PLANS to redevelop Brierley Hill's Moor Centre and create a new access route from the High Street have sparked a raft of objections from people in the community.

Pegasus Group has submitted a plan to Dudley's planners on behalf of Sheet Anchor Ltd to redesign the shopping centre, on the corner of Moor Street and High Street, and allow access to it from the town's High Street.

The plan includes external alterations to the shopping precinct including the installation of entrance doors to allow retail units to be sub-divided, partial demolition of unit 1 to allow vehicle access from the High Street and part conversion of unit 1 to create new public toilet facilities. It also includes creating surface car parking, landscaping, cycle parking and works to the highway.

A planning statement submitted to Dudley Council on behalf of the applicant says the proposal offers "a significant opportunity to improve and maximise the viability and vitality of the existing Moor Centre" and it adds: "The smaller units respond to market demand and will support the functioning of the shopping centre, assisting in safeguarding its future. The proposed development also represents significant investment into the Moor Centre, to support its role within Dudley."

A number of objections, however, have been submitted including a petition highlighting concerns about the risk to pedestrians that may be posed by creating a new access route from the High Street.

Brierley Hill councillor Adam Davies said: "We welcome regeneration and investment in Brierley Hill but we're not convinced this is the right proposal."

He said the plans would see the 167-space car park at the back of the centre replaced with a smaller 26-space car park at the front and he added: "This level of reduction in parking could be devastating for shops, market stall traders and businesses."

Creating access from the High Street would also "pose serious pedestrian and road safety issues" - the councillor said - which could not only create a backlog of traffic but be "an accident waiting to happen".

He stressed the scheme has some positives - adding: "They're giving the place a facelift and bringing more public toilets to Brierley Hill.

"But we don't think this is the right plan for the town."

Brierley Hill Community Forum, which leads community regeneration in the town and works with many organisations, has also objected to the proposal on the grounds of the loss of a public space.

The group says Moor Centre Square hosts a variety of community events throughout the year such as Christmas activities, the Brier Fair and Heritage Open Day activities and in a letter of objection sent to Dudley Council planners a spokesman for the forum said: "Brierley Hill Community Forum believe the proposal effectively abolishes public place from the High Street.

"The small area of the Moor Centre Square that is proposed to be left as public place is nothing more than a widened pavement area outside the shops

"The proposal insofar as it proposes turning the Moor Street Square into a surface level car park would cause serious harm to the social and cultural well-being of the local community, to the democratic life of the community, to trade in the High Street, and to the mental health and wellbeing of residents. The proposal should be refused."

The deadline for comments on the plan is this Saturday (December 11) at 11.59pm.