It is part of a Government package of funding awarded last summer to 100 towns and cities that have also been invited by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to bid for larger sums to support transformational regeneration schemes.
City of Wolverhampton Council is waiting to discover the outcome of its full Towns Fund bid for up to £48million. In the meantime, the accelerator funding is being used to bolster a wide range of projects in the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield, including improvements to community spaces, public realm and high streets.
Chair of the Wolverhampton Town Deal Board and Black Country LEP Board Member, Ninder Johal, said: “The speed with which these accelerator projects have been undertaken is testament to what can be achieved through collaboration and partnership when all the communities come together.
“It bodes well for the future projects we have lined up across the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield under the full bid.
“All the proposals have been agreed by the Board and will reshape all three areas – benefitting residents, businesses and visitors to the City of Wolverhampton.”
Through the accelerator funding, ongoing Bilston Town Hall changes include electrical upgrades, backstage improvements, the installation of an independent stage lighting rig and digital noticeboard, enabling the delivery of a wider range of community and commercial events at the venue.
LED Smart lighting is also set to be installed on the Mountford Lane/Walsall Street and Bow Street car parks to help create safe pedestrian areas in support of Bilston’s evening economy.
The area around Hall Street and Orchard Street is to be given an uplift through a project that will enable artists to showcase work, linked to Bilston’s history, on hoardings that will smarten up the area and support local residents in the growing creative industries sector.
In Wednesfield, contractors are on site to reconfigure and upgrade the town’s market after consultation was carried out with the traders. Street furniture, planters, new cycle parking, refuse/chewing gum bins, targeted enhancement of pavement surfacing in the town centre around the new market facilities, better high street signage and improved security are also part of the works.
Parking restrictions have been altered to support local businesses and an improvement plan for car parks, including new signage and parking bays is to be implemented. In the city centre, works are due to start to improve pedestrian safety and vehicle management in the shopping core of Dudley Street, King Street and Queen Street through the installation of electronic bollards.
Aligned with complementary Emergency Active Travel Funding, the Towns Fund Accelerator Grant has also enabled the pedestrianisation of Victoria Street from its junction at Queen Square to the junction with Bell Street and new outdoor seating areas created on the widened pavements.
Further work included installing filled planters to improve the appearance of the area, feature lighting, work to improve vacant shopfront appearances and new bike parking. Parts of Darlington Street, Queen Square and Lichfield Street have also become one way to allow the creation of a new cycle lane and pavement widening to promote active travel.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, added: “The works being done through the accelerator funding are just the start of positive changes to come for the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield.
“It has enabled us to progress schemes we already had identified in all three centres that will make a difference to residents.
“We are now awaiting the outcome of our full bid, which will help us deliver larger schemes in the city centre, Bilston and Wednesfield as we look to recover from the impact of the pandemic.”