site licence SL261 Brades Hall Farm, Oldbury, West Midlands



This request to the agency concerned a site licence in an area known as  “Brades Hall”, numbered as a site licence SL261 and subsequently 644/386. It is not clear from what I can see that this whole area was ever a farm, as the outbuildings are shown on the opposite side of the Gower Branch canal, on what is now constructed The Hindu temple and a school. This area in itself was built on a landfill known as “Blakeley Hall School”– which had it’s own historic landfill past. There appear to be numerous licences known as “Brades Hall Farm”, but I not going to call it this, in fact it became better known as a foundry sand graveyard.

The land in question is a large area stretching across land from The Gower Branch Canal at two sides, The Dudley and Tipton Roads, and across the former Rose Lane. It appears to encompass other subsequent licences, of which areas are looked at elsewhere on this website. Of concern about this site for many years has been the levels of landfill gas associated with these and preceding  operations which took place here, some of which were illicit  in nature, and in some instances criminal- such as the depositing of poisonous wastes that led to a successful prosecution in 1976.

Progressive residential developments have taken place on this “reclaimed” land starting in the mid 1970’s and continuing through the 80’s and 90’s.

The letter below from The Environment Agency, shows the context of licensed waste disposal sites around the former sewage works site, (now Callaghan and Wilson Drives), and that Sandwell council know a great deal about this Brades Hall, and that site investigations have taken place to look at this specific gas issue. The 1993 record concluded that levels of 8.8% methane and 3.3% carbon dioxide were detected.


It is interesting to note the high levels of Carbon dioxide associated with this site, which also appears to have been built on large amounts of foundry sand. 

commencement of tipping date “unknown” which indicates that it preceded site licensing.



“Please provide by electronic means the full waste disposal site licence SL 261 issued I believe in 1978.
Could you also provide a map of the site as it appeared and the area which it now occupies and summary of when this licence was surrendered and the site remediated if indeed this was the case? Could you also indicate if any additional modifications were made to the license or at the site during the life of the license in respect of additional materials that could be deposited. A Sandwell council site investigation carried out in 1993 recorded a level of 8.8% methane and 3.3% carbon dioxide. Do you have any further information about gas control measures or monitoring that was introduced after this time or after the creation of the agency in 1996?”

The agency responded. 

“The site is a natural depression, with the side walls and underlying base consisting of Etruria Marl.

The site was licenced in 1979 for the deposit of foundry sand, furnace slag, refractory bricks, demolition material, subsoil and topsoil as part of a land reclamation and stabilisation scheme.  The licence holders Birlee Industrial Limited, applied to have the licence modified in order that excavation, quarries and construction materials could be deposited at the site.  However, this was refused by Sandwell MBC.

A perimeter passive migration control system was installed along the adjoining site boundary.

Gas monitoring is conducted via a network of permanent gas monitoring points in and around the Temple Way Estates.

The site is now a residential housing development, the licence having been surrendered in 1994.

Sandwell MBC continues to monitor the site and will hold further information regarding this site. We recommend that you contact the Local Authority, who may hold additional information regarding this site.”

The agency didn’t provide the actual site licence and conditions which is a shame, as they obviously held this, but instead a summary xls sheet. Part of this states

“History comments
This site is believed to have been infilled, from the early 1970’s, for the purpose of reclaiming the land for re-development.”

It also states that the date of the licence issue was 10/7/1978 and that the last input was on 1/1/1982. 

They also provided this data sheet for the site, which appears to contradict the above information, stating that the licence holder was in fact Sandwell council!?

“The site has been extensively re-developed for housing, in a phased approach, using foundry sand as a reclamation material. It is believed biodegradable contaminants within the fill material may account for the presence of landfill gas within the site.”

The disclaimer is noted, but if they at the EA cannot guarantee accuracy, then I’m not sure who the hell can!

They also provided a map, which shows the context of the site (in cross hatched blue), and also that of the other historic landfill sites in the area (in cross hatched magenta).


It is concerning that the EA data for this site, as well as others we have found appears to be incomplete, a worrying trend when it comes to the fact that decisions to build new developments on such sites can be founded upon potted history.

SMBC do hold a number of site investigations, but these are not in the public domain, and so the question of “What’s in your backyard”? appears to be a very difficult one to answer. It is known however that in some people’s back yard on the formerly known “Charter Homes” estate, ref DC/06593 “109 dwelling houses and garage and construction of roads and sewers”,  part of this area, which was given a decision notice for development on 10th May 1978 , do contain some of the monitoring points mentioned, AFTER THEY HAD BEEN BUILT!