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  • Writer's pictureRegenerating Dudley

University site plans at the centre of public inquiry

Plans to build a £25million university campus in Dudley will be discussed at a public inquiry next week.


The higher education facility is planned for Castle Hill as part of the Towns Fund project and will provide courses for the health sector.


Part of the site has now been cleared and the council has agreed terms with the owners of buildings on site to complete the land assembly and allow the construction to begin.

Following the council’s decision in 2022 to pursue a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to progress the project, a public inquiry will take place from May 14 and is expected to last for two days. The inquiry will be chaired by a government planning inspector who will decide if the proposed CPO should be confirmed.


Helen Martin, director of regeneration and enterprise, said:

"It’s important that big projects like this have the proper scrutiny and that people involved have the opportunity to help shape them."
“The process will be open and transparent and hopefully, will keep the momentum rolling towards creating a first-class higher education facility in the heart of Dudley.”

Planning approval was granted in 2021 for the further education building on the site of the former Hippodrome and bingo hall.


Amendments to the approved scheme involving alterations to the entrance, removal of some roof lights and some window / elevation adjustments, were agreed by planners earlier this year as part of updated designs for the new building.


At a meeting of the cabinet in March, it was agreed to add £1.8million into the capital programme to finance the project to help with any delays in securing the land and support any inflationary pressures which may occur.


Funding has come as part of the government’s Towns Fund project, with Dudley being one of only 100 councils nationally to receive money.


An innovative Insurance-backed Alliance consisting of, the client, designers, deliverers/contractors, key specialists, and suppliers is in place to drive forward the building of the new facility to agreed time and budget constraints. Dudley Council is the first local authority to use this approach in this way.


Subject to the public inquiry, it is anticipated building work will begin this summer and the facility completed by spring 2026.


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