I am responding to the article in the express and star requesting ideas on how to improve Wolverhampton...
I am responding to the article in the express and star requesting ideas on how to improve Wolverhampton Firstly in wanting to improve the city i think the aims for it should be high. Not only for the city to be regenerated but also to compete with other cities once considered run down but are now places sort after for people to live, work and play in. Such cities are Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and especially Glasgow. Why should we not try to be the next capital of culture?? Attracting people to the city from far and wide will boost the local economy and therefore there would have to be some very unique and exciting things that Wolverhampton could offer and i think it could be delivered by doing the following 1)Padestrianising Lichfield Street, Queens square to join Queens Square and Dudley street together as a central hub of activity In my opinion the town lacks a padestrainsied core that is large enough for visitors to move around and find their own spaces to enjoy. Wolverhampton has also lost much of it architectural heritage and green space, and while modern designs are pretty cool i also think some mock old fashioned features should be included to bring back a pleasant tranquil feel while mixed with the modern. This could be done by the following •Cobble the padestrianised area •Replaces street lamps with old Victorian style lamps •Improve the shop frontages on Dudley street and remove 1960’s fashures •Plant trees to grow at the sides of Dudley street – Wolverhampton centre has a distinct lack of calming green spaces •A unique water feature that could run down the centre of Dudley street/ and or Lichfield street at intervals and that was lit up in different colours at night – this could be modern, but not boring. Needs to be active.
2)Create hub in Queens Square and encourage European cafe culture Research has shown that since the advent of the internet high street sales have suffered and that a large part of the shopping activities in the city centre in modern times is about having an experience, a day out, something to enjoy. Cafes and bars being an integral part of that. Not just having them but having ones that offer something different and that are little out there. This could be done in the following ways bearing in mind point 1 above • Widen/ remove pavement on Dudley/lichfield street to allow outdoor cafe culture to develop – provide money/ Grants for beautification such as flowers, heating, comfy seats for these outdoor areas. •In queens square provide decking either side of the road, that is under cover with comfortable sofas, retro seating, pods, providing food and drinks in the evening and stage for live outdoor entertainment •Change the planning use categories for vacant premises on queens square, Lichfield street, and Dudley street to encourage bars and restaurants/ Clubs. In particular different kinds making Wolverhampton a place that would have alot to offer with different cuisines. This would be better than the current situation of lots of take aways. The fact that a hub is being created will mean more people coming to the centre. Many people on a night out in the centre are unwilling to walk to other areas of town because they are too far away, or there is not much in other areas. This obviously makes business suffer
3)Create a park outside the Civic Centre
•Wolverhampton has a lack of green, relaxing space in its centre, something many other cities have where people can quickly escape the hustle and bustle and then go back into it when they are ready, and Western park is too far out. Once again this could be made into some sort of Victorian park as it would have the back drop of magnificent st peters, and old buildings to the side. Could be surrounded by old fashioned railings and have a central piazza area in the middle, with a large water feature and a quieter outdoor cafe surrounding it with a small stage for live entertainment, like on queens square. There could also be a tranquil lake. If the 1960’s build council building was hidden by large trees, and the care park to the south was removed. It would be surrounded by St peters, old buildings, and the historic magistrates Court. Giving a character feeling that wolverhampton generally lacks. The proximity to existing bars and clubs would also mean the area would be convenient in terms of walking distance. And the other hub in queens square would not be far away The fountain could be a fun feature for kids. One i saw in Beijing was double a person’s height and a labyrinth that you had to walk through but which changed shape- so the challenge was not to get wet!!. This is somewhere where you could blend the traditional and the modern quite nicely, and was also once a garden as i recall.
4) Pedestrian access to hub areas beyond the ring road – connecting it all together I do feel that the ring road was built too close to the city centre and acts like a moat, and a phyciological deterrent that people do not want to cross. This has had the unfortunate effect of cutting off once affluent parts of the town centre and new areas that are up and coming. For example the royal hospital, the blue brick area and the molinuex. The under passes that connect them are not popular. I think the solution therefore is to make these areas once again part of the city centre. This could be by creating extremely wide Boulevard type bridges that span the ring road, giving the impression that they are not bridges at all but a continuation of a large pleasant European type street, filled with trees flowers, and lit up water features. One could be from the university to the molineux pub/ wanderer?. The other from the bus station, the other from railway street to the canal club area. Granted the royal hospital area would be more difficult. They could have shops, cafes, and bars along the side making them feel even more like they are part of the town and prevent people seeing the road underneath and to the sides. Kind off like a London bridge but without the dia consequences!!!, and because they would be social hubs in themselves people would be encouraged to travel to them and then be more likely to use the existing areas that lie beyond them aswell.