The now vacant former British Steel site located off Qualcast Road and adjacent to the Wyrley and Essington Canal basin represents a significant parcel of land as part of one of the most strategic brownfield regeneration schemes in the region.
The acquisition demonstrates the council’s commitment to investing in long term regeneration programmes beyond Covid-19 and will create a new vibrant city quarter through the delivery of homes, public realm and wider employment and job creation.
The first phase of Canalside has seen council owned land at Horseley Fields made ready for development, while the building of around 350 homes by build to rent developer PlaceFirst on the historic Union Mill site is expected to start in 2021.
The former British Steel site was a regional distribution and stockholding centre, which following the collapse of British Steel, has stood vacant and redundant.
It sits between the council’s existing landholdings and Canal & River Trust’s cleared Crane Foundry site and is just a 10 minute walk from the city’s £150 million transport interchange, providing quick, direct access to Birmingham, London and Manchester.
The council is continuing to work with project partners the Canal & River Trust and Homes England, who part funded and were involved with the initial feasibility studies, to bring forward comprehensive development of the former British Steel site and neighbouring sites, as part of a wider masterplan of residential, leisure and commercial spaces interacting with the historic canal basin.
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield said: “Capital projects such as Canalside are essential to the city’s regeneration strategy, wider transformation and economic wellbeing post Covid-19.
“We need the local jobs and multi million pound investment that schemes like this bring – now more than ever.
“This city has a range of fantastic assets, great connectivity, strong partnerships and fantastic people – all of which have helped us to weather the storm and maintain strong interest from investors and developers. We need to be confident and ambitious about our local strategy for growth whilst pressing the Government for investment to help deliver our ambitious local plans.”
Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, added: “The British Steel site represents the largest redundant brownfield site in the city centre and has long been identified for regeneration. With this acquisition, the transformational Canalside vision is one step closer to delivery.
“Not only does it bring back into use large parcels of brownfield land, it also enables us to take advantage of our fantastic waterways and the heritage that comes with it.
“Urban living forms a critical part of how we are re-imagining our city centre and will help us meet the increasing demand for housing.
“It will also provide hundreds of jobs and a boost our economic recovery from Covid-19.
“Canalside is a large and exciting opportunity that will require determined and skilful leadership with our partners to realise the opportunity.”