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University bid for Beatties backed by MPs

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A proposed takeover of Beatties by the University of Wolverhampton has been backed by MPs in the city.

Education leaders are hoping to become the new owners of the historic building after submitting a bid. Beatties was put up for sale after being taken into receivership and has a £3 million price tag.

If the takeover is successful it would mean the end of Beatties and House of Fraser in its current form in the city, though the university says it plans to retain some retail as part of its masterplan.

A cafe, restaurant, leisure facilities and pop-up businesses all form part of the vision for the Beatties under the university's ownership.

Wolverhampton's three MPs have admitted it would be sad to see the end of the store in its current form but believe the university offer could be the best prospect of preserving the landmark site for future generations.

Pat McFadden said: "There is great emotional attachment to Beatties because of its long history in the city. If it doesn't have a future as the kind of department store it is now then the key thing is that it has a productive future use and does not lie empty.

"The university will be a responsible owner so this could help secure the future of the building, even though the use might be different to what has gone before."

Emma Reynolds said: "Beatties is an iconic Wolverhampton building so it is essential the building remains in use and does not fall into disrepair. The university being interested in taking over the site is a welcome prospect considering their investment in the city. Whoever takes it on must ensure its future use respects its long history of retail, and its importance in Wolverhampton.

"Wolverhampton has had a lot of investment in the city with the new bus interchange, the tram extension and the new station under construction. The proposed developments at Brewer's Yard, which the university is involved in, and Westside show this is a city with an exciting future which businesses will want to be part of."

Eleanor Smith said: "This is an exciting idea I think it will be good for Wolverhampton city centre. I am concerned about Beatties staff, but this iconic building needs to be invested in for the future, and to generate more employment."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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