Cash boost will ‘breath life’ into Dudley High Street

Dudley High Street could be transformed over the coming years following the launch of a new town centre fund, a top councillor believes.

Dudley Market is a focal point for the town centre
Dudley Market is a focal point for the town centre

Dudley Council's Keiran Casey has said the West Midlands Combined Authority's decision to target an area of the high street will allow the council to 'breathe more life' into the area.

It comes as part of the authority's bid to provide new funding, expertise and support to five areas across the region – also including Bilston, Bordesley Green in Birmingham, St Matthews Quarter in Walsall and West Bromwich.

The stretch from Wolverhampton Street to Top Church on Dudley High Street will be given a cash injection and renamed St Thomas Quarter, under the new plans.

The cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, Councillor Casey, said: "We were asked to put forward areas of the borough that could benefit from this project and we are really pleased that Dudley has been chosen.

Keiran Casey

"This project will complement what we want to do and focus on an area of the town where regeneration is needed.

"It will also allow us to develop ideas and plans around what more could be offered in terms of a mixture of shops, residential, leisure and more public open spaces for people to enjoy.

"We are going to be working closely with the combined authority to look at how we can breathe new life into this part of the town, which will be known as St Thomas Quarter."

It comes as the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said the future of the high street will not only be about shops but about 'public services, homes, small businesses and community activities'.

The leader said he wants to 'lead the way nationally in reimagining the role and function of town centres in the digital age'.

Mr Street, who saw gross sales double at John Lewis during his 10 year stint as managing director, said it was ‘premature’ to declare the high street ‘dead’, and believes that with the right investment and strategy they can once again become ‘the focus of our communities’.

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