Express & Star

Plans for new bridge and 'learning quarter' in Wolverhampton city centre

A bridge linking Wolverhampton's city-centre library with new college buildings could be built under plans for a 'learning quarter', the Express & Star can reveal.

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Central Library in Wolverhampton could become part of a new 'learning quarter' in the city centre

The walkway would connect buildings for City of Wolverhampton College, after its relocation from its current Paget Road site.

The city learning quarter will be based around Old Hall Street and could include Central Library along with the college’s existing Adult Education campus.

The library will continue to serve the public, but would also provide resource facilities for college students.

Last month the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership approved a £120,000 grant for surveying work to be carried out.

In documents applying for the fund, Black Country Consortium chief executive Sarah Middleton said the quarter could provide for up to 3,000 students and 1,200 apprenticeships.

Twenty new jobs would also be created.

Wolverhampton council leader Roger Lawrence said: “The quarter would be in an area around the old Oceana nightclub and include the adult learning campus and Central Library.

"The proposal is to develop in that block so that the library can act as a resource for the college.

"They are also looking at a first floor walkway linking up the buildings including the library which is a listed building and cannot be altered.

"They are talking about an expensive project which will require LEP funding as well as Government grants.”

College principal Claire Boliver revealed in October that moving to a main campus was a priority.

It followed a Government review which criticised Paget Road as being dilapidated and too far away from the city centre.

She said a learning quarter would be ‘ideal’ and hoped to be relocated by September 2019.

The college had looked at the Old Royal Hospital site in All Saints before it was purchased by the Homes and Communities Agency.

At a council libraries consultation, the authority revealed the learning quarter could include Central Library.

Councillor Lawrence said: “The college already has a presence there, it is close to the Metro and it is central.

"It would bring more students to the centre, increasing footfall for the shops and market which will be relocated close-by.”

The market is to move to Cleveland Street, the former site of Netto, under plans unveiled in January.