Plans in for £24m Black Country transport hub

A new £24 million transport interchange in the Black Country has moved a step closer after plans were lodged with council chiefs.

Set to be built on the current bus station site, the new Dudley Interchange will link bus and tram services on the Black Country extension of the West Midlands Metro which is currently under construction.

Transport chiefs hope it will also support the regeneration of Dudley town centre.

The two-storey interchange, which will include waiting areas, real time travel information, space for a retail unit and cycle parking, is being developed by Transport for West Midlands.

The roof will have solar panels aimed at reducing the running costs of the building, together with space for a ‘living green' roof covering to absorb carbon emissions.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: "Recently, we saw the first Metro track laid in Dudley town centre and now we are making progress on developing a purpose-built transport interchange for the new trams to arrive into.

"We are putting Dudley's historic lack of connectivity and investment well and truly behind us now, with residents able to look forward to a revamped town centre with first-class public transport."

Cllr Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, added: "Progress continues at pace in our £1 billion regeneration of Dudley town centre and I am pleased the interchange is now at full planning stage.

"If plans are approved, the interchange promises to give a huge boost to a tired but albeit busy part of the town and make sure it is central to our regeneration plans.

"It will be our renewed transport hub bringing together both bus and Metro services and creating that all important link to the national rail system."

Outline consent was granted by Dudley Council in 2019 and that is now being followed by this newly submitted detailed planning application.

This is due to be followed by the appointment of a contractor later this spring to carry out the construction.

The existing bus station was built in 1986 and is said to be the oldest in the West Midlands and, with 420,000 bus departures per year pre-pandemic, it was also one of the busiest.

The West Midlands Combined Authority's board, working with partners including Dudley Council, last year approved a £24 million funding package toward the interchange scheme.