Wolverhampton | Sandwell | Dudley | Walsall
4 - 15 October 2021
Dudley is the historic capital of the Black Country that has a long history of providing world-class manufacturing and engineering and is still solid today employing 14.8% of the workforce - more than the national average at 8.5%. These roots provide the perfect economic conditions for a strong advanced manufacturing base.
Dudley is one of the most prosperous sub-regions in the Black Country, with over 10,000 active businesses and the highest levels of employment within the professional and skilled trades in the region.
The area has also broadened its business sector profile with significant employment in both retail and education. New build and regeneration developments are also seeing a shift towards Dudley becoming a pioneering hi-technology hub.
It is home to Dudley Business First and Innovation Enterprise Zone, which opened in April 2017. Dudley Business First is critical to creating new creative and technological zones and boosting the strong manufacturing infrastructure. The Enterprise Zone is predicted to create 7,000 new jobs over 25 years, offering low cost and high-quality office space to manufacturing and technology businesses.
Dudley’s impressive industry profile has enabled the borough to attract a truly extraordinary level of investment over the past five years. Regeneration in the area has topped £180m in recent years and has seen masses of underused land, transformed.
The Pensnett industrial estate is a fine example - now billed as Europe’s largest secure industrial estate with high-quality industrial accommodation, attracting pioneering technology businesses from across the continent.
The Wednesbury to Brierly Hill Metro extension will play a significant role in the regeneration of economic growth in Dudley and the West Midlands. The West Midlands Combined Authority in partnership with Transport for West Midlands gave the go-ahead to the £1.3 billion Metro investment programme. The West Midlands Metro network is expected to triple in size, allowing more people to connect with the regions work, leisure and education opportunities.
The £23 million historic development project ‘Forging Ahead’ will host a new learning space and a brand-new visitor centre. Forging Ahead, due to open in 2022, will use real people and their stories from the Black Country to engage and inspire visitors while educating them on the Black Country’s heritage.
Leisure centres, Halesowen and Stourbridge are facing mass refurbishment and a new sports facility is being built in the centre of Dudley on Flood Street. The total budget for all three projects is £24.5 million and will also be fully operational by Summer 2021.
The £20 million proposal for the two-storey glass station will replace the existing bus station and will pioneer safety, the customer experience and reduce environmental impact. The development of the site will begin in February 2021 and aims to be completed in June 2022.
Much more regeneration activity is planned or in progress including regeneration of the Waterfront area and plans for a £46.5m Music Institute. Dudley Council is progressing a £110m project to develop a series of key housing, retail, leisure and employment sites on land in Dudley town centre; as well as £800m of mixed-use development opportunities covering a total of 3.3 hectares at the Dudley Business First Enterprise Zone site.
The Music Institute will bridge the educational gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills and create an influx of students in the STEM sectors. The three-storey development marked out 4,750 square metres of land and broke ground in February 2020.
Dudley is fortunate to have a remarkable existing infrastructure that combines tourist attractions with attractive historic buildings and the beautiful canal network.
The area is home to Dudley Zoo and the Black Country Living Museum, as well as underground limestone mines at Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust, 11th century Dudley castle and 400 years of glassmaking in Stourbridge Glass Quarter. Investment in the region will additionally enhance the growth of the leisure and visitor offer in and around the area.