£116 million needed to 'transform' Walsall town centre

Plans to transform Walsall town centre and reverse its decline could cost around £116 million, it has been revealed.

What needs to be done to improve Walsall town centre?
What needs to be done to improve Walsall town centre?

A report to Walsall Council showed the sum will be needed to “enable transformative change” over the next 20 years.

It comes after council bosses released a 10-year plan in a bid to help kick-start the town after its decline.

The report said: “The aim of the masterplan is to provide a visionary yet deliverable plan that will re-imagine Walsall town centre.

“The plan builds on the regeneration successes of the last 10 years and provides a framework for the council, our partners and future investors to guide the development of the town centre over the next 20 years.

“Spread over this timeframe, the plan indicates that a capital investment of circa £116.7 million is needed to enable transformative change within the town centre.”

Plans for the town include enhancing the main railway station along with St Paul’s bus station and the Bradford Place bus interchange.

St Matthew’s Quarter will also be boosted with improved markets, with plans put forward to promote a greener town.

It comes after bosses highlighted “unprecedented changes” into the retail industry as reasons for its current decline.

And chiefs hope to use up to £25 million from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund as a “major boost” to deliver early changes to the town.

Councillor Adrian Andrew, deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “I think most high streets are in desperate need and it’s the last-chance saloon.

“We’re looking to encourage public investment – we’ve had the Government’s town centre investment which is great, but we want to let in private investment for private companies to come and invest in Walsall.

“It’s a blank canvas and we’re open for business.

“I think reaching the figure is doable because we’re building on the success of the Waterfront development, St Matthew’s Quarter – the fact Primark is here, which has increased footfall – to transform the town.

“We know the retail sector is shrinking and we need to react and stop it now.”

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