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Ex-massage parlour Bunnys in new bedsit plans

By Liam Keen | Smethwick | News | Published:

Former massage parlour Bunnys will be converted into bedsits under new plans.

Number 497 Hagley Road was once home to the Bunnys club

Number 497 Hagley Road, in Bearwood, Smethwick, was once home to the club, previously known as Cuddles and labelled as ‘Birmingham’s hottest massage parlour’.

The scheme would see the building turned into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) for 10 residents.

But the plans have now been put on hold while Sandwell councillors visit the premises.

A change of use application submitted to Sandwell Council was discussed at a planning meeting on Wednesday.

Chair of the planning committee, Councillor Paul Sandars, said: “There were objections from the police so the council thought it best to visit the site and come to a conclusion once all the issues have been taken into account.

“We aim to visit the site and take in the feel for the building.

“We will look at objections from residents in the area and look at a number of issues including parking, which is a big issue with these type of applications.

“We will, of course, take into account the police’s objections that concern the previous involvement of the building and criminal convictions related to the building and it’s previous uses.”

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The proposed change of use would see the building become a 10-room house with a single storey extension to the rear and a dormer

window added to the roof at the back of the property.

Cuddles was raided back in 2005 by around 50 police officers, who rescued 19 foreign women from 10 different countries employed as sex workers.

Carl Pritchett, formerly of Holbeache Road in Wall Heath, Dudley, was then eventually jailed for running the business in 2006. Bunnys started operating from the site in 2009, but relocated next door after it was seized by enforcement receivers under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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In 2010 Pritchett was jailed for a further seven years after failing to repay £2 million in illegal gains, and in 2013 Cottons Estate Agents sold number 497 as part of a court order related to the money owed by Pritchett.

Bunnys eventually closed down in 2012 after it was shut by the council.

Councillors plan to visit the site, which has been described as an eyesore, next month

before making a decision on the planning application.

It comes after council bosses ruled that 11 applications for HMO’s along a strip of Bearwood high street were rejected over concerns about parking, concentration of residents, and the privacy of current residents being impeded.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319688.

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