Back in July I wrote, in this very newspaper, that the council was determined to deliver a fantastic new Civic Halls on time and on budget.
As the newly elected leader, I pledged my commitment to making this happen.
The announcement that our new delivery partner will be Willmott Dixon for this exciting and iconic £38 million project and that planning consent has been approved for the detailed design is welcome news.
It demonstrates that, as a council, we can move quickly and be agile, even in the face of adversity.
It’s an important contract to get right. We’ve carried out a thorough, fair and robust process to get to this place and don’t let anyone tell you any different.
The Civic Halls has been one of the council’s most scrutinised projects ever and the process to appoint the new contractor has been through both Cabinet and Full Council.
I’m delighted we’ve secured one of the UK’s leading contractors with a strong regional and local presence, which will undoubtedly mean more good jobs and opportunities for local people.
Willmott Dixon already has strong ties with our city, with their ground-breaking initiative at the Marches, building 266 homes and a construction hub for trainees.
And now they will start the important work on the Civic Halls that will get the project back on track.
Willmott Dixon will be on site shortly and we’ll start to see the world-class entertainment venue we all want taking shape.
By the end of the year we’ll be starting to get acts for Autumn 2021 and we’re planning to make a proper splash on the opening night.
If anyone has any ideas about how to make it a night to remember and who you’d want as the opening act, I’d like to hear them. You can get in touch through the council’s Twitter account @wolvescouncil.
When it opens in 2021, the experience will be totally different, not only inside the venue, but also outside, as you can see from the image on the front page.
We’re also developing proposals for the public space around the Civic Halls and we’ll be listening to what local people and businesses say on this, as well as going through further council scrutiny.
The Civic Halls is synonymous with our great city. It’s absolutely critical to the plans for our future. It will be amazing.
With your support we will deliver a world-class venue that will turbo charge our night time economy, attracting half a million visitors every year. It will put Wolverhampton firmly on the map again with top quality entertainment.