£1 billion of public and private investment will boost returns
Wolverhampton is at the heart of a densely populated area. 582,000 people are a 20-minute drive from the centre, and three million live within just 20 miles. It attracts over a million leisure visitors a year and its central shopping area attracts an incredible 30 million visitors a year.
Research by Quality Formations, a firm specialising in forming new companies, listed Wolverhampton as the fourth best UK city in which to start a new business in 2015. The city’s selection of prime office space, below-average office fees and affordable cost of living all help it outshines many other major UK cities.
Cities were judged on eight core criteria including commercial property, energy prices, office services, public transport, broadband, workforce demographics, access to start-up finance and quality of life.
James Howell at Quality Formations said: “Over the past decade, Wolverhampton has evolved into one of the UK’s most important enterprise hubs. Residents enjoy a great quality of life, low crime & some of the UK’s most affordable accommodation costs.”
The overall sold property prices in Wolverhampton in the year until July 2016 were up by a healthy 5% on the previous twelve months and 8% up on 2007 according to Rightmove. However, prices here are still significantly lower than the average for the West Midlands over the same period by 20.6%. The low prices here are great news for buy-to-let property investors.
In addition, the city is currently undergoing a large scale transformation with over £1 billion of public and private investment. This includes a £65m restoration of a historic building into a superstore with 34,000 sq ft of office and community space. It’s a good time to buy property before prices take off.
Investment hotspots include a 6.4-acre site in the west of Wolverhampton that consists of three parcels of land in the freehold ownership of the council. It is one of the most significant regeneration opportunities at the heart of the city centre and will deliver major mixed-use development.
The council’s target for new homes is 13,400 from 2006 to 2026 and major funding has been secured to make this happen. 2,129 additional homes were built during 2006-2012 and there is a requirement to provide 760 additional homes every year to 2018.
As a result, enough housing sites are earmarked to provide 6,438 homes by 2018, 41% above the target. The council’s also assessing sites not previously identified for housing development. The land will then be cleared before being sold to developers for new homes.
Wolverhampton has been criticised recently for having a tired and unappealing city centre. All this is now changing with the city centre regeneration project that’s underway. The aim is to create a compact, walkable, vibrant and attractive, family-friendly city centre full of opportunity and potential.
It will boast some of the UK’s best retail, leisure and cultural facilities, bringing it in line with other Midlands cities. A university city made for living, working and enjoyment with the best streets and public spaces, combined with excellent public transport.
The south-side area is outlined for a future phased expansion of existing retail and leisure on offer in the city centre, as well as associated uses which would be acceptable in planning and regeneration terms.
The City of Wolverhampton Council is pushing forward with a £438,000 government funded scheme for 16 starter homes, to enable local young residents to get a step on the property ladder. These will be offered at a 20% discount on open market value to young first-time buyers.
Wolverhampton was once a city of culture, it is full of old buildings with character and many stunning Art Deco examples. Like most cities in the UK Wolverhampton has a varied selection of property types, sizes, budgets and designs as it has evolved through the ages. It contains some elegant residential streets with extremely desirable properties and locations.
The new build homes under construction are going to be a major draw to those coming here for the revitalised surroundings and excellent business opportunities that are arising, and will surely put Wolverhampton back on the map for all the right reasons.
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Economy & Employment
The service sector is leading Wolverhampton’s economy.
The top five sectors of Wolverhampton’s economy are;
- Wholesale, Retail trade & Repair of motor vehicles 17%
- Human, Health & Social Work 14%
- Manufacturing 13%
- Education 10%
- Construction 7%.
The i54 South Staffordshire is a new enterprise zone located just outside Wolverhampton off the M54/J2, it is now one of the most sought after business parks in the Midlands. Major occupiers such as;
- Jaguar Land Rover
have all chosen it as their business location.
The Mander shopping centre is undergoing a £25 million face-lift and will create an additional 10 stores and 150 jobs upon completion, and 100 construction jobs during the works. The development is due to be completed in 2017.
Wolverhampton has had increasing rates of self-employment over the past few years, increasing from 10% of the working-age population to 13.8%.
Nearly a quarter of the residents are educated to degree level or higher and the percentage of residents within Wolverhampton with NVQs has seen its base of higher skilled employment expand significantly in the last decade. This is excellent news for the area, quality businesses looking to relocate will be tempted here by the talented work-pool available.
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There is plenty of change ahead in Wolverhampton’s £1 billion regeneration project.
A new bus station at The Interchange is part of the initial £22.6 million investment in a strategic transport hub, a new city centre gateway with space for commercial development. A modern and efficient railway station and proposals for a tram service that will further enhance local and regional transport links and allow greater integration between bus, tram and rail are also underway at the interchange.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Football Club’s Molineux Stadium is undergoing a £45 million redevelopment to bring it into line with other major premiership grounds.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Engine Facility is bringing £355 million of direct investment to Wolverhampton too.
Building Schools for the Future are investing £286 million in the city’s secondary schools.
There’s also £200 million of private investment in two new city centre food stores, enhancing the retail offer of the city.
Air: Birmingham International Airport is the nearest major terminus to Wolverhampton, 25 miles away. It can be reached directly by train or car. Britain’s 7th busiest airport, Birmingham handles flights from most leading airlines to and from destinations across Europe and as far as Dubai and Islamabad.
Rail: Wolverhampton Station is a major station on the West Coast Main Line, connecting to most major cities in the UK including London Euston and Manchester Picadilly. Regular services can reach London in under 2 hours. A network of local services also connects Wolverhampton to surrounding towns such as Telford, Coventry and Shrewsbury.
Road: Wolverhampton is close to several motorways – the M5 and M6 run north and south past the city and provides easy access on the M40 London-bound. The M54 is a northern bypass of the city that now has a dedicated exit. A well-developed network of A roads links Wolverhampton with Birmingham and all surrounding towns.
Bus: The city’s new bus station runs services operated a number of carriers including long-distance routes by National Express. The centre of Birmingham can be reached directly in under 30 minutes, as well as all surrounding populated areas. There is also an efficient tram network throughout the city.
Wolverhampton has 64 primary Schools, 17 non-selective secondary schools, 1 grammar school, 8 special schools and 5 independent schools.
Notable establishments: Wolverhampton Girls High School is a secondary school with a sixth form. It is ranked as outstanding by Ofsted, received the Black Country Quality Award and a School Achievement Award for sustained improvement and high achievement with regard to examination results.
Wolverhampton Grammar School is a co-educational independent school for 7 to 18 years old, they currently have plans submitted for a brand new infants’ school, to enable a seamless transition through school life.
Further and Higher Education: City of Wolverhampton College offers a wide variety of courses including NVQs, GCSEs, BTECs, A Levels and Access courses. It also offers some higher education courses in conjunction with the University of Wolverhampton, which operates from four sites across the West Midlands. The university has seven academic faculties and several cross-disciplinary research centres and institutes. It has 19,065 students and currently offers over 380 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Shops & Leisure
Shopping & Dining: Wolverhampton is home to two city centre shopping centres, the Wulfrun Centre and the Mander Centre, located next to each other. Every conceivable shop is available within the area. The Mander centre is undergoing a transformation as of January 2016.
The city also hosts a popular market which operates Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. With specialist craft and farmers markets held on Dudley Street every first Friday of every month.
Sport & Culture: Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves) are the local Premier League football team. Their stadium is undergoing a £45 million transformation in Wolverhampton’s regeneration project. There’s also a great cultural offering with the Art Gallery, Grand Theatre and an independent cinema at the Light House Media Centre.
Green Spaces: Bantock House and formal garden are set in a large area of parkland, where you can find an enclosed playground, nature trail and pitch and putt course. Bantock House is a grade II listed building and museum with a tea room.
There are 3 large parks within Wolverhampton. The largest, West Park, has a play area, lake, café, botanical garden and well-kept flora spread around an attractive period bandstand and pavilion. Numerous smaller recreation grounds dot the region, whilst those wanting to really escape to the wild need only travel as far as the Shropshire Hills.