Big boost for jobs as £27 million Dudley rail centre gets green light

A multi-million pound Very Light Rail innovation centre in Dudley has been given the go-ahead, paving the way for the 'world class' base to be in place by 2021.

Big boost for jobs as £27 million Dudley rail centre gets green light

Outline plans for the £27.8 million complex at Castle Hill, which will create hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships, were approved at a meeting of Dudley Council's development control committee.

The innovation centre has been described as 'an example of Dudley making history once again'.

The hub would be for the design and construction of lightweight rail vehicles, with research and development laboratories, as well as facilities for general manufacturing, conferences, teaching and training and further infrastructure.

The application was recommended for approval, with Councillor Kieran Casey who chaired Monday's committee stating: "For me it is absolutely fantastic.

"It will regenerate the whole area. Looking at what this will bring to Dudley, for me it's a no-brainer."

Council chiefs have promised the centre will create 225 jobs, 331 apprenticeships and 33 new businesses by 2021.

Previously commenting on the plans, cabinet member for leisure, Khurshid Ahmed, said: "This new innovation centre will be an example of Dudley making history once again.

"We want to be at the forefront of innovation and that new technology created at the centre will help transport not just nationally but also internationally.

"This will help the people of Dudley, create jobs and will also be an iconic building for people to visit."

The site is bounded by Tipton Road to the east, and the Castle Hill railway bridge to the south. It was last used as British Rail freightliner depot but was closed during the late 1980s. Before this it was the site of Dudley railway station which closed in the mid 1960s.

The route of the Very Light Rail (VLR) will run from this centre through Dudley Tunnel before terminating close to Cinder Bank.

The centre and testing track is part of a scheme by Warwick Manufacturing Group, which struck a deal with Dudley Council two years ago.

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