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Wolverhampton Westside: Find out the views of Express & Star readers

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Property | Published:

A great asset or doomed to failure.

An artist's impression of what Westside will look like

It's fair to say that Wolverhampton Council's bold plans for the city's Westside development have been met with a mixed response from Express & Star readers.

Since last week's announcement that the delayed scheme had been given a new lease of life, readers have inundated the E&S with their views.

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It is set to feature a cinema, 10-pin bowling, an adventure golf course, a 600-space car park and a trampoline centre with soft play, as well as an initial six restaurants. Preliminary work is set to start on the site, between the Penn Road island and Salop Street, later this year, with a view to a full opening in 2021.

And plenty of readers have taken to Facebook and expressandstar.com to hail the scheme as a great boost for the city.

Gemma Harrison said: "I think it will be a great asset to the city centre, and I can't wait to see the progress.

"People are far too negative about the place in general, and I don't understand how progress and the revamping of this space can be seen as such a negative thing. The city is crying out for more restaurants and leisure. I can't wait to see my hometown flourish."

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Deb Chidlow said: "About time investment was made in the city centre. It's nearly always across the other side of town – namely Bentley Bridge – which is not convenient for at least half of the town's residents!"

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Luke Sawyer was one of several readers to hit out at critics of the project. He said: "Anyone that has anything negative about this needs to give their head a wobble.

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"It's great for the city in an area that has been neglected in recent years. Get it built."

After it was delayed last year over financing issues, Amy Frost was among those to express relief that Westside was finally getting off the ground. "Thank God it's finally getting underway!! The city needs it," she said.

Ricky Bahia said: "Something to look forward to in Wolverhampton. Lets hope this brings in the footfall and all works out."

The response certainly hasn't all been positive though, with readers questioning the city council's ability to make the project become a reality, as well as expressing concern over the way it is funded.

The £50 million required for the scheme has been bankrolled by developers Urban & Civic through a pension fund.

Chris Hallett said: "This council should stop wasting our money and ripping the heart out of the town.

"Yes it’s a town – always was and always will be until the council and the people think differently. The last thing we need is more leisure facilities."

Claire Dolman said: "The town is full of empty offices and empty shops, so why are we building more? The market was deliberately put into managed decline, despite being a valued and much loved resource for those on a tight budget and especially pensioners.

"I can't believe an agreement to build a new cinema and the pulling of council funding from the Lighthouse is a coincidence either.

"It's bright, it's shiny, but it's not needed and not wanted. Has Shrewsbury got all this nonsense? No. And their town centre is doing just fine."

Some, including Dawn Jagdev and Dave Bosworth, questioned the idea of having a trampoline centre when others, including Airspace at Bentley Bridge, were closing down.

Darren Groucutt said Westside was "doomed to failure" due to the council's involvement, while Manny Shokar injected a touch of dry humour into proceedings, saying: "Work due to be completed in 3054... expect roadworks and delays until then."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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