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July 18, 2024
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New ‘vacant property taskforce’ to bring Wolverhampton’s empty buildings back to life

The aim is to get major buildings in the town, which are standing empty, back into use.

The council’s director of regeneration Richard Lawrence revealed the plan at the council’s City Centre Living showcase that was held at Molineux this week.

The showcase heard about a range of schemes to bring new homes into the heart of Wolverhampton.

“As well as the new schemes there are also roles for existing buildings to play,” Mr Lawrence said.

The council aims to work with partners from the public and private sector to bring forward schemes to utilise vacant properties.

“The aim is to bring buildings back to life,” added Mr Lawrence.

Developer Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said there would be a huge amount of opportunities for the taskforce.

“Wolverhampton is a city that needs to change and transform and reimagine itself and that is creating huge opportunities,” he stressed.

He said that re-purposing old existing properties was an exciting prospect for Capital & Centric.

Many developers have been working with the council for several years and schemes are now beginning to come forward.

But there are still many boarded-up businesses in the city centre streets.

The iconic Beatties store is just one of them.

The former department store in Victoria Street was put up for sale for £7.5 million last autumn.

The 146-year-old building, which has been empty since House of Fraser moved out of the building in 2020, has planning permission for more than 400 flats.

The Hooded Ram, which occupied the former NatWest Bank building on the corner of Lichfield Street, closed its doors in 2021 and has remained vacant ever since. Next door is the former Coral bookmakers, also now boarded up.

The old Jobcentre at the junction of Queen Street and Market Street has also been empty for more than a year and the former home of the Express & Star in Queen Street is in the process of being sold for redevelopment.

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