Council bosses put city lighting plans under spotlight

Plans to introduce improved lighting and greenery to streets along a 1.5-mile walking route in Wolverhampton are to be discussed by council bosses next week.

If it gets the go-ahead from councillors on July 25 the first phase works of the Lighting Up the City project will be carried out between August 2017 and February 2018.

Part of the project manager’s role will be to source funding, grants and partners to help finance the £520,000 first phase, said City of Wolverhampton Council.

The scheme will include features at the new city centre market, Queen Square fountain and steps, Dudley Street light stacks and trees, the Lady Wulfruna statue, Lock Street open space, Wishbone Bridge, St Peter’s Gardens, Civic Halls, and a University of Wolverhampton scheme at Deanery Place.

Work has already been undertaken to upgrade existing lighting schemes within the city, including the Cenotaph at St Peter’s Square, and the Ionic Order at Wednesfield.

Long-term plans include the introduction of pocket parks – small green spaces in an urban setting.

Cllr Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment, said: “This project aims to showcase some of the many architecturally interesting buildings in the city, create a more interesting and attractive environment throughout the night and day, and create a greener and more inviting environment.

“The examples of the Cenotaph and the Ionic Order demonstrate how the application of even small scale lighting can significantly enhance the city centre environment.

“In creating a more inviting and safer environment it is anticipated that footfall will increase within the city resulting in economic benefits for the area. In addition, the inclusion of a walking route within the city is anticipated to contribute towards healthier lifestyles by increasing physical activity participation levels.

“The scheme will of course be carried out with the environment in mind by using LED lighting to reduce energy demand.”

A number of buildings and structures have been identified for enhanced lighting and will require agreement and support from a number of different partners.

The council has had initial discussions with partners such as the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, House of Fraser, and the Mander Centre, and says it will continue these as the final proposal is developed.

The council is also looking to introduce lighting schemes as part of new developments, such as the £55m Westside project, and within forthcoming public realm improvement and connectivity projects that are being developed as part of the Connected Places Strategy delivery plan.