Wyre Forest District Council has confirmed that it will submit a planning application in the forthcoming weeks to continue to use the site at Bridge Street as a temporary car park for a period of seven years. This would not prevent a development coming forward at the site during the lifetime of the temporary planning permission.

The application will be the subject of public consultation in the usual way and, because it relates to land owned by the Council, the application will be decided by the Council’s Planning Committee.

Following the refusal of permission for plans for a block of temporary accommodation by the Planning Committee in August, the Cabinet has made clear that its priority is finding a solution to the rising costs of temporary accommodation for homeless households from the district. Meeting the needs of homeless people is a statutory duty.

Councillor Graham Ballinger, the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Strategy and Finance, said “There are no resources allocated for any development at Bridge Street in the Council’s capital programme, and that has been the case since a previous administration purchased the site over a decade ago.

“There is no prospect of the Council funding a project in its next medium-term financial strategy in light of its financial position, which has worsened because of COVID-19.

“Future development of the site will therefore depend on viable proposals for a development being formulated and funded by another party, including purchasing the site at market value so that the Council recoups some of the money it has spent.

“We would welcome any viable proposals from the local community or private sector.”

Since acquiring the site in 2009 the Council has pursued a number of opportunities to develop it in accordance with the Development Brief for the site, including working with a private sector development partner as well as the Canal and River Trust which owns land to the rear of the site. However, no proposal proved to be financially viable.