City of Wolverhampton Council Statement: Future High Streets Fund
City of Wolverhampton Council has welcomed ‘Future High Streets’ funding announced by Government – but expressed disappointment that the amount falls short of the original bid.
£15.7 million has been provisionally awarded to help deliver the council’s ambitious city centre vision.
However, the original bid submitted earlier this year was for £23.8 million - £8 million more than has been awarded.
The plans focus on transforming 38 acres to the west of the city centre, focusing on Victoria Street, Bell Street, Fold Street and public realm around the Civic Halls and Westside development.
The area was once part of the city centre’s retail core however its fortunes have suffered. The bid aims to address this and create hundreds of new jobs, unlocking the opportunity to deliver hundreds of new city centre homes, a hotel, event zone and green public space improvements.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “We welcome the Future High Street Funds investment that was announced on Boxing Day.
“However, we are disappointed that the sum awarded falls some way short of the full £23.8 million that we bid for earlier this year.
“We have a strong and compelling vision for the future of our city centre. Unfortunately, the shortfall means we will have to scale back our plans unless the Government is prepared to have further discussions over how we can achieve full funding.
“This would allow us to deliver our full plans which contribute to the Government’s levelling up agenda which we wholeheartedly support.”
The Future High Street Fund bid was described as a “catalyst to attract further investment to the city” when submitted earlier this year. If fully funded, the bid will complement a number of transformational development schemes already underway or in the pipeline for the city including the £150 million city centre interchange, thousands of new city centre homes at Brewers Yard and Canalside, Westside leisure development and Civic Halls improvements.