Wolverhampton became the City of Wolverhampton in the year 2000. Yet many people – including many “Wulfrunians” – would suggest that Wolverhampton still does not have the look or feel of a city. However, one upcoming development scheme that could change all that and help elevate Wolverhampton to the next level is Brewers Yard, which we will take a closer look at here.
With an estimated gross development value of £250m, Brewers Yard is perhaps something of an underwhelming name for what is actually quite an ambitious scheme. The development will be located on 10 acres of what is currently brownfield land close to the University of Wolverhampton’s Campus to the north of the city centre. Part of what is being described as the Canalside Quarter, Brewers Yard encompasses a former council depot, industrial units and a Marston’s brewery lorry compound. Much of the former brewery itself has already been redeveloped into a university campus, college and other educational uses.
The current plans for Brewers Yard propose a mixture of 1,200 houses and apartments plus 60,000 sq ft of new retail and commercial space. Notably, the scheme is a not just a standard housing scheme but a high quality ‘city living’ themed development, something relatively new for Wolverhampton.
Another distinguishing element is that the developers are also proposing what are said to be the area’s tallest towers, potentially between 25-30 stories, bringing something of an imposing city centre focal point to Wolverhampton.
Estimates suggest Brewers Yard could increase Wolverhampton’s city centre population by around 10%. The Brewers Yard site benefits from good access to the city centre and the city’s upcoming new transport interchange. Wolverhampton Interchange is a £175m development to provide what is being called a ‘state of the art’ transport interchange in Wolverhampton city centre, providing a new hub for rail, bus and tram services. There are direct rail services to Birmingham, London and Manchester and the city’s tram service from Birmingham city centre will connect here. There will also be a mixed use commercial development offering retail outlets, leisure facilities and public space. This scheme is expected to be ready later in 2020.
Brewers Yard is being operated as a joint venture between developer Court Collaboration, the City of Wolverhampton Council and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) with the scheme being designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects. It is said that Brewers Yard was conceived as a result of a conversation at last year’s MIPIM event in Cannes, where WMCA Mayor Andy Street and Wolverhampton Council’s managing director Tim Johnson met with Birmingham developer Court Collaboration to explore the possibility of bringing city living to the Black Country area.