A multi-million pound transformation of Dudley’s Castle Hill site which will boost jobs and tourism has been given a unanimous green light and heralded by planners as “a step in the right direction” for the town.
Land between Dudley Zoo and Castle, the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Canal Trust will be redeveloped to create a new 600-space visitor car park and a recreational route linking the attractions as part of the scheme.
Other developments will include a new staffed visitor hub providing people with information on the three sites. There will also be a new entrance for the zoo.
Dudley Council’s development control committee last night gave unanimous approval to the £10.1 million scheme.
The project has been backed by around £4.5m of European funding.
Dudley Council wants the zoo, museum and canal trust to be better linked to propel the number of people visiting the town towards one million a year.
Councillor Colin Wilson said: “My thoughts can be summed up in a single sentence.
“This fits the bill, is suitable for purpose and I support this application fully.” Councillor Quadar Zada added: “This application will put Dudley in the centre stage.
“This will make a sensational entrance to what I consider to be the main gateway into Dudley. It is a major step in making Dudley a major tourist attraction in the future.”
Councillors were told an objection to the scheme had been submitted by the Cradley Raising Aid Saving Heathens group who had asked for a speedway facility to be included in plans for the site. But the committee was told this was not a part of the plans in front of them so could not be discussed as part of last night’s debate.
Animal sculptures and seating are going to be installed to theme the new entrance.