WESTFIELD WELCOMES SIGNIFICANT STEP FOR BRIERLEY HILL’S
15 January 2008
Countries: United Kingdom
Westfield, joint owners of the Merry Hill shopping centre in the West Midlands, welcomes the designation of Brierley Hill as one of the Black Country’s four strategic centres, following the Government’s approval of phase one of the region’s revised spatial strategy.
The decision positions Brierley Hill as a key, strategic location within the Black Country for business enterprise and economic growth. Together with the other three centres, Walsall, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, the regeneration of Brierley Hill will attract increased investment into the Black Country, thus strengthening its position on the national stage. The adoption will allow for the implementation of the regeneration masterplan which in turn will create around 10,000 jobs within the area in the next decade.
Merry Hill will provide a significant amount of the 51,000 sq m retail space needed to meet the requirements of strategic centre status. Westfield is working closely with the Brierley Hill Regeneration Partnership and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council to support the holistic regeneration of the area. This move is an indicator that the Government recognises the substantial role which the private sector can play in the delivery of wider regeneration and is an exemplar of the successful outcome of partnership working.
Steven Hassel, Westfield’s Merry Hill Development Director, said: “This is a significant step for Brierley Hill and the Black Country in achieving and delivering the comprehensive regeneration planned for the area. This regeneration will create thousands of jobs and inward investment and retail will play a major role in delivering this vision. Together with the local authorities, we will be working to secure a regional transport network needed to support the region’s growth and, on behalf of the joint owners, are prepared to commit 36.5 million to the extension of the Metro. We are delighted that the enormous amount of planning and hard work has been recognised by the Government and look forward to taking the proposals to the next stage.”
The strategic centre status triggers the implementation of the regeneration strategy which will see around 1 billion invested into the Waterfront business park, the High Street and Merry Hill to create one, integrated town centre.
The Westfield Group (ASX Code: WDC) is the world’s largest listed retail property group by market capitalisation. It is an internally managed, vertically integrated, shopping centre group undertaking ownership, development, design, construction, funds/asset management, property management, leasing and marketing activities and employing in excess of 4,000 staff worldwide. It has investment interests in 119 shopping centres in four countries, with a total value of in excess of A$60 billion and is the largest retail property group in the world by equity market capitalisation.
Joint venture partners, QIC, own a 50 % interest in the Merry Hill. Additionally, The Westfield Core Shopping Centre Fund Limited Partnership has a 25 per cent interest in Merry Hill.