The government officially identified Wolverhampton as “a place with strong local leadership and ambition where investment can be maximised” in it’s Levelling Up white paper in February.
In the last ten years the city has benefited from major cash injections into local businesses including Jaguar Land Rover, the National Brownfield Institute and most recently the relocation of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to the city’s new i9 building and commercial district.
Ongoing projects include the delivery of the £60 million City Learning Quarter, a state-of-the-art education hub grouping together the city’s college, adult education and library facilities alongside new housing development.
Also, the Bilston Health and Regeneration Programme is continuing to develop a new town centre health, care and wellbeing hub in what is one of the city’s most deprived communities.
In a report to the city council’s cabinet committee, head of policy and strategy Laura Collings said: “The city centre regeneration programme will deliver ambitious projects by creating an aspirational, mixed-use community blending living alongside employment and leisure space facilities.
“The city centre regeneration programme includes initiatives which will fuel social and economic confidence, drive investment and boost economic growth.
“More is needed to level up, in terms of development as well as ensuring that regeneration benefits the whole city. Like many post-industrial places we face long-term social and economic challenges, but we believe our industrial heritage is an asset to our economy.
“It has left a legacy of brownfield sites that present redevelopment challenges and we also face ongoing challenges in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a net carbon neutral city by 2041 and upgrading our digital infrastructure,” she added.
“However, investor confidence and interest in the city continues to grow, with £4.4bn of planned investment on site or in the pipeline in the city. It is critical to our levelling up approach that local people continue to benefit from new investment.
“Our city plan outlines an overarching ambition that Wulfrunians will live longer, healthier lives, and outlines six priorities – strong families where children grow up well and achieve their full potential; fulfilled lives for all with quality care for those that need it; healthy, inclusive communities; good homes in well-connected neighbourhoods; more local people into good jobs, training and a thriving economy in all parts of the city.”