Regeneration in Dudley impresses visitors
The leader of Dudley Council has expressed his deep sense of pride and excitement following a visit from top regeneration and economic officials to Dudley town centre on Friday (12 March).
The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board members were wowed during their visit, where they saw the impressive and extensive construction work currently underway in the town.
The £450 million Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension will play a significant role in the regeneration and economic growth of the West Midlands. It will provide reductions to journey times between the centres of the region, particularly to Dudley town centre and Merry Hill, and will link Dudley to Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
The 11km line will offer 15 stops and will give step-free access to popular local attractions including Dudley Zoo and Castle, the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust and will link to the £24million transport interchange that’s being created to link Metro and bus journeys together for passengers.
A world class facility, the interchange will give improved waiting and interchange facilities with real-time passenger information, enhanced safety for all users, improved cycle parking facilities, retail and ticketing offer, segregation of passenger and vehicular movements and reduced environmental impact.
Meanwhile a new science, technology, engineering and maths campus is being created in the town. The Black Country and Marches Institute of technology will create a £26million facility to teach and train 2000 students, bringing together further and higher education providers with employers.
The brand new £18million Dudley Leisure Centre is also under construction. Located on Flood Street in central Dudley, it will offer high quality sports facilities to people living and working in the town and will connect to the Metro line providing easy access for centre users.
A revolutionary £28milion project to provide a unique research facility for the development of Very Light Railway (VLR) technologies and projects is underway in the town too. The project brings back into use a redundant stretch of railway to support the National Innovation Centre, which will create thousands of jobs and exciting opportunities for people in the area. Current works include development of a 2.2km test track and the impressive innovation centre building.
At the Black Country Living Museum, the £30million ‘Forging Ahead’ programme marks the single largest capital development project in the Museum’s history. This exciting scheme will expand the museum’s story, offering a new visitor welcome area, dedicated learning centre, an industrial quarter and a town centre set in the 1940s-60s.
A £25million bid has been submitted to the government via Dudley Town’s Fund Board to help fund a ‘university park’ in Dudley. The detailed bid aims to finance the majority of the £36million Higher Education complex at Castle Hill which will offer opportunities to grow skills, jobs and the local economy.
In addition, it is hoped that £82million of private investment in the Porterfields development will regenerate an area of central Dudley, offering a mix of retail and residential opportunities. This will create up to 500 jobs offer up to 400 apartments including student accommodation and have the potential to include shops, restaurants, bars and offices.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
"The work that is being delivered here in Dudley town centre heralds the start of an exiting new era for our town and it has been a great honour to show our colleagues from the LEP our incredible plans being put into action.
"We have proved what can be achieved with tenacity, determination and belief in our town centre and seeing things moving at such an impressive pace continues to make me incredibly proud and excited to represent Dudley.
I would like to thank all our partners and the people of Dudley for all they have done to support our incredible £1billion programme of regeneration. We have really only just begun and there are fantastic things ahead for our borough – it’s our time."