Under plans approved by Dudley Council Planning Department in July 2011, the core of the old house will be retained and turned into four large flats, while a new extension containing four smaller apartments is to be added on the Catholic Lane frontage. Two detached houses will also be built, one on each side of the development.
Eliza and her husband Thomas had the impressive home, called The Limes, built for them in the 1840s and she lived there till her death in 1881. During the Second World War, the central tower was used by fire watchers to spot incendiary bombs and it was also HQ for Gornal and Sedgley’s ARP wardens. Until 1966 the main building provided office accommodation for Sedgley Urban District Council before being sold by Dudley Council in 1970. It has had several occupants since, the last being ‘BaaN’ software developers, part of Invensys computer group.
Planning consent for 18 flats was granted to another developer in May 2007, but never implemented. Over the last few years, local residents watched in dismay as the historic building, bordered by unsightly graffiti-covered hoardings, sustained attacks by lead thieves, vandals and even arsonists.
Martin Jones, who ran the recent Sedgley Diamond Jubilee exhibition said: “The state into which The Limes has fallen is scandalous. The village lost nearly all its elegant grand houses in the 1960s to short-sighted, unsympathetic development, so I really hope The Limes and its rich Black Country heritage will be sensitively preserved.”