AN empty pub that was used as a cannabis factory will be converted into new flats.

The former Red Lion pub in Park Lane West, Tipton, will be transformed into six new flats after a planning application was given the thumbs up by planners at Sandwell Council.

The grade II listed building, which dates back to the mid-19th century, closed in 2018 and it was revealed the abandoned pub had been used to grow cannabis after police discovered hundreds of plants in 2019.

The plans include four one-bed flats, a two-bed flat and a three-bed flat.

A handful of buildings around the pub would be demolished to make way for a new extension and parking spaces.

The adjoining Red Lion Guest House, which itself was a pub called the Lion’s Den and home to Lion’s Brewery, would stay in place.

A statement included with the application said: “Following its closure and before being purchased by the applicant the site was used as a cannabis factory which was located mainly on the first floor. 

“Unfortunately during this period, the building was heavily vandalised internally. This saw many of the former public house features stripped out and the first-floor ceiling removed, presumably to enable additional electric wiring to be added for heating supply. 

“As a result the public house never re-opened and remained boarded and closed to the public. The pub has not traded for four years years, was available to purchase by would-be potential landlords to run as a going concern but no interest has been expressed. 

“It is clear from internal inspection that significant sums of money would be required to repair and restore the public house into a useable site, a cost that would be very risky due to the current economic climate that is severely affecting public houses, and the fact that this site has long lost it’s trade. Therefore, it is clear that public house is redundant and can be considered suitable for conversion, reuse, and refurbishment.”