Housing Secretary's vision of vibrant Wolverhampton
The Housing Secretary has outlined plans to transform Wolverhampton into a "vibrant" city that visitors from across the region will flock to.
Robert Jenrick, who grew up in Wolverhampton, took a tour of the city centre as part of the Conservatives election campaign.
Noting the high number of empty shops and low footfall, he said the city that he loves has "come under a lot of pressure" in recent years from changing consumer habits and the success of Birmingham and out-of-town shopping centres.
He said he was saddened to see the demise of Beatties, a store which he used to frequent as a youngster, but claimed that with the right investment the city could "rise up" and become a major success in future.
"It is crucial that we invest money in Wolverhampton so that the city centre can adapt and evolve to the changes that have happened in recent years," he said.
Mr Jenrick highlighted the government's £20m high street fund to get more homes and workspaces in the city centre, and the £25m towns fund to support entrepreneurs and businesses as "starting points" in its regeneration.
He added: "We need to do more. I want to see investment into the city so we can have a proper strategy that grips the city centre, gets the housing and the offices into it, and improves the look and feel and the cultural offer.
"That is how this once again becomes a vibrant destination not just for people from Wolverhampton, but as I knew from my childhood, from a wide periphery around.
"I want to see people from Shropshire and the Black Country come into the city centre to go shopping and go out in the evening.
"I think we can do that. The investment we are making is just the beginning of that process."
Mr Jenrick was a guest of Stuart Anderson, the parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South West, who said he was committed to securing further investment for the city if he gets elected.
"We need to bring some life and energy back here," he added. "Wolverhampton is an amazing place, but the city centre has been forgotten and left behind. That needs to change."
Wolverhampton Council is in the midst of a plan to revitalise the city centre, which is underpinned by the new Westside development.