UP to 65 new flats will be built in Tipton town centre as part of a £20 million regeneration project.

Sandwell Council was given £20 million in ‘levelling up’ money from the government to invest in regenerating Tipton town centre and the main plans are demolishing 70-year-old flats in Union Street in Tipton town centre to make way for up to 65 new flats.

But plans to breathe new life into many empty shops and run-down shops in Tipton town centre have now been scrapped over rising costs.

Sandwell Council said the much-needed flats would address a chronic shortage of affordable housing and long waiting lists in Tipton and across Sandwell.

The existing block of 12 flats in Union Street, which dates back to the 1950s, would be demolished with the land and the adjacent Albion Street car park used to build a new three-to-four-storey block.

The opposite side of Union Street, which is home to a barber shop, hairdressers as well as an empty shop, would be flattened alongside a council-owned car park to make for a new three-to-four-storey block of flats.

Kiddies Playhouse nursery in Union Street would stay in place.

The locally listed but former and long-empty Conservative Club, which has now been vacant for some years, was recently bought by the council after its condition was rapidly deteriorating following a number of break-ins.

Dudley News: Union Street in the town centre Union Street in the town centre (Image: Google)

The council said it is looking at ways of turning the former club into housing with plans still to be finalised.

The two blocks of flats on either side of Union Street would be demolished with the shops – some of which are council-owned and have been empty for several years – not replaced.

More than half of the units in Tipton town centre are empty according to the council.

The council said the post office in Union Street was a “vital and important service” and would relocate to another part of the town centre.

The initial plans included four sites including Owen Street which has now been discounted due to rising costs.

The shops in Owen Street would get a ‘facelift’ according to the levelling up plans.

The council said it has been helping residents to move from the council-owned flats and shopowners have been assisted to relocate and expects the buildings to be empty by the end of March.

A planning application is expected to be submitted soon with demolition beginning not long after. Construction would then begin in 2025 with the work expected to be finished the following year.

The regeneration plans, which have now been made public as part of a consultation period, said all three sites in Union Street were in urgent need of redevelopment because they were either low-quality, obsolete, dilapidated or empty.

“Surveys of the buildings have confirmed that they are beyond economic repair or renovation,” the council document said.

“The project involves building a number of affordable, one and two-bedroomed apartments across these three sites, to help tackle Sandwell’s housing waiting list and provide much-needed affordable homes in Tipton.

“As well as being affordable, these new homes will be built to the latest standards of construction and energy efficiency, which will help to revitalise the town centre and set a new benchmark for the quality of affordable housing in the borough.”