Council secures former British Steel site for city regeneration scheme

City of Wolverhampton Council has secured a nine-acre site which is key to its Canalside Quarter city centre project.

The now vacant former British Steel site located off Qualcast Road and adjacent to the Wyrley and Essington Canal canal basin represents a significant parcel of land as part of one of the most strategic brownfield regeneration schemes in the region.

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.

It sits between the council’s existing landholdings and Canal & River Trust’s cleared Crane Foundry site and is a ten-minute walk from the city’s £150m transport interchange.

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 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, Cllr Ian Brookfield, said: “Capital projects such as Canalside are essential to the city’s regeneration strategy, wider transformation and economic well-being 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.”

Cllr 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.”

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