Express & Star

£4m plan revealed to restore historic Wednesbury town centre

The historic centre of Wednesbury could be restored as part of a £4 million project unveiled by council bosses.

Market Place in Wednesbury. Picture: Google

Sandwell Council’s regeneration and growth and conservation teams are bidding for a £2 million grant from the High Streets Heritage Action Zones Scheme.

If approved, the cash will go towards the authority’s plan to improve the town’s Market Place area, restore buildings and assist local economic growth.

Sandwell Council’s application, through Historic England, would part finance a £4 million programme of improvements for the Wednesbury conservation area.

How Wednesbury's Market Place looked with its familiar clock tower in September 1964

The authority has put in an expression of interest for Government cash and would work with Historic England to develop a full programme design if the scheme is selected.

The proposed work would also include public realm improvements to Market Place, with improvements to paving, an enlarged pedestrian space, the planting of trees and the provision of new street furniture.

The larger available space would make way for the return of the current open-air market to its traditional location in Market Place, with new semi-permanent market shelters reflecting the historic character of the town.

It is envisaged that the restored Market Place would provide a focus for many of the scheme’s cultural activities.

The proposals may include the renovation of the town centre clock and grants would be available to help property owners restore traditional shopfronts and convert first floor space to create new homes and bring activity into the town centre.

Wednesbury's market pictured on October 1, 1971, after it moved from Market Place

Councillor Bob Lloyd, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for inclusive economic growth, said: “This is an exciting scheme – if we get the go-ahead it would create an opportunity to revitalise the centre of this historic town.

“There are many fine buildings from different periods in our very attractive Market Place and it would be great news if we can get financial support to restore the appearance of the town, bring the market back to its historical place and renovate historic frontages.

“For this scheme to be successful, communities need to be fully engaged and I would urge local organisations to support this ambitious proposal by joining in the cultural programme when it is launched.”