Leader welcomes £20m Bilston Health & Regeneration Programme boost

Computer generated image of what the new public space at Bilston High Street Link site could look like

The City of Wolverhampton Council Leader has welcomed the announcement that Wolverhampton is to receive £20million to help deliver its transformative Bilston Health & Regeneration Programme (HaRP).

Following this week’s spring budget, the Government has revealed 16 short-listed Levelling Up round 2 bids that will now receive funding after initially being declared unsuccessful in January.

The Bilston HaRP is one of those bids and the funding will contribute to the overall £33.9million scheme that will deliver a new state-of-the-art Health and Wellbeing Facility and works to improve public realm and external public spaces around Bilston Markets and the surrounding area to link key town centre facilities and encourage green and active travel. The Health and Wellbeing Facility will bring together a number of partners and providers from the NHS, Social Care and Wellbeing and Leisure sectors to support around 18,000 patients.

The facility will be an anchor within the community investing in early intervention and prevention, giving access to a campus that builds resilience, integrates and transforms primary and community services and brings care closer to people's homes - connecting people, communities and place.

It will be located in the centre of the town next to WV Active Bilston-Bert Williams leisure centre, bringing people into the town centre – and connecting to extensive public space improvements and Bilston’s public transport hub.

The scheme also includes improvement works to the town’s popular markets to build on over £5million of investment already secured through the Towns Fund.

The additional money will enable the full scope of works at the market to be undertaken including boundary improvements, a full package of new signage, a complete renewal of all trader car parks and provision of a new taxi drop-off and bike hub adjacent to the existing bus/metro interchange. Public spaces will also benefit from enhanced landscaping.

A new ‘pocket park’ will be developed between the Black Country Route and Church Street providing a venue that will allow for street food and music, a place to enjoy improved open space, and the option for experiential activities to support wellbeing and mental health and community integration - enhancing the retail core of the town centre.

The pocket park will be one stop on an active travel walking and cycling route that will feature additional planting, lighting, trees, benches, and the refurbishment of existing public art pieces, running from the new Health and Wellbeing Facility to the town centre.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “I am delighted the quality of our bid submission has been recognised and has now received the full £20million it deserves.

“The team has worked extremely hard to get to this point and it is a scheme that has been well supported by Pat McFadden MP and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

“The Bilston Health and Regeneration Programme will deliver major benefits in the town and support the programme of investment already delivered in Bilston by the council and key partners over several years.

“This facility will be located where it can benefit the town the most, right in the centre, making it highly accessible and underpinned by investment in high-quality public realm and connectivity.

“We want our traditional local centres to flourish, and we can now carry out our plans that build substantially on the investment already secured through the Towns Fund for Bilston’s markets.”

The remaining funding required for the overall Bilston HaRP will be made up of £5.2million from the Towns Fund, plus Council and partner contributions.

A community event is being held at Bilston outdoor market (WV14 0DN) on Monday, March 20, between 9am and 2pm, to gain public feedback on shaping the design and services of the health and wellbeing facility ahead of an outline planning application this year.

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