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How city centre changes plan to stop Wolverhampton brain drain

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The next stage of Wolverhampton's ambitious new learning quarter is in the pipeline after demolition work on the old Faces nightclub was completed.

A new college is set to replace the old Faces nightclub, which has been flattened

The building on the corner of Bilston Street and Garrick Street has been flattened over the last few months, with the site now cleared for ground investigation work which will take place over the coming weeks.

A detailed planning application for the site, which will be a new multi-million pound city centre home for Wolverhampton College, is under consideration by planners at Wolverhampton Council.

Council bosses say the development will stop the brain drain from the city, with talented youngsters staying in Wolverhampton to study rather than taking up courses in Birmingham.

How Faces looked as demolition work started in July

The plans show a purpose-built college, set over 10,000 square metres, that will provide a "state-of-the-art learning environment for young people and adults in the city".

It will form a key part of the city's learning quarter, which will centre around the Old Hall Street and St George’s Parade area of the city.

Councillor Harman Banger, the council's city economy boss, said: “We have made good progress with the demolition works and I am excited about the plans for the learning quarter which will transform the learning environment for our students and residents.

By mid-August the building had gone

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“We are working hard with Wolverhampton College to ensure we not only deliver a vibrant education hub where we improve the city’s learning, apprenticeship and employment offers, but also that we retain our best talent, rather than losing people to different parts of the region.

“The new facilities will provide a vital facelift to the city which is benefiting from £1 billion of investment overall. I have every confidence that when our plans become a reality, we will be creating an environment where everyone can flourish.”

City centre changes

It is the latest development the council bosses hope will change the face of the city centre after years in the doldrums.

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Work on the controversial Westside Link pedestriansation plan is set to start in November, while the £50m Westside project itself is scheduled to get up and running next year, with the major cinema chain that underpins the entire scheme due to be unveiled imminently.

The new £150m Interchange is continuing to take shape, with the delayed Metro line from St George's to the railway station finally close to completion.

And the city looks to be in line for a new theatre and exhibition space, after council bosses moved to seize control of the old post office building on Lichfield Street.

The site has been earmarked for demolition as part of the Grand Theatre's expansion plans.

There is even light at the end of the tunnel for the disastrous Civic halls revamp, with a new contractor set to be appointed by the end of the month to complete work on the budget-busting £38m scheme.

The new campus will replace the college's Paget Road site, which bosses have been trying to ditch for years as it is not considered fit for purpose.

College bosses hope it will be able to attract more students due to the new site's central location and proximity to transport networks, with a forecasted 13,000 people to benefit, including 2,500 apprenticeships.

The council claims the learning quarter will generate and safeguard 750 jobs for the region, as well as helping to fast track around 1,500 additional jobs within the city.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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