Gallery Square has become the first site to benefit from a plan to improve public spaces in Walsall Town Centre. New benches and tree planters will soon be installed to compliment geometric patterns that have been painted across the square and onto Park Street.
Contractors have been working for the past few weeks to create a vibrant, colourful backdrop at a key gateway to the Town Centre beside the New Art Gallery.
Council staff and contractors have been working to complete the bulk of the work before the end of March 2021. The timescale was set by central government who have provided financial support through the Accelerated Funds Programme which is part of the larger Town Deal Fund which could see up to £25m invested in Walsall Town Centre over the next few years.
Other projects nearing completion are work on buildings, play area improvements and bio diversity projects in the Arboretum and Palfrey Park as well as highway verge improvements with tree planting and wildflower meadow creation on Lichfield road, Broadway North, Mellish road and Bescot Crescent. The projects also includes enhanced CCTV to address concerns of some residents over safety.
The Walsall Town Centre Masterplan identified a number of locations that would benefit from investment in the public realm as part of ambitious plan to re-imagine Walsall. Over the coming months, once lockdown measures have been lifted, visitors will be able to see marked improvements in a number of locations.
The public realm interventions will be followed by a number of large-scale projects recently submitted to the government and awaiting approval as part of the Town Deal Fund which could see a further £25m invested in Walsall Town Centre.
The projects have been supported by an advisory board made up from key figures in the public, private, educational and third sectors who have worked with council officers to ensure that the investment from central government has a lasting impact for residents and the local economy.
Speaking about the work, Chair of the Walsall Town Centre Advisory Board, Karl Woodward, Director of Procurement at Barhale said:
“The board have been there to provide a practical perspective using our wide range of experience to assist the council in making the right decisions. Apart from working in Walsall we all share a passion for its future success and the next stage of this process could see some really exciting outcomes.”
Speaking about the work, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council, Cllr Adrian Andrew said:
“We asked residents for their views on Walsall Town Centre and what improvements they would like to see. Cleaner, safer and more attractive were the most common responses and we’ve responded to that in our plans. This is just the beginning of a major transformation of Walsall Town Centre made possible by government funding and supported by the private and public sector. We have a once in a generation opportunity to re-invigorate Walsall and deliver our bold ambition for the town.”