Walsall Council’s next cabinet meeting will be considering a report on the economic challenges facing Walsall Town Centre. High Streets across the UK have seen a decline caused in part by the growing trend for online shopping and out of town shopping centres. The result has been fewer visitors, an increase in empty shop premises and other problems.
The Walsall Town Centre Masterplan provides an inspirational and deliverable vision for a safe, clean, sustainable and resilient town centre over the next 15-20 years. The success of Walsall Town Centre will have a positive impact on investment and job creation in the District Centres and across the borough.
An improved leisure offer, more high quality office and residential accommodation for all budgets are all part of the vision. Improvements to the public realm and environment will be vital to creating a safe, friendly, welcoming and vibrant town. Improving the travel experience for all visitors coming into the town will encourage return visits and that will be complemented by proposals for a calendar of on-street events.
Financial support for the masterplan is likely to come from a range of sources including Walsall Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as the Future High Streets Fund following last week’s announcement that the Council’s application had been successful in progressing to Stage 2 of the process. Private sector investment will also be crucial to help deliver the ambitious, multi-million pound plan for the future of the Town Centre.
If members support the recommendations, the council will begin to work on a number of immediate interventions such as creating a cleaner and safer town that will set the scene for further innovation over the next two decades to transform Walsall Town Centre into a leisure, residential, work and shopping destination fit for the 21st century and a dynamo to encourage economic growth across the borough.
Speaking about the report, Cllr Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council said:
“The Walsall Town Centre Masterplan seeks to create a vibrant, healthy economy in the heart of the borough. We understand the immediate issues that we have to deal with to make our town centre a more welcoming place for visitors locally and from further afield. Local people want us to be ambitious for the future when we develop our Masterplan and it provides a clear vision and a goals to aim for in the coming years.
As part of some of the immediate work of the masterplan it is our policy to address some of the concerns raised by residents when recently surveyed about the town centre and concentrate efforts over the next few months on improving the town centre environment through additional street cleaning, removing graffiti and appointing a number of uniformed, Community Protection Enforcement Officers to deal with littering and anti-social behaviour. We will also be reducing parking charges to discover if that increases footfall for our shops and businesses.”