Proposals for £9million canalside creative village in Smethwick

Smethwick residents and businesses can have their say on proposals to create a £9 million canalside creative village in the GaltonValley in Smethwick.

The public are invited to meet designers of the scheme for the Rolfe Street area of Smethwick, which will include the transformation of the Smethwick Enterprise Centre as a canalside creative village.

The meeting will be at Providence Church Hall in Mafeking Road on Thursday June 5, between 4-7pm. Local residents and business representatives and local media are invited to call in at any time.

Galton Valley Canalside

At the meeting, local people and business representatives will be given details of the first phase of a major regeneration programme which will include the refurbishment  of disused factories.

The scheme, which includes a construction training centre and business workshops,  has been drawn up by Sandwell Council and specialist regeneration company Complex Development Projects.

Ian Harrabin, managing director of Complex Development Projects, said: “There have been many plans over the years to regenerate this outstanding canalside environment .

“After many years of work with the council,  funding has at last been secured from Central Government and the EU for £9 million of investment for the Rolfe Street area.

“Work is due to start in the autumn and we would like to get the views of local residents and businesses on our ideas.”

Mr Harrabin said the proposals would open up the canal landscape and provide a visitor destination and business village that was only six minutes away from New Street Station in Birmingham.

“There will be new units for small and start-up businesses and we are very keen to hear from the local community.”

The plan has been welcomed by Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Darren Cooper and Deputy Leader Councillor Steve Eling.

Councillor Cooper said: “This is an exciting regeneration proposal in the heart of Smethwick and it is anticipated that this investment will be a catalyst for additional private sector investment too.

Councillor Eling approved the scheme today (Thursday) and said grant funding for the project had been approved by central Government and would attract European funding too.

“A planning application will be submitted in the summer and we want the people of Smethwick to have an input into the design proposals which are key to the future of the area’s economy,” he said.

“The emerging designs are very exciting and will put Smethwick on the map,” he said. “I would encourage people to take the opportunity to meet the designers.”