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'Don't let Beatties rot', urges council leader as he calls for funding

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

Senior political figures have been urged to help secure a future for Beatties and not allow it to "rot and decay for years".

Beatties is once again facing an uncertain future

City council leader Ian Brookfield says funding is needed to ensure a "bold transformation plan" can be put together to provide a viable future for the historic site.

He has written to Mayor Andy Street, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in attempt to find a solution.

The iconic building has once again been left facing an uncertain future after a takeover bid by the University of Wolverhampton collapsed.

There is other interest in the site, which is available for around £3m, but council bosses are keen to ensure Beatties is not left sitting empty for a prolonged period.

House of Fraser will move out in the new year to switch to the Mander Centre.

Wolverhamapton Council leader Ian Brookfield

Councillor Brookfield has said the city council could not use public money to buy the Victorian building.

The leader said: "I want what is best for our city and region.

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"That’s why, politics aside, I have reached out to the mayor and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to support our ambition to breathe new life into the Beatties site.

"I am confident that they will reflect on the significance of this iconic site in our city and agree to work with us to bring the Beatties site back from the brink.

“I have reiterated to them that we want to see the building being acquired by a responsible and reliable partner, who’ll deliver a viable, vibrant and timely scheme, befitting of Beatties’ iconic status.

“I have requested a commitment that it would be wholly unacceptable for the building to be left to rot and decay for years by an irresponsible owner or developer and called for urgent discussions with them and their officers about how we can leverage regional and national funding opportunities – such as the Town Centre Fund or the Future High Street Fund – to provide direct support."

Councillor Brookfield added: "It is very positive that Allsops, the agents marketing the store, have resumed dialogue with potential bidders and we are happy to offer any support in these discussions."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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