Work to start on £6.5m housing HQ

Construction of the new £6.5 million Walsall Housing Group headquarters will begin at the middle of next month.

Work to start on £6.5m housing HQ

Construction of the new £6.5 million Walsall Housing Group headquarters will begin at the middle of next month.

The main steel structure of the building will start to take shape from August 12 and is due to be completed next year.

Clearance and preparation work has been going on since the end of June ahead of construction getting under way.

Housing chiefs are now expecting the first visible signs of the multi-million pound block to emerge within weeks.

The building will cater for around 300 staff at the corner of Littleton Street East and Hatherton Street, near the Arboretum, and is due to be completed before the end of 2011. It will kickstart the town's Gigaport scheme which aims to bring in businesses and create thousands of jobs.

There were fears for new housing HQ in spring-time after it emerged an expected grant from Advantage West Midlands was delayed. But housing bosses were able to review the plans and it is now going ahead without the grant.

The building will bring together workers from sites across the borough, including those based at Tameway Tower in Bridge Street.

Walsall Housing Group chairman Fred Bell said: "It will be a real landmark building in the borough and we are proud that it will be the first office to be built in the new Walsall office corridor."

The council agreed to sell land needed for the 1.5 acre development to WHG for a token payment of £1, to help get the development started.

Planning permission was granted after the council ditched a demand for an £82,000 contribution from WHG towards setting up bus routes and public art.

The Gigaport scheme aims to create a corridor of leisure facilities, hotels and offices linked to high speed internet. The £400m scheme will cover several town centre streets including Littleton Street and Stafford Street.

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