City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet looks set to approve the next steps towards final design of a new phase of city centre improvements after receiving feedback on the concept proposals from the public and stakeholders.

A report, to be considered next Wednesday (22 February), outlines the outcome of engagement on the concept design for the transformation works to reshape Lichfield Street, Queen Square, Princess Square and Darlington Street.

If approved, a detailed design will be formulated and the process of appointing a contractor will begin for delivery of the scheme.

Work on the first two phases of the city centre improvement programme in the Victoria Street and Civic Halls areas are expected to be completed by the end of March.

It is all part of a move to reimagine the city centre to make it a place that attracts people for not only shopping but also for varied events and activities in its public spaces.

Key concept proposals include wider footpaths to improve pedestrian experience and enable hospitality businesses to offer outdoor seating, an increased number of bus stops and coach stops to serve the Grand Theatre, a two-way continuous cycle route, one-way bus and taxi access (westbound), the creation of new and improved events spaces, new trees, planting and street furniture.

Engagement with stakeholders and the public took place between 8 November and 9 December, 2022 and the plans can be viewed in more detail at City Centre Public Realm Improvements (Lichfield Street and Queen Square) engagement

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment and Climate Change, said: “We want people to enjoy our city centre from the moment they arrive, and our public realm improvements will be transformational.

“They will deliver real, tangible benefits for businesses, residents and visitors to our city centre, supporting the development of our events strategy.

“Studies have shown that cities that have seen an increase in footfall post pandemic have done so by diversifying their offer away from pure retail to experiential activities through events and attractions and by improving public spaces to create the infrastructure for these activities as well as enhanced walking, cycling and dwell space.

“Our streets will be given a whole new lease of life, making them much more attractive and inviting, which will help to drive more footfall to businesses – boosting the local economy.  

“I would like to thank the stakeholders and public for their feedback on the concept proposals, which will help us shape the details of the scheme.”

The scheme will be supported by a combination of £3million from the Towns Fund and, subject to official confirmation, £9.5million from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) fund. Bids for other external funding have also been made.

The works will also complement other transformational development schemes already underway or in the pipeline in the city centre, including the £150 million Interchange and commercial district, and thousands of new homes at Brewers Yard and Canalside – all helping to create hundreds of new jobs and further investment opportunities.