Revealed: Councils' plans for levelling up funding that will make 'huge difference'

Only one Black Country council has bid for cash from the Levelling Up Fund since its launch last year.

Plans to redevelop the Trident Centre in Dudley have been 'parked' for now
Plans to redevelop the Trident Centre in Dudley have been 'parked' for now

Wolverhampton Council was successful in its bid for £20 million for its learning quarter scheme, which will see a state of the art college campus built on the site of the former Faces nightclub.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson, who worked on the bid with council chiefs, said the funding would “help realise” the city’s ambitions.

“This cash boost demonstrates the Government’s commitment to Levelling Up in action,” he said.

“When opened, the city learning quarter will offer state-of-the-art learning facilities to local people and enrich the local economy, with many jobs supported.”

Wolverhampton Council leader Ian Brookfield

Council leader Ian Brookfield said the authority had two bids prepared for round two.

The Wolverhampton South East bid, signed off by Pat McFadden MP, is for a health and wellbeing centre in Bilston, while in Wolverhampton North East Jane Stevenson MP is backing plans to create a ‘green corridor’ from Springfield Campus to the Science Park.

Mr Brookfield said: “These schemes have been in the pipeline for a good while and everyone has worked tirelessly to put them together.

“We want to get as much finance into the city as possible.”

A potential scheme for Wolverhampton will link the Science Park to the Springfield campus

Dudley Council's bid for up to £40 million in levelling up cash has been detailed in a new report to the council's ruling Cabinet.

In Dudley North no bid will be submitted in this round.

A scheme to turn the Trident Centre into flats was initially earmarked for funding. However, it has now been scrapped after it emerged the owners were preparing to sell the site to private developers.

The former Museum and Art Gallery building on St James's Road could feature in round three

Focus could switch to a proposal for a St Thomas's hospitality quarter, centring on £3m of improvements around Inhedge Gardens, Priory Street, Wolverhampton Street and Stone Street.

The work includes the redevelopment of the town's old post office on Wolverhampton Street, the former Museum and Art Gallery – which closed down in 2016 – and 16A Stone Street, next to The Glass House.

A scheme for Dudley South that would have seen Brierley Hill police station transformed into a youth zone once it closed down was rejected as "not a viable option".

The council has now decided not to submit a bid for the constituency in this round, while concerns have been raised that a potential third round bid for a Transport Technologies Centre lacked ambition.

The proposed site would sit behind the existing college building on Venture Way and provide training facilities for the repair and maintenance of battery and hydrogen powered vehicle engines.

Dudley's old Post office on Wolverhampton Street could be the subject of a bid in round three

The Stourbridge bid centres on Lye. A new masterplan will see major changes to roads in the area, including increasing capacity on the Lye-by-pass by converting it to a two-way road.

Other changes would see extra footpaths and cycle routes, a new green space on derelict land, and integrating the railway station with the town centre.

Under the plan brownfield land in the town will be used for 100 new homes, 680sq m of commercial floor space and a new car park. Meanwhile the Rounds Workshop will be "repurposed" for community facilities.

The report says: "The integrated investments will realise a coherent plan that responds to critical challenges within the area of poor connectivity, failing High Street, failing housing market, developing underutilised brownfield land and improving air quality."

Suzanne Webb MP has backed the bid for Levelling Up cash for Lye

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb said the plans would "make a huge difference" to people's lives in Lye. "Regenerating Lye cannot be done overnight and there will be more work to do to make sure it’s a place people want to live, work and visit," she said.

"This bid is vital to addressing Lye’s issues, and we will continue to build on these plans in the future to reinvigorate the area."

The Halesowen bid has focused on town centre regeneration, including a scheme to improve public transport, cycling and walking routes.

A new education centre – potentially managed by Halesowen College – have been earmarked for the Little Cornbow and Pool Road car parks.

One of the Dudley bids in round two focuses on the regeneration of Halesowen town centre

Dudley Council's ruling Cabinet is expected to sign off on the bids at a meeting next week.

Sandwell Council did not submit any bids in the first round, with then leader Rajbir Singh insisting the authority was “working tirelessly behind the scenes” on potential bids for round two.

While no official plans have been revealed, it is understood the council is considering a West Bromwich East bid for funding for a new youth centre, with the Edward Street car park looked at as a potential site.

Walsall Council said it did not bid for any cash in the first round due to timescale issues.

For round two, Walsall North MP Eddie Hughes said a £20m bid for funding for regeneration in Willenhall was being worked on.

It includes a housing scheme at Moat Street/Villiers Street; employment development at Anson Road; and active travel improvements to enhance cycling and walking and reduce congestion.

“It is essential that we do everything possible to secure more funding for the town,” he said.

A Walsall South bid for up to £10m to support the creation of a 1,000-seat performing arts venue in the town centre is also being finalised.

The council has already received £11.25m in Towns Deal funding to kick start the scheme.

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