In the history, geography and people of Dudley there is enormous potential. Scope exists to create an exceptional place in which to live, work, learn and enjoy the very best of urban living.
Dudley already has many special qualities, but it needs some care and attention to fulfil the potential that exists. It is hoped that this framework will reveal opportunity; cultivate civic pride and instil confidence in the future. The plan is not about radical change but sensitive interventions to attract new residents, capture new investment, nurture enterprise, and to repair and restore the historic fabric of the town in a planned and co-ordinated way.
The vision is of a town that is at the forefront of the revival of the Black Country sub-region which is looking to reshape and reassert its role over the next 30 years. Dudley will be a town which serves the needs of its local population and which remains the strong focus for civic life, for shopping, working, tourism and education. Dudley also needs to become a place with a much richer mix of shops, cafes, restaurants, small businesses and creative enterprises.
The key to unlocking this potential is to increase the number of people that make their home in the town centre. New high quality housing is needed right in the heart of the town. This can be achieved through conversion, infill and redevelopment within a framework of beautiful streets and public spaces. The strategy which underpins the framework focuses upon creating the same conditions that attract people to live in the very best of the UK’s market towns such as Lewes, Stamford, Tunbridge Wells and Bridgnorth. Dudley has the raw materials in its fine buildings, historic streets, the stunning castle mound and its loyal, industrious and close knit community to achieve this ambition.
A more intense concentration of people will generate the demand for more and for better local shops and services. Confidence and optimism will follow from a buoyant housing market and a growing population. A town with these qualities naturally becomes a place that people also want to visit.
This document presents a vision, development strategy and illustrative development framework plan to guide residents, businesses, developers, investors and Dudley Council in shaping the future of Dudley town centre over the next ten years and beyond.
Detailed plans and proposals for many key sites are already emerging and more will unfold through consultation and negotiation with key stakeholders, development partners and the community over the coming months. This document is intended to provide a framework to manage, guide and target change and inspire action to drive forward the process of rejuvenating Dudley town centre.
The area development framework (ADF) was prepared within the context of the Unitary Development Plan (UDP). The document was approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG).
The framework focuses upon the area of the town centre as defined by the UDP, although it has been necessary to address some issues which have implications beyond this policy boundary.
The proposals were the subject of extensive consultation with the public, elected members, key service providers, community groups, local business and the property and development industry. A full account of the consultation process is provided in a separate report of consultation (October 2004). Feedback from the consultation process has informed preparation of the final development framework presented in this document.
The ADF is also accompanied by detailed implementation plans for specific opportunity areas.
The Priory Place opportunity area is located in the north west of the town centre and is 3.19 hectares in size. It adjoins Priory Road, an important approach into Dudley town centre and Ednam Road. There are extensive school playing fields adjoining the site to the west. The site is currently used for a mixture of surface parking and playing fields with the Edwardian villas fronting Ednam Road used for office purposes.
The Priory Street opportunity area is located close to the Market Place, east of Wolverhampton Street, and is focused around Stone Street Square and ‘Crown Square’. Much of the opportunity area is within the existing town centre conservation area recognising that there are considerable historic and townscape qualities present. There are a mix of uses present across the opportunity area including an important civic function, small scale shops and retailers, offices, pubs and bars.
The area is identified as a cultural quarter and no significant change is proposed within the plan, but the importance of conserving the historic fabric of the area is highlighted.
The Tower Street opportunity area is centrally located in Dudley town centre to the north of the Market Place and is focused on Tower Street and Castle Street.
The area is broadly defined by The Broadway, Castle Street and Coronation Gardens to the north west. The area comprises a mix of vacant sites, currently used for surface parking. Empty buildings including the former fire station and retail units mainly fronting Castle Street. These will form the focus for development and re-development. Other uses include shops, public houses, small office units, the police station and Baylies’s Hall.
There is a requirement for the provision of a multi level car park accessible from Tower Street. Design requirements focus on the provision of strong elevations with design that is in keeping with Dudley’s historic character. Servicing and parking should be within the centre of development blocks and particular attention should be paid to emphasising views to the castle.
Prospect Hill opportunity area is located to the east of Market Place focused on the site of Dudley bus station. It is currently dominated by bus stops and roadway and lacks any character or buildings of note. It is a particularly hostile environment for pedestrians. To the south is a small food store currently occupied by Kwik Save.
Part of the site, around Birdcage Walk and the upper part of King Street, is identified within the revised deposit UDP as a priority renewal area (policy DTC2 (II)). A mix of preferred and acceptable uses are identified including retail, financial and professional, food and drink, residential and office uses. Design requirements focus on the reconfiguration of Birdcage Walk and the King Street frontages including the redesign of the existing retail units and improvements to pedestrian circulation.
The Cavendish Quarter opportunity area is located to the south east of the town centre and adjoins the southern bypass. It is bounded on the north west by Trindle Road and Hall Street to the south west. The area is dominated by the vacant Cavendish House building. A few rather neglected retail units front Hall Street and part of Trindle Road.
Within the area an important opportunity site (site i - Hall Street / Porter Street) is identified within the revised deposit UDP (Policy DTC2 (XIV)). A mix of business, hotel, residential and leisure uses are identified as being acceptable, with retailing acceptable fronting Hall Street round to Porter Street which bisects the area. Elsewhere retailing is identified as being an unacceptable use. Specific design requirements are identified as being a strong elevational treatment to Hall Street, Trindle Road and the southern bypass.
The Central Union opportunity area is focused upon the northern frontage to King Street and from the Churchill Shopping Centre to Vicar Street. King Street used to carry significant volumes of through traffic prior to the construction of the southern bypass. It is wide and engineered for efficient traffic movement; now with limited through traffic, its design is inappropriate.
The pedestrian environment is poor and there is an abundance of blank frontages, rear service yards and inactive uses. There are only a few small business that remain open and contribute to the vitality and character of the street.
A stronger retail frontage along this part of King Street is a key proposal together with stronger links north south from Market Place to the Flood Street area.
The New Mill Gate opportunity area contains the largest single development site in the town centre. It covers a site bounded to the west by Vicar Street, to the north by King Street and to the south by Martin Hill Street and the southern bypass. The area is currently dominated by large areas of surface car parking. There is a 1960’s office building, Falcon House, occupying a key location between Flood Street and New Mill Street. To the west of New Mill Street is an historic church as well as a number of historic and more modern buildings housing a variety of uses including small businesses and the territorial army.
A mix of retail, office, leisure, food and drink, residential and hotel uses are identified as being preferred or acceptable, and the site is a major opportunity for integrating new development with the established retail core of the town centre.
Specific design requirements include a strong retail frontage; mixed use with a residential component; high quality elevations; clear and direct pedestrian linkages to the rest of the town centre; new high quality public spaces; and the full integration of Midland Metro.
The Trident Triangle opportunity area is located between Upper High Street, Wolverhampton Street and Inhedge Gardens. It is focused on the Trident Centre, a purpose built shopping precinct dating from the 1960’s, the retail frontage along Upper High Street and Inhedge Gardens, which is one of the key areas of open space with in the town centre. The area is largely retail in nature, although there are a number of vacant units.
The plan promotes the redevelopment of the area with a strong focus on residential development which is a preferred use, and the area is identified as a priority site. Strong frontage development along Upper High Street and Inhedge Gardens are design requirements, as is respect for the historic block structure and historic grain remaining in the area.
The South West Gateway area is an important approach into the town centre. It is focused on the junction of High Street and King Street. There are a mix of retail uses present including a small food store (Netto), and a motor repair centre and car showroom on King Street. Some of the buildings on High Street are vacant and in a state of disrepair, although potentially of historic interest, and the built fabric and street frontage is disrupted by areas of surface parking.
A broad mix of uses are identified as being acceptable, with residential development targeted as being a required use. Design requirements include high quality frontage development along King Street and High Street, with listed or locally listed buildings retained, and the inclusion of a strong focal point to maximise the gateway potential of the area including a landmark building.