Masterplan launched to boost fortunes of Walsall town centre
Walsall Council has launched its grand £500 million masterplan aimed at transforming the town’s struggling town centre.
Initial work is focused on making the area cleaner and safer and contractors are out in the evenings and early hours carrying out a deep clean of the streets blighted by chewing gum and dirt.
They have have ambitious plans to pump hundreds of millions into revitalising Walsall’s ailing town centre.
But before any great strides can be taken, Walsall Council bosses said they have to get the first steps right and make the town cleaner and safer before they can hope to attract serious investment into the area.
And those initial small steps of the £500 million masterplan have been taken with contractors deployed to carry out a deep clean of the main town centre area to tackle the grime and countless discarded, spat out chewing gum stuck to the paving stones.
The £30,000 project will also see graffiti removed and is in addition to other initiatives launched by the authority to improve the town centre such as hiring more litter-picking barrow-men and deploying a hawk to deter pigeons from the area.
Council bosses said that cleaning up Walsall town centre was top of the agenda when they carried out a consultation ahead of launching the masterplan.
And they said if this initial project is successful, the deep cleaning will be branched out into other borough centres.
In this phase, the contractors are working into the early hours in all weathers, covering Park Street from near the New Art Gallery.
They will continue on to the top of the market area as well as along Lichfield Street and up to Wednesbury Road.
Deputy leader Councillor Adrian Andrew said: “This is another part of our mission to clean up Walsall town centre.
“It’s a deep clean with a pressure washer to get rid of chewing gum and make the town look like a tidy place, cleaner place and a safer place.
“It is very much part of the masterplan. We’ve got to get this town clean and safe before we start thinking about brand new shiny buildings and this is part of our ambition to improve the town.
“When we did the public engagement, people definitely said that their number one priority was for the town to be cleaner and safer and that is what we are striving to achieve.
“If this is a success for businesses and residents then we are going to extend it to the other district centres as well.
“We are investing £30,000 at the moment into the clean up so we hope people appreciate what we are trying to do.
“We would like to start doing it on a regular basis. We’ve got to get on top of it and we’ve got to get it to a standard where it will be cheaper to maintain it in future.”
Earlier this year, the authority also agreed to reduce car park charges on authority-owned facilities in a bid to drive footfall in the area.
Long term plans include providing more town centre living, creating public spaces to host events, improving transport links for commuters and motorists and boosting the retail sector – including moving the market back to its traditional home leading up to St Matthews Church.
Previously, Councillor Andrew has said this is probably their last chance to save the town centre for future generations and boost economic activity.
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