There’s not much really to celebrate about West Bromwich. Some years ago Sandwell council led by Mr Bob Badham (where he now?), decided to play LEGOLAND with the scenery around the town centre and move it towards Dartmouth Park. You could say that this has led indirectly to the bonkers rationale behind the goose cull in that the Valley area is now saturated in people and their rubbish left behind, but all of this encouragement and feeding people into this park goes by the by with the local councillors.
Multi-million pound schemes with big “visions” also saw a large swathe of derelict land across the ill defined “black country area” being turned into industrial estates and road ways under The Black Country Development Corporation. Their main claim to fame was the black country spine road, a roadway that is so dodgy that you would probably need a by-pass to by-pass its dodgy ass. Part of this bisected a canal known as The Ridgeacre, which had become a dumping ground for almost anything and everything, and was a testament to the decline of the local canal network nationally.
A group of anglers and conservationists got together at this stage and set up probably the first “Friends of” group in the area, backed up by Groundwork Black Country. An old leaflet from the late 90’s sets the scene.
The point of all this was to create a recreational space and educational resource in the heart of one of the most deprived areas of the borough, and despite some knockbacks the 3 main protagonists did a sterling job. I don’t give out praise very often to anglers, that’s no secret, but they did do an excellent job of managing the canal stretch.
Things obviously move on and people have to as well. Today the canal network that they maintained is not as good but it is still a wildlife haven and actively used recreational area for all to enjoy, as well as a well used route to school for many of the local kids.
So where is all this going I here you cry, thanks for sticking with me, and I will explain. On one side of the canal you have The Express and Star Black Lake offices. On the other side is an industrial estate within feet of the towpath. This used to be an old Firkins bakery, and the smell was lovely when you went past there and it was still operational. Fast forward to today and another planning application was put in by the new occupier- THE PLAN TO TURN IT INTO A CHICKEN DEATH CAMP WHERE 2000 CHICKENS A DAY WOULD BE DELIVERED LIVE IN CRATES TO BE “HUMANELY CULLED” NO DOUBT.
DC/14/57063 IS THE APPLICATION NUMBER. I OBJECTED ON SEVERAL GROUNDS, INCLUDING THE ONES STATED ABOVE, AS THE APPLICATION MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO REFERENCE WHATSOEVER TO THE ADJACENT CANAL.
The original planning committee document recommends approval despite massive local opposition. The environmental health department at Sandwell are not exactly the sharpest tools in the box and offered no objections.
Something appears to have changed since then with environmental health now stating that the odours from this slaughterhouse would be too unpleasant for people living just 50 metres away. Screw the smell- what about the noise, and of course the spectacle of a river of much foaming blood. A councillor delegation is going to visit the site tomorrow before making the decision at the council house later in the evening.
The abysmal and cruel spectacle speaks for itself about this application, as does the ruination of years of hard work and peace and tranquillity should the group of councillors go against their officers new recommendations. But what about the risk of diseases coming out of such a plant and being transmitted to wildfowl on the canal? The likes of Newcastle’s disease? It will be wildlife again blamed as it was when an outbreak of Avian flu turned out to come from a BM death camp. Always wildlife gets the blame for poor animal husbandry and horror sites like these.
We shall have to wait and see what verdict they deliver, but know this, I will be in the chamber tomorrow and the vote as to whom voted will be recorded on the record. Anonymity does not exist any more for Sandwell’s councillors.