Earlier this week plans where finally revealed for the wholescale redevelopment of the Portersfield area of Dudley Town Centre. A stunning new addition to the historic skyline is proposed with an £82 million leisure and retail complex. A planning application has been submitted and if approved will mark a key step in creating the huge development which will include new shops, a cinema, bars and restaurants, a gym and accommodation for students – creating more than 500 jobs.
Key to the plans at the top of Castle Hill is the demolition of the eyesore Cavendish House, a planning application to demolish the eight-storey former offices has also been submitted to council planners.
A spokesperson for the developer said “This is an extremely exciting project that will be a game changer for Dudley, alongside all of the other major infrastructure and redevelopment projects that are happening in the town. Dudley is finally getting the investment and recognition it deserves.”
When complete, Portersfield will link in with the proposed new bus station and connect with the planned £353 million Midland Metro extension through the town.
Close by in Brierley Hill is the “DY5” Dudley’s business and innovation enterprise zone to be the high tech hub of the Black Country, connecting advanced manufacturing to industrial sites via the new sustainable metro link. Now making a real difference in the attitude of potential occupiers and raising the profile of the area. We are advising on a number of properties recently and are seeing a real rallying of interest and focus on the area. DY5 is located in Dudley Borough’s strategic centre of Brierley Hill and will put Dudley on the national and international map as a location of choice for business and innovation, with low cost and high quality office space connected to the regional infrastructure. Manufacturing and technology of the region will help deliver new business, as well as broaden the digital and professional base into existing manufacturing technology. The high tech hub of the Black Country will create 7,000 new jobs over 25 years. With the new metro line to connect DY5 to new housing developments along the route, as well as to i54, HS2, Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham City Centre.
Elsewhere against a backdrop of reported modest economic growth, predictions for the next 12 months sentiment in the local property market remain positive. There are a number of challenges in the market including the full impact of Brexit which has undoubtedly slowed decision making and political risks at home and abroad but we are not expecting recessionary pressures in the foreseeable future.
Challenges exist principally around the supply of land in the face of strong demand from the e-tailing sector and the manufacturing sector. Strengthening demand also from the serviced office sector shows little sign of abating in response to the changing preferences of office occupiers who are keen to tap into the range of services, technology and personnel to be found within the serviced community.
The challenges faced by the retail sector look set to continue and there is an increasing threat of over-supply within some locations as the trend towards consolidation continues. There is less distinction between different property uses and we continue to see mixed-use schemes emerge in response to occupier trends.
The extended Metro and HS2 are now less than 10 years away, the expansion of the Metro will be concluded in less than four years and the capacity of Birmingham Airport certainly all combine to make the region attractive to inward investors.
The big challenge for the West Midlands Combined Authority is to build upon this momentum. The preparation for the Commonwealth Games will help in this regard with the prospect of almost 1 million visitors per day and unrivalled exposure and focus on our region.
And finally for those who have not heard an important event takes place tomorrow The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes in to force on May 25th after four years of preparation and debate is the regulation on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. Many businesses, including ourselves, have been very active in putting in place system’s to ensure compliance. The GDPR aims primarily to give control to citizens and residents over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment by unifying the regulation within the EU – despite Brexit !
So all of this and a Royal Wedding what isn’t there to smile about?