Work grinds to a halt at old Sunbeam factory in Wolverhampton
Work on the £11.5 million revamp of Wolverhampton’s iconic Sunbeam factory has stalled.
The former Sunbeam works, which has been sitting derelict for more than two decades, is being turned into 116 homes.
But work on the site off Penn Road Island has slowed in recent weeks, with funding issues believed to be at the heart of the delay.
Conservative group leader Wendy Thompson said she was ‘disappointed’ work has hit the buffers – and urged bosses to get the scheme back on track as quickly as possible.
She said: “Without a doubt it is disappointing – we need some of these old buildings to be turned into residential sites.
“It is very close to the city centre which would mean there are more people around there close to the shops.
“I think the council needs to make every effort possible to see if anything can be done to make sure the building gets finished.
“They have made a very good start on it and it’s been wonderful to see the progress that’s been made.
“But we have to make sure that the work continues.”
The Sunbeam works helped earn Wolverhampton a worldwide reputation in the transport industry.
The landmark building, which has been derelict since 1997, is being transformed with the conversion by former rugby player Liam Wordley.
His company, QED Developments Ltd, is working on 116 homes at the factory with some tenants already living at the site and a coffee shop opened there.
Mr Wordley confirmed work has ground to a halt on the site but did not want to comment any further.
The £11.5 million scheme is retaining much of the building’s familiar face, seen by thousands of motorists from the island off Penn Road.
Dozens of smart new windows have been put in replacing the broken window panes that faced people as they came into Wolverhampton for years.
But now the workers who were seen at the site each day up until recently have vanished.
From the late 1800s, most of Sunbeam’s bicycle, motorcycle, and some motor car production was carried out at the site.
Perhaps most notably, Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird Sunbeam car, which set a world speed record in 1924, was produced at the site.
When production was switched a to a factory in Fallings Park in the 1950s, the lockmakers C E Marshall occupied the site.
In acknowledgement of the history of the building, a Sunbeam S8 motorcycle from 1952 hangs from the ceiling as you go through the main entrance.