£13m regeneration scheme creates industrial park

Mayank Gupta, Drywall Steel Sections, and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands

A £13m scheme spearheaded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is set to create 150 jobs at a new Wolverhampton industrial park.

Four-and-a-half acres of brownfield land off Spring Road in Ettingshall, Wolverhampton is being transformed into new employment land.

Drywall Steel Sections will move into a £9.5m 39,500 sq ft purpose built factory after outgrowing its existing site in Cradley Heath.

The firm, which manufactures light gauge structural steel framing as well as systems for wall partitions and ceilings, will now be able to safeguard existing jobs and provide the extra capacity it needs to grow and take on more people in the future.

The £13m scheme also includes the construction of 17 commercial starter units for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to move into.

The investment is the latest to be made by the WMCA as part of its nationally leading ‘brownfield first’ regeneration programme which is helping to unlock and transform hundreds of acres of former industrial land across the region for high quality, affordable homes and modern premises for job creating businesses.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair said: “Throughout what has been a challenging couple of years for our region, we’ve maintained our commitment to protecting our precious green belt by prioritising investment in the regeneration of brownfield sites in order to provide new, affordable housing for local people and commercial spaces for our job creating businesses.

“This latest investment is a great example of how the WMCA is deploying its funding to help provide modern, fit for purpose premises so that companies like Drywall Steel Sections can grow their businesses, generate jobs and help support our regional recovery”.

Drywall is part of a family-owned group of companies set up by Rajinder and Sunita Gupta more than 20 years ago. Since joining the business five years ago, their son Mayank has taken over as the managing director.

Mayank, who previously worked in television production management and the financial sector before joining the family firm, said: “The new Drywall Steel Sections Ltd. unit and the smaller units on the new Industrial Park provide a significant contribution to the overall regeneration and economic renaissance currently underway all over the West Midlands.

“We are proud to move our manufacturing business’s Headquarters back to our home city of Wolverhampton, retaining all existing staff, with further plans to create more jobs as the company grows”.

Part of the WMCA investment will now be used to cover the cost of dealing with a number of historic mine shafts on the land, which has stood vacant and unused since luxury car maker Rolls Royce stopped using it as a sports ground 15 years ago.

Access to funding for the project was provided by Frontier Development Capital Ltd (FDC), a fund manager working closely with property developers to arrange investments from the WMCA’s Collective Investment Fund (CIF), Revolving Investment fund (RIF) and Brownfield Land and Property Development Fund (BLPDF).

Cllr Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, added: “The WMCA continues to use the money it has secured from Government to drive forward our ‘brownfield first’ regeneration programme and support our economic recovery set out in our Plan for Growth.

“These sorts of investments not only unlock difficult to develop brownfield sites, in this case one with mine shafts, but also provide developers and investors with the confidence they need to take forward schemes that create new homes and jobs for local people.”

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