Plans have been formally submitted for the demolition of the former Dudley Hippodrome building to make way for an exciting £25 million “university park” in the heart of the town.
A planning application has been submitted by Dudley Council to knock down the long-derelict building, and replace it with the new site for further education. It comes after Robert Jenrick - Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - visited Dudley last month to confirm a bid for £25 million from the Towns Fund to finance the project had been successful.
Images have been released of how the impressive new facility will look.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
"This is a significant phase of our £1 billion regeneration plans and builds on the massive strides we have been able to make with Metro, Very Light Rail and the demolition of Cavendish House in the last couple of years.
"I can completely understand local campaigners wanting to save the former Hippodrome building, and I am encouraged to see community groups working so passionately to improve the town.
"But we simply cannot allow this discussion to continue for another decade after exhausting every opportunity to find an enormous amount of funding.
"We have received several business cases over the years from successive campaign groups, and have handed over the keys to the building.
"But no one has been able make any significant headway in reviving a theatre which has not put on a show in more than 60 years.
"I have met with the campaigners and agreed to work with them on the ongoing regeneration proposals and look for ways to improve the cultural offer and night-time economy of Dudley."
The higher education bid has been drawn up by the Towns Fund Board – a partnership between the council, Dudley College of Technology, University of Worcester, tourist attractions and other key organisations in Dudley. Dudley’s scheme includes a ‘university’ style campus and will provide higher education courses for the health sector. The new facility is expected to be up and running by Autumn of 2024.
Dudley College of Technology agreed to work alongside the council to develop the new facility, after building up a degree of expertise through the development of the Dudley Learning Quarter and the creation of the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology.
The teaching and learning that will take place will be driven by the University of Worcester.
Dudley was one of 100 areas across the country invited to bid for a slice of the £178.7 million Towns Fund.