Council bosses back driverless vehicle delay in hope of making Dudley a University town

Dudley Council has been awarded nearly £175,000 to draw up a bid for a slice of a multi-billion pound government fund to improve town centres.

Local authority bosses will use the cash to set up a Dudley Town Deal Board and create a Town Investment Plan. Chiefs hope it will lead to the council being awarded more to make the proposals for Dudley town centre a reality through the £3.6 billion Towns Fund.

Papers submitted ahead of Dudley Council’s next cabinet meeting today, reveal bosses want to bid for cash to create two new educational establishments in collaboration with Dudley College.

They would sit alongside the Institute of Technology already in the pipeline by college bosses and make Dudley a university town.

One of the new establishments, it is proposed, will offer higher level qualifications in “transformational transport” technologies and, as a result, the cabinet will be asked to approve plans to give the Dudley Driverless Vehicles Consortium until September next year to develop proposals for a driverless vehicles hub on the former Dudley Hippodrome site. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

"We are delighted to have been given the opportunity by the government to bid for money to invest in Dudley town centre. With the Metro, re-development of Cavendish House, Very Light Rail, a new leisure centre and bus interchange, we feel the sheer extent of potential investment makes the case for further investment into the town extremely strong indeed.

"They are very exciting plans and we will leave no stone unturned to make sure our bid is as strong as it can possibly be."

The council has been asked to create a Town Deal Board and Town Investment Plan by next summer.

The proposals will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting, to be held this evening at Dudley Council House. The meeting starts at 5pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.


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