Released: March 3, 2021

Reaction to announcement on Town Deal funding

City of Wolverhampton Council has welcomed Town Deal funding announced today (Wednesday) by Government – but expressed disappointment the amount falls short of the original bid.

£25million has been awarded to help deliver transformational schemes across the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield.

However, the original bid submitted by Wolverhampton’s Town Deal Board in July was for up to £48million - £23million more than has been awarded.

The ambitious bid focussed on five core themes: employment and skills; changing perceptions of the city; regeneration and renewal; connectivity (digital and transport); and vibrancy and footfall.

Deliverable major projects outlined within the bid include the City Learning Quarter, National Brownfield Institute, 5G application accelerator, and Wolves at Work employment programme, improvements to Bilston and Wednesfield markets and their High Streets, Canalside residential development schemes such as Brewers Yard and Horsley Fields, an Arts Park next to the Grand Theatre and further city centre public realm works.

Chair of the Wolverhampton Town Deal Board and Black Country LEP Board Member, Ninder Johal, said: “We must now meet as a Board to work out how best to make use of the funding we have been given to ensure it generates as many jobs, apprenticeships, learning opportunities and new homes as possible.

“The final plans will reshape all three areas – benefitting residents, businesses and visitors in the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, added: “We welcome the Town Deal investment that has been announced.

“However, we are disappointed that the sum awarded falls significantly short of the £48million that we bid for.

“Our proposals were unanimously agreed by the Wolverhampton Town Deal Board, which consists of key partners from across the political and business spectrum to advise on the development of the city centre and the two town centres.

“We must now make best use of the funding we have to help our city recover and relight after the impact of the pandemic.

“We will also ensure none of the projects in our original bid get left behind as we will pursue other sources of funding to make them happen.”

The Towns Fund was announced by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in September 2019 when 100 places, including Wolverhampton, were invited to develop proposals for a multi-million-pound Town Deal.