Multi-million Pound Regeneration Plans In National Spotlight

A multi-million pound regeneration masterplan in Dudley spanning ten years came under the national spotlight during a high profile Ministerial visit of the borough.

The decade-long plan to reshape Dudley’s skyline is at the midway point with millions of pounds worth of investment.

A further £70million is already in the pipeline as Dudley Council plans to work with partners on the next five years of the plan.

Marcus Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was invited to meet MPs and council chiefs to talk about the plans on Friday (October 21).

Mr Jones heard about the millions of pounds the council has helped secure for Castle Hill, with more to come, which will increase the number of visitors to more than one million every year. Key projects now in the pipeline include the £28million Very Light Rail innovation centre and plans to increase the number of visitors at Black Country Living Museum from 300,000 to 500,000.

The council has also helped secure more than £15million to improve the layout, parking, entrance and exits at Dudley Zoo and Castle. The finishing touches were also recently put to the town’s new £6million market place where trade has existed since the medieval times, followed by the £1.1million redevelopment of Coronation Gardens.

A total £3million has been spent breathing new life into old and tired buildings through the Townscape Heritage Initiative with a further £2million already in the pipeline for the next phase up to 2021. The project prompted national recognition when the council’s planners won the Royal Town Planning Institute West Midlands Regional Awards for Excellence for their work in bringing an historic derelict building, the town’s former Victorian fire station, back into use as a modern bar and restaurant.

The Minister also got to hear about exciting proposals for the next five years including the council’s crucial work with Avenbury Properties on plans for a sweeping public space and shopping area with key transport links on the site of the now vacant Cavendish House. The £30million project is a private venture but the council has been providing legal, planning, technical and funding advice to bring the project off the drawing board and into reality.

The £60million Dudley College developments which the council was a key part of in providing new opportunities for learning was also discussed.

The visit also included a briefing on the Waterfront in Brierley Hill, the site of the proposed Enterprise Zone and music institute which the council and local MPs have been working on, and is due for consideration in the Chancellor’s autumn statement.

The multi-million pound Midland Metro link from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill has been given the green light which will be a huge boost to the borough’s transport links. New businesses have also been brought into Castle Gate creating jobs for the borough. Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said:

“The council has helped secure millions of pounds in investment over the past five years and as part of our 10 year plan to grow the economy and create jobs we are already in the process of bidding for more which will change this historic landscape forever. Five years ago we put very clear goals in place to reverse the decline in the town centre and boost the number visiting the tourist sites at Castle Hill.

“The visit was a great opportunity to showcase what we have been able to achieve over the past five years at a national level and promote the exciting proposals we have on the table for the second phase in our ten year masterplan.”

The touring party included the leader of Dudley Council, Councillor Pete Lowe, Councillor Khurshid Ahmed and MP Mike Wood. 


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