City of Wolverhampton Council has secured a £681,000 boost from the European Regional Development Fund to develop a ‘Garden City’ at Bilston Urban Village.
The Bilston Urban Village project ties in with the Garden City concept commissioned by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
It will see up to 450 homes built by private developers on former brownfield land, connected by around 14 hectares of land designated for public open space and nature conservation.
New artist’s impressions show how the Bilston Urban Village ‘Garden City’ concept will work.
The remainder of the £1.5 million needed for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy will be funded from £156,000 Section 106 private sector money already secured from developers, and council investment.
A contractor to deliver the open space development strategy will be announced before the end of the year.
City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor John Reynolds, said:
“The Garden City concept provides an exciting opportunity to help promote investment in the Black Country.
“A major positive is that it not only focuses on the number of houses but also puts quality housing and developing vibrant communities at its core.
“Bilston Urban Village is a prime example of this and we are delighted to receive this European funding to help fulfil our ambitions.”
A Steering Group for the Bilston Urban Village Open Space Development Strategy is in place, consisting of City of Wolverhampton Council, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, Canal & River Trust, University of Wolverhampton, local residents, the Land Trust, and Ormiston South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.
The aim is to improve biodiversity and recreation, with works to include developing a network of paths for walking and cycling, clearing overgrown trees and shrubs, and providing fencing to properly define and protect areas.
Work will also be undertaken to significantly improve the nature conservation value of the sites. This will involve a range of activity such as woodland management, development of ground flora, meadow creation, tree planting, hedge planting, development of the attenuation pond, possible creation of a community orchard, provision of bird and bat boxes, and actions to increase biodiversity along the edges of the canal.
All this will lead to a significant enhancement of the open spaces within Bilston Urban Village, and it is proposed, on completion of the works, to declare the open space sites a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).