WOLVERHAMPTON: £65m housing scheme approved
Delighted planning chiefs have backed a long-awaited £65 million housing redevelopment of a “disgusting” canalside area in Wolverhampton.
A total of 366 homes will be built on the Union Mill and Lower Horseley Fields site along with office space and a retail unit for a shop or café following the decision to approve by City of Wolverhampton Council’s planning committee.
The scheme, submitted by Union Mill Street Wolverhampton SPV Ltd, will involve the demolition of vacant properties as well as the conversion of historic buildings on the site.
Committee members said the transformation of the area had been a long time coming, having been a blight for years.
The development will be carried out in four stages and will feature the erection of 10 new buildings. Once completed, there will be 359 apartments and seven houses there.
The buildings to be retained and converted are the former Cheese and Butter Warehouse and two other properties known as the slip docks. The Grade II Listed 16A Union Mill Street will also be kept.
A number of workshops and former wharf manager houses will be demolished due to the poor condition they are now in.
Committee chairman Keith Inston said: “It’s a £65 million investment.
“It’s an extensive brownfield development with listed building and local asset restoration including canalside enhancements, major biodiversity and environmental improvements.”
Councillor Wendy Thompson added: “We have waited a very long time for this and I do remember a railway journey where two of the staff looked out of the window and saw the old site and said ‘Isn’t it disgusting?’
“They wondered why everything was moving elsewhere but not here. So it’s good to see it.
“I think it’s also very important about what’s been said about landscaping. We don’t want to have just urban landscape without trees, shrubbery, grass, lawn – it would not have the right setting.
“It’s great to see historic buildings being brought back and it’s a shame that hasn’t happened with the eye infirmary on Compton Road.
“It’s a huge amount of money coming into Wolverhampton and thank goodness there will be a far better view for those railway passengers passing through.”
Councillor Alan Butt said: “Having grown up in East Park up till the age of 10 and lived within 300 yards of it, I’m very pleased to see that money is going to be put into it.
“It’s pleasing to see the section 106 money will be spread around.”
And East Park councillor Anwen Muston said: “This is a superb project and it is long in it’s coming.
“It is part of the East Park gateway along Willenhall Road as well as the redevelopment of our heritage along the canal – bringing that back into use.
“I’m grateful money will go into East Park and I fully support this.”
In the application, agents WSP said: “Through its high-quality design and consideration of the site’s existing assets, the proposal will enhance residents and site users’ appreciation of the canal and historic buildings.
“This is an exciting scheme for Wolverhampton’s Canalside Quarter, which includes the transformation of a brownfield site and the conservation-led regeneration of the Union Mill site.
“The design of the new buildings takes cues from, and complements, the surrounding industrial heritage of the area and it would restore and better reveal the heritage significance of the grade II listed Former Cheese and Butter Warehouse, the grade II listed Wharf Manager’s House, the locally listed buildings associated with Union Mill, and the character and appearance of the Union Mill Conservation Area, as well as the setting of neighbouring heritage assets.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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