TWO former care home sites in Stourbridge have been bought by the council for social housing purposes, it has been confirmed after much speculation in the last few days.

Dudley Council has purchased the former Rosemary Retirement Home site in Vicarage Road, Wollaston, and the former Woodlands Retirement Residence on the corner of Bridle Road and Vicarage Road, Wollaston.

Activity had been seen at the derelict Rosemary Retirement Home site recently, prompting concerns from local residents that it could mean a resurgence of plans to turn it into a HMO (house of multiple occupation).

Former Rosemary Retirement Home site in WollastonFormer Rosemary Retirement Home site in Wollaston (Image: Google Street View)

A bid to transform the home into a 23-bed HMO was rejected in December 2023 after hundreds of residents objected – voicing concerns that crime and anti-social behaviour, parking and traffic problems would be increased.

It’s not known at this stage how much the cash-strapped council has paid for the properties, which are in prime residential areas, or how it intends to pay for them given that budgets have had to be tightened this year due to the authority’s financial worries.

Kathryn Jones, director of housing and communities, simply said: “Dudley Council has purchased the Rosemary and Woodlands care homes to expand its social housing offer.”

Former Woodlands Retirement Residence in WollastonFormer Woodlands Retirement Residence in Wollaston (Image: Google Street View)

The former Woodlands Retirement Residence, which closed in spring 2023, had been on the market for more than a year with a price tag of £1.2 million but a recent update on said the property had been removed by the agent.

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Councillor Andrew Tromans, who represents Wollaston and Stourbridge Town, said residents in the area had raised concerned with him in recent days about what might happen to the two empty sites and he had scheduled a meeting with the council to find out what might be afoot.

Speaking to the News this afternoon, he said: "I'm sorry to say we were not in possession of the facts at that time.

"While I am pleased the council have confirmed they have purchased the former Rosemary care home on Vicarage Road and The Woodlands on Bridle Road, I hope they are more proactive in sharing their plans with residents going forward. 

"Additional general needs social homes would be welcome with the housing waiting list in Dudley borough hovering around 5,000. However, the objections raised the last time a development proposal for the former Rosemary care home was brought forward must be addressed in a full consultation with the community."