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23 Jul 2020

Council progresses plans for new-look city centre

City of Wolverhampton Council is progressing its transformation plans for a new-look city centre to ensure works can start as soon as Government funding is secured.

Detailed design is complete and early contractor engagement has been carried out on phase one of the public realm proposals on Victoria Street.

Phase three on North Street, and adjoining streets around the Civic Halls, is being brought forward. Detailed design on the public realm outside the venue is expected to be completed by November.

It is all part of plans for the project, formerly known as Westside Link, that will see the creation a high-quality city centre pedestrian environment, improved pedestrian and cycling connectivity and creation of new public spaces capable of hosting large scale events and activities.

The aim is to reinvigorate and drive economic investment into the city core by increasing footfall and visitor spend.

The scheme forms part of a final bid for funding made to the Government’s Future High Street Fund, with phase one expected to cost £11.6million and phase three £4.2million. The outcome of the bid is expected around September 2020.

A report on the plans will be discussed at a joint meeting of the council’s Cabinet and Cabinet Resources Panel next Wednesday (July 29).

Cabinet Member for City Environment, Councillor Steve Evans, said:

“We are rethinking and reimagining our city centre and have shovel-ready schemes that will make it a much more enjoyable place for residents, visitors and their families.

“Covid-19 has hit our city hard, exacerbating social and economic challenges. It has also highlighted that urgent and bold action, along with funding, is needed. Through the Future High Street Fund, there’s a real opportunity for local and central Government to work together on levelling up our city.

“We have developed – with partners - bold and ambitious plans to transform and better connect our wider city centre area, also supporting the development of better jobs, better entertainment, better city centre homes, better public spaces and better city centre events.

“The funding bid is integral to acting as a catalyst to attract further investment and development to realise this vision.” Other sources of external central Government funding to deliver all or part of the project are also being pursued should Future High Street Fund allocation not be forthcoming or is insufficient to deliver it in its entirety.

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