The regeneration of Dudley town centre was given a double boost today (Wednesday January 29) with work starting on its long-awaited Metro tram line.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and Councillor Pat Harley, leader of Dudley Council, officially broke ground on the £449m Metro line as well as announcing a £724,000 funding deal by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to demolish the derelict seven-storey office block and clear the site ready for development.
The Metro extension, which is also being funded by the WMCA, will further transform Dudley, offering a long-awaited rail transit connection to the rest of the region, driving investment and economic growth.
The Mayor, said: “This is a massive day for Dudley, which like other towns in the West Midlands has been hit hard by changes in modern shopping habits and other factors, resulting in empty shops and offices and a lack of engaging spaces for the local community. The future success of town centres will also hinge on transport links, and so it is great to see work progressing on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro line, helping to better connect the borough of Dudley with the wider West Midlands.”
Councillor Harley added: “We plan to invest more than £700 million in the town centre over the next five years. Along with the new bus and tram interchange, and the proposed Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill which will run through Dudley, it promises an exciting future.”
To mark the start of the tramway, the Mayor and Cllr Harley joined workers building a £4.33m wall at Castle Hill, which is the first physical structure of the project. The wall is currently being built with money from a grant agreement funded from the WMCA with completion expected this summer.
When it opens to passengers in 2023, the Metro extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill will offer people vastly improved transport links with up to 17 stops including Dudley Town Centre.