Wolverhampton Arts Park' will help shape area's future'

Dream projects like the Grand Theatre’s vision for a multi-million pound arts park will help shape the future of the area, a council chief has vowed.

An artist’s impression of how The Green Room could look once built next to the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton
An artist’s impression of how The Green Room could look once built next to the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton

Plans for an ‘arts park’ next to the Grand Theatre, the City Learning Quarter’s new technical centre and improvements to markets will all be part-funded through £25 million from Wolverhampton’s Town Deal Board.

The plans focus on five core themes: employment and skills, changing perceptions of the city, regeneration and renewal, connectivity and footfall.

Schemes that will be part-funded include improvements to Bilston market, Wednesfield market, High Street and canal area, city centre public realm works on Lichfield Street and the City Learning Quarter masterplan’s technical centre at City of Wolverhampton College’s Wellington Road, Bilston campus.

Planning permission for the Grand Theatre’s plan was approved in 2019, with the neighbouring former post office on Lichfield Street earmarked to be transformed to create The Green Room, which will host exhibitions, concerts and more. At the time the theatre was in consultation with the owners of the building to purchase the land, and the plan was estimated to cost £3m.

It has not been revealed what share of the £25m the theatre will get.

The council had originally applied for £50m from the government for projects around the city. Leader of the council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “This funding will support the development of the city centre and the two town centres and key partners from across the political and business spectrum have agreed this as the best way to spend the money following a vote.

“We will ensure none of the projects in our original bid get left behind and it is now our collective job to secure additional funding to deliver the projects the board has identified to reshape the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield. This contributes to the £4.4billion of investment on site or planned across Wolverhampton, which is delivering jobs and homes for city residents.”

Chairman of the Wolverhampton Town Deal Board, Ninder Johal, said: “We had an excellent meeting on Friday where the board agreed how to best make use of the £25m funding we have been given to ensure it generates as many jobs, apprenticeships, learning opportunities and new homes as possible. The final plans will reshape all three areas – benefitting residents, businesses and visitors in the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield.”

The Towns Fund was announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in September 2019 when 100 places, including Wolverhampton, were invited to develop proposals for a multi-million-pound Town Deal.

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