THE Government’s housing and planning minister stopped off in Lye on Monday (June 12) as the town made national headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Tabloid newspapers carried an in-depth feature on the state of the town which has been plagued by fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour – particularly in the High Street which was once known for its thriving ‘Balti belt’ due to the large number of popular Indian restaurants it boasted.

Today, like many high streets, a raft of buildings are up for sale with a number of long-time traders having said farewell to the town which has had a Public Space Protection Order imposed to stop people urinating and defecating in the street among other anti-social behaviours.

Dudley Council, however, recently announced it is working on a new design code for Lye and Stour Valley as part of a programme funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to help improve the quality and design of future developments in the town.

A consultation is underway, running until June 23, with documents and draft proposals available to view at Christ Church and Lye Library.

Stourbridge’s MP Suzanne Webb has urged people to have their say and on Monday housing and planning minister Rachel Maclean joined her in Lye to talk about the proposed design codes and plans to regenerate the area.

They were joined by councillors and Dudley Council officials working on the code including Lye councillor Dave Borley and Carl Mellor - head of planning at Dudley Council.

The group met at Halesowen Family Centre and went on a walkabout down Lye High Street to the railway station.

Suzanne said the minister was shown a presentation detailing plans for Lye which include creating an urban village, more space for new industries, managing heritage assets and creating more green streets and spaces with the vision to make Lye an industrial garden town.

The Tory MP said the council wants to take traffic off the High Street and onto a two-way bypass, develop a mix of apartments and townhouses, improve the high street, create a new town square as a focal point for the community and seek conservation status for Lye.

She said: “I am very pleased the minister came to Lye to see first-hand what myself, the council and the community want to see happen to improve the area.

“Lye needs help and with the support of the government, of the West Midlands mayor, the council and stakeholders we can transform the area.

“This ambition remains one of my priorities especially after the Levelling Up bid failed last time.

“But either through Levelling Up Fund pot three or through the West Midlands Combined Authority we can secure the funding and private investment we need to change Lye while keeping its distinct character.

“That’s why the design code is important and why the minister wanted to see the plans and the excellent presentation by the council.

“There is much to do but there is the will and the ambition to do it.”