Wolverhampton – it isn’t all doom and gloom

Wolverhampton regularly features as one of the unhappiest places to live in the country according to several surveys. It has also been named fifth worst city in the world (albeit back in 2009). This is understandable – the city has its problem areas and unemployment has long been well above the national average. But a cursory glance at some of the developments in Wolverhampton shows that the city is, for many residents, neither unhappy or a bad place to live.

A positive future for Wolverhampton?

For a start, the city centre – in decline since the recession of 2008 / 2009, is starting to pick up. It will be no fast process, but shops are opening up, new buildings are being constructed, tenants moving in. The Wolverhampton Interchange project has seen the development of a new building – i10, which will house offices and already has a confirmed tenant on the ground floor in the form of a new Hungry Horse restaurant and pub. Across the city centre, the new youth zone is taking shape. Built on land that was formerly occupied by the Fox Hotel on Worcester Street, the new build, named ‘The Way‘ will cater for the city’s 8–19 year olds, and adults with disabilities up to the age of 25.

Despite the disruption caused, the new pedestrianisation of Princess Street and surrounding streets has council bosses expecting increased footfall in the city centre once it is complete. Along with the new improved bus station (completed a couple of years ago), new larger trams are running between Wolverhampton and Birmingham from St George’s Station. Work is soon to start on a new Debenhams store, located in the Mander Centre. This will involve demolition of the south section of the Mander Centre (the area encompassing the former TJ Hughes and the current Tesco), seeing Greggs relocate and Card Market preparing to do so. Debenhams will be complete by 2017 and is expected to create 120 jobs – and Debenhams is only part of a £30 million redevelopment of the Mander Centre. Empty shops in the city centre are being filled, will some enterprising new businesses recently appearing – nowhere more so than Cleveland Street which has seen the likes of the Skalsa Restaurant and Vinyl & Vintage move in. The former Netto store building is to be demolished in the hope that new investment will be drawn in – a blank slate for developers to work with.

Wolverhampton centre is also a real ale hotspot at present, with quality pubs such as Hogshead, The Posada, Lych Gate Tavern and the Dog & Doublet pulling in beer connoisseurs from surrounding areas. The award winning Slaters Brewery of Stafford have also put in a planning application for a new pub in the old Costa Coffee building in Queen Square. Should this be approved, we will no doubt have another top class pub attracting the right sort of drinker to the area. We have some excellent city centre restaurants in Cafe Maxsim, Made in Thai, Rosso E Nero, New Spice, Catellani’s, Rocco and Jivan’s to name but a few. England has always struggled with the continental ‘cafe culture’ – but quality pubs, cafes and restaurants in the Queen Square area along with the area being used for events could see Wolverhampton gain something of a positive reputation for evenings out – though safety in this area will need to be increased to bring people in. Clever investment will bring people and increased footfall will bring further businesses and yet more investment.


Another positive – there are less people out of work. While Wolverhampton still ranks highly for unemployment, the amount of people claiming out of work benefits dropped from its peak of 20.2% in November 2009 to 15.1% in November 2014.

All we have left to change is the negative attitude of some of Wolverhampton’s residents – Wolverhampton could be quite a different place in five years time. Time to stay positive – and happy!

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  1. Chris

    The new Wolverhampton BID is also a huge positive – this will raise upwards of £5m over the next few years and will be spent solely on the development of the city centre in the way of services, marketing and advertising, safety and security and car parking initiatives.

  2. David Morton

    Make sure the guys drinking from tinies around the town do it out of site, they make things look very sad.

  3. Ryan

    It was voted the fifth worse by an American who was once offended by somebody from Wolverhampton. If you think it even ranks in the top 100 worst cities then you are deluded. It would be nice for positive news regarding new developments in the city though

    1. neswulf

      Couldn’t agree more Ryan. It has its problems, but it certainly isn’t that bad – even on a local level we’d rather visit Wolverhampton than a few other towns and cities in the UK.

  4. Councillor Phil Bateman

    How glad I am to see a very positive comment on the City! Well done and of course you are right it will take a long time to see the change that is coming taking shape. But even after all of that is said, everyday brings some change in some corner of this 1,000 year plus settlement!

    1. neswulf

      Thanks for your comment Councillor Bateman – we’re of the opinion that positive action is what will turn Wolverhampton around.

  5. Margaret Butwell

    Sorry but i do not agree neither i nor my family and friends go to Wolverhampton to shop or socialise unless there is something on at the Grand. There are too many foreigners so we are left feeling intimidated in our own town, on eery entrance there is an ugly half knocked down building, the market is pathetic because it was moved out of centre and the council well……….. Maybe instead of spending all that money on their civic centre maybe just maybe for once they could try and improve town. Telford is where we prefer to go and boy what a difference they have made to the town. Wolverhampton Councillors take a long hard look at yourselves and try start thinking about our town, services and our own people.

    1. neswulf

      Thanks for your reply Margaret, it’s important that local people speak out and share their concerns. You’ve mentioned a positive in the Grand Theatre. We know from personal experience that, especially at night, the city centre can be intimidating. This is something that needs looking into.

    2. Keith Bould

      If you’re intimidated by someone solely because they may have been born in another country or look like a “foreigner”, as you so elegantly put it, then I think it’s yourself who needs to take a good long look at yourself.

      Stay in Telford, they tolerate “your people” more.

      1. Martin Smyth

        Well said Keith. Bloody foreigners, coming over here and being on our streets. How dare they!

        Also, on a side note, if anyone prefers the soulless, concrete heaven that is Telford to Wolverhampton then they clearly have issues. They do have less foreigners there though; so every cloud, eh Margaret?

  6. Katie

    I think Wolverhampton is a great place to live and that it will improve significantly over the next few years. Embrace change and spruce up the old!!! It’s hard but sometimes big changes need to made to move forward. If the saftey issues and the maintenance of the city centre could be sorted out that would significantly improve the quality of life for everyone living there.

    1. neswulf

      This is the sort of positive thinking we need! Thanks Katie.

  7. G. Morgan

    I was born in Wolverhampton but like many Wolverhampton born people that I have met, it is only a place of work for me. I’ve rarely gone to town to socialise. However, I remain proud of Wolverhampton’s role in this country’s history and it’s people are hard-working salt of the Earth types. The fact that the city centre at night can feel intimidating unfortunately is a by-product of today’s society which clouds the good name that most natives attempt to give it.

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