West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) leaders have given the go ahead for the new £24 million Dudley Interchange.
The approval of the full business case means work can now get underway on a new high-quality bus and tram interchange which will form a crucial part of the wider regeneration of Dudley town centre.
Built on the site of the existing bus station, it will link to the new Metro tram extension currently under construction by the Midland Metro Alliance between Wednesbury and Brierley Hill. Both projects are due to be completed in 2023.
The seamless connectivity between bus, tram and, longer term, a planned Sprint bus service, will offer people improved links to jobs and leisure opportunities throughout the West Midlands – as well as offer visitors to Dudley town centre a comfortable and convenient alternative to the car.
Investment in public transport is also key in supporting the region’s #WM2041 ambition to become a carbon neutral region within the next 20 years.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, is leading on the Interchange project in partnership with Dudley Council. The majority of the funding is coming from the region’s Transforming Cities Fund allocation, topped up with contributions from the council and WMCA.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Like other town centres Dudley has been hit hard in recent years, which is why the WMCA is putting its cash to good use to help revitalise the borough.
“Through helping to knock down the tombstone of Cavendish House to make way for the Portersfield development, to extending the Midland Metro through the town to Brierley Hill, we are committed to doing what we can to support the council in bringing their ambitious £1bn masterplan to life.
“That’s why I am delighted we have approved even more funding for Dudley, with the new interchange set to provide a fitting gateway to what will be a revitalised and reborn town centre.”
Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We are delivering a £1billion regeneration masterplan for Dudley borough and despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic Dudley town centre is currently a hive of exciting construction work.
“I welcome the confirmation of funding for the town’s Interchange, we have continued to drive forward plans to improve access to travel for the town and this impressive facility will help people to connect their bus, Metro and rail journeys.
“Our plans for Dudley town centre will revolutionise the education offer in our borough and create exciting new jobs and opportunities for local people, and transport will be a key component in making our vision a reality.”
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “Across the West Midlands we are investing in our bus, rail, tram and cycling networks to grow our economy, offer a clean and convenient alternative to private cars and traffic congestion and improve the lives of millions of people.
“Dudley Interchange will act as a catalyst to the redevelopment of the town centre and support investment and jobs.”
The existing bus station was built in 1986 and is the oldest in the West Midlands. With 420,000 bus departures per year pre-pandemic it is also one of the busiest.
Key regeneration projects in Dudley town centre include:
- The £450m Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension
- The Portersfield development which is a proposed £82m mixed-use regeneration scheme which comprises of 12 acres of retail, entertainment, and student and residential accommodation on the former Cavendish House site – the demolition of which was funded by the WMCA
- The new £31m Dudley Leisure Centre
- The £28m Very Light Rail National Innovation Centre, supported by the WMCA
- The £26.8m Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology
- Improvements to both Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum
Photo credit: Transport for West Midlands