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Optician’s joy as he is moved out of crumbling premises after 44 years

An optician has spoken of his joy as he moves on from “dreadful” premises which are plagued by damp.

Ian Hadfield, who has practised at Kingshurst Parade in Solihull for 44 years, said the council had provided him with a more up-to-date unit as part of redevelopment plans.

The move, Ian hopes, will be completed next week and he could see his first patients on September 23.

Read more:Mum with ‘no-where to go’ as big Kingshurst revamp forces her eviction

The move comes amid the long-awaited regeneration of the precinct, which will see millions invested to develop the area over the next four years.

Solihull Council says the Kingshurst regeneration programme, which is set to be complete in winter 2025, will create “modern new homes, shops and a space for families to enjoy”.

Ian’s current premises, which he admitted are “falling apart”, will be bulldozed to make way for housing.

He has practiced there for 44 years

He is moving into the new space as a temporary measure and eventually hopes to set up shop at a brand new medical centre which has been drawn up as part of the regeneration plans.

Ian described his joy at being moved out of his current crumbling building which has been plagued by problems for decades.

“When I moved in I took over from another optician and the premises were already in a dreadful state,” he explained. “They could have done wth being demolished then.”

Ian Hadfield said the council had 'fallen over themselves'
Ian Hadfield said the council had ‘fallen over themselves’

He said he had been pushing for the regeneration “for years” and thanked the council for keeping him in the picture.

Despite not knowing what the rent is yet, he has been offered the temporary new premises as talks with other unit holders continue.

“It’s very nice in there,” Ian went on. “They have really gone to town on getting all the electronics and the lighting right. The property is completely dry and there’s no damp.”

Ian, who works with his partner between Kingshurst and Great Barr, will now be located just a stone’s throw away.

Still on the parade, he will operate in a building that started life as a bank and was most recently a diner.

Kingshurst Shopping Parade is about to be redeveloped in a £34 million transformation
Kingshurst Shopping Parade is about to be redeveloped in a £34 million transformation

The optometrist said the building, which is twice the size, had been empty for a few years and is now “virtually finished” following a full refurb. Pending an NHS inspection, he could be seeing patients as early as next week.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he added. “It is going to be a lot nicer than it is now. And you can see everything is falling apart in here.”

Ian said he had new appointment cards printed with the new address, but admitted there was still a lot to do.

“I’ve been noticing things like rubber stamps, they are all going to need to be changed,” he added.

Speaking of the regeneration, Ian said the centre of Kingshurst was a little unloved but he was looking forward to seeing the project finished.

“It’s not the best shopping centre in the world,” he said. “But they are going to make it quite nice.

“There is a medical centre over in [neighbouring] Smith’s Wood, it’s going to be similar to that eventually.

“This is only a temporary move. The eventual aim is that we move in with the doctors at the new medical centre.”

Ian spoke of his loyal patient base, adding that those who came to the opticians knew him well.

“I’m not intending to retire any time soon but I am passed retirement age. I really enjoy the job and I just can’t imagine myself retiring,” he said.

“We’re never going to be as busy as a major high street optician, we are what we are and we don’t see a patient every twenty minutes.

“We take our time and we get it right. We don’t push for sales, we just do what the patient needs. That’s how we’ve always been and that’s how we hope to remain.”

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