THE demolition of Cavendish House has finally been approved by councillors, to make way for a 'once in a lifetime' regeneration of Dudley town centre.

The eyesore will be brought down after Dudley Council's development control committee unanimously gave permission to an outline planning application submitted by developers Avenbury.

The demolition paves the way for a £82 million multi-development of retail, residential and leisure buildings to be built on the site.

Buildings close to the Cavendish House, including the former B&Q building, the former Rickshaw restaurant, a taxi office, a disused scout hut and the former Metro Bar pub are also set to be brought down.

Chair of the committee, councillor Asif Ahmed, hailed the plan as a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to regenerate the town centre and urged councillors to 'look forwards, not back'.

Cllr Mohammed Hanif echoed his praise, saying the town 'has been waiting for 25 years for something like this'.

Before unanimously approving the plans, the committee heard an objection from Stuart Grieveson, managing director of Dudley Motor Company, whose Vauxhall dealership sits next to the site on Trindle Road.

He explained how he felt the impact the plans will have on his business had not been taken into account, and raised his concerns about how the development will affect access to the business and potentially cause a loss of daylight.

He added the planning process had been 'very difficult and very frustrating for me and my staff'.

Councillor Bryan Cotterill said although he felt the demolition and regeneration plans were 'long overdue', he felt that 'wealth creators and the job creators' in the area must be listened to.

Councillor Christine Perks added: "They have been here a good many years and they have paid more rents and rates. We should do everything we can to help their problems."

Deputy chair councillor Jackie Cowell said the impact on Dudley Motor Company was 'regrettable' but approving the plans had the potential to see a 'new Dudley coming out of this'.

Planning officers had recommended approval of the application and a report put before the committee said it would provide a 'significant regeneration opportunity' for Dudley town centre and complement a proposed new £20m interchange to serve buses and the proposed Metro extension to Brierley Hill.

Alan Lunt, strategic director for place and deputy chief executive, said: Cavendish House has for too long been a symbol of decline on the landscape in Dudley town centre. This decision is yet another example of how Dudley is on the up, with over £700 million to be invested in the town over the next five years.

"This decision will see the building finally come down and work start on another exciting development for the borough.

"Along with the new bus and tram interchange, and the proposed Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill which will run through Dudley, it promises an exciting future for Dudley.”

The building development will not start until Cavendish House has been demolished.