Fresh focus for key jobs and homes site - leader
The leader of Dudley Council has vowed to “get the best deal for Dudley” as the authority ends an agreement with a partner for a flagship development in the town.
Avenbury had been working with the council on the £82million Portersfield development in Dudley town centre.
The plans included a major residential and retail development including the vacant site of the former Cavendish House.
But the leader of the council formally wrote to Avenbury last week ending their agreement amid concerns about increased legal and financial risk to the council.
Councillor Patrick Harley said the risk was not in the best interests of Dudley taxpayers and said he wanted to press on with the development with “fresh focus” and a new partner.
The authority will now seek other partners on the open market to work with them on a “landmark development” in the heart of Dudley.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
This will be a flagship development for Dudley and we have to get it right so that we can bounce back from the pandemic.
We owe it to the people to get the best deal for Dudley, and that is why I have ordered a fresh focus on this important site that will help us do things, better, bolder and faster.
If we had continued in the same way we would almost certainly face a significant risk of a legal challenge which we would not be able to successfully defend. I am not prepared to do that. This is a brave decision but the right one.
This landmark development site is uniquely placed in the centre of a rapidly expanding regeneration programme and therefore, it is critical we get the right partner to drive this forward at pace. I am excited about the potential for the site, which will no doubt bring jobs and a financial boost to the local economy and look forward to building a better Dudley as a result.”
Portersfield had been earmarked for up to 400 apartments including student accommodation as well as the potential for shops, restaurants, bars and offices.
The new development, which will be subject to detailed proposals and planning consent, will also link up with key regeneration projects in the town. It includes Midland Metro, Very Light Rail, the new Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre and the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology.
Cavendish House was finally demolished in 2020 after decades of standing empty.