last Shop Approx Opposite The Pylecock,He Stuck To His Guns But In The End It Was a Futile Fight!Look At It Now!Just a Piece Of Grassland Fronting Of All Places The Sainsbury’s Store!

Hey Rob we remember the Rookery when it was busy, it ay now, why?Well I will tell you why,because in 1966 we left Staffordshire to join with Wolverhampton and what av we gained?nothing.We lost our Independance to be be governed by a load of …….! who do you think should be running the affairs of Wednesfield people from around the Midlands or some one who actually lives in Wednesfield? answers on a postcard please to me at 24 South Avenue,best wishes Ray.

No way should this building be demolished! I see the petrol station is being moved to a new site over the road, why not put the extra spaces there? I agree with you Ray, Wednesfield heritage has completely disappeared!

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