Regen project hailed as key to vibrant town centre
Council bosses have praised a major project to renovate the historic buildings in Dudley town centre as key to making the town “vibrant and inviting”.
Work is progressing well on the Townscape Heritage Programme, which is funded through the National Lottery Heritage fund and offers grant assistance to carry our repair, reinstatement and refurbishment works to historic buildings.
The project runs until the end of the year and Dudley Council bosses have hailed the scheme as key to creating a welcoming town centre.
Dudley Council received £2.8 million of investment for the town during phase one of the programme which saw grant assistance provided to The Old Glass House, Baylies Hall, the former Albion Public House (now Café Grande), the former Co-op (now Provision House) and the Crown. Phase two will now see a further £1.5 million of funding, including £1.2 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with an extension granted due to delays caused by the pandemic.
Work is underway at Plaza Mall, a former Woolworth’s building dating from 1935, and at the Fountain Arcade dating from 1925. The work to Plaza Mall will see original tiles being revealed, repaired and restored, windows reinstated to their historic form and the shopfront being enhanced. The Fountain Arcade will see repairs to the stonework, brickwork and windows, as well as new shopfronts which will be designed to match the quality of the ones already installed at the Tower Street end of the arcade. The buildings will have scaffolding to the exterior during works, but businesses remain open as normal.
Work is also taking place at historic properties on Wolverhampton Street, including 204a Wolverhampton Street, where scaffolding has been erected and work is well underway. This will restore and enhance the historic buildings while adding to attractiveness of the town centre for visitors.
Businesses remain open as usual.
Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said:
"I’m delighted that work is progressing well despite the pressures caused by the pandemic. This scheme is really central to creating a vibrant and inviting town centre and it positively builds upon all the hard work and investment that is being put into town centre by Dudley Council. We have a lot of history in Dudley town centre and it is great to see the buildings being celebrated in this way."
The Townscape Heritage Programme is injecting an additional £1.5 million public funding into the town and it will help the council to preserve and enhance some of the most significant buildings.
The pandemic has caused delays to some of the phase two work, but the council is continuing at pace and looking forward to completing the phase two programme at the end of next year.
In addition to the capital works, the project is also promoting visitors to come and visit to the town in order to enjoy one of the four self-guided trails on offer for Dudley town centre. There is one that showcases the wealth of public art in the town, another its architectural gems, a third which explores the geological heritage of the town and the fourth which is the Dudley Time trail – all are available to download on-line at https://discover.dudley.gov.uk/walking-trails/