Projects: Wednesbury High Street Heritage Action Zone

  • Investment
    £2,645,516 consisting £1,321,988 from Historic England, £1,228,044 from Sandwell Council and £95,484 Private Investment.
  • Timeline

    Start: March 2020

    Delivery: March 2024

  • Location

The Wednesbury HSHAZ (or High Street Heritage Action Zone) is an initiative funded by Historic England to restore, enhance and celebrate Wednesbury’s historic town centre. Works to restore the Grade II Listed Clocktower in Market Square were completed in Summer 2022. The project is also funding the relocation of the outdoor market back to the Market Square with new market stalls; new high-quality paving for the Square; and restoration works to historic shopfronts. In the meantime, there will be a programme of cultural events to engage the community with the project and to instil a legacy of community pride and ownership.

The project will deliver:

  • Improvements to shopfronts and buildings within the town’s conservation area to revitalise the town centre, the possible introduction of more homes through first floor conversions, and the creation of a more enjoyable experience for residents and visitors;
  • Public realm improvements including repaving with high quality materials, planting trees and replacing street furniture, to create a safer space for pedestrians and shoppers; and
  • Cultural activities to engage the community with the local high street.

Historic Building Renovation – 8 Market Place
This building was constructed as a coaching inn around 1818 and was originally known as The Green Dragon Hotel, later The Green Dragon Inn. The aim of this project was to carry out repair and reinstatement works to restore its character and appearance, using historic photos and details from the building, returning it to its 1930s grandeur and enabling it to make a positive contribution to the conservation area. The works have included: –

  • Repairing the render and parapet on façade of the building, fronting The Shambles and Market Place
  • Replacement of uPVC windows with double-glazed metal framed windows to their original design, recreating the
  • Repairing and cleaning the faience tiling and removing external metal shutters
  • Removing external metal shutters
  • Reinstating the ‘Butlers’ brewery and ‘Green Dragon’ signs
  • Repairing the ‘police box’ by providing a new roof structure and rainwater goods

Public Realm Improvements
The aim of this project was to improve the appearance of the heart of the Wednesbury Conservation Area transforming it into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly space that enhances the overall experience for visitors and locals alike. By repaving with high quality materials such as pink granite and local materials such as Staffordshire Blue Brick and Rowley Rag, introducing a one-way road system, and enhancing greenery, we aimed to create a safer and more aesthetically pleasing environment.

Additionally, the new pedestrianised area and market/ event stalls has provided space for community engagement and cultural events helping to animate a previously underutilised area of the conservation area and town centre area installing contemporary and sustainable market stalls which feature transparent solar panel roofs which supply energy back into the grid.

Clock Tower Renovation
The restoration works were completed by specialist heritage contractor Midland Conservation Limited and included new stonework, the removal of vegetation, localised pointing and careful cleaning of the structure. The clock’s mechanism and face were repaired by the specialist historic clockmakers Smith of Derby, enabling the Clock Tower to now give accurate time and bell to chime again. 

Built in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of George V, the red brick and sandstone tower was designed by local architect Charles William Davies Joynson. The works have assisted in re-establishing the historic character of the area and creating a vibrant, welcoming space.

Cultural Programme and Community Engagement
As well as the physical works, the Wednesbury High Street Heritage Action Zone has delivered cultural activities through building strong partnerships and relationships with the ‘We Are Wednesbury Cultural Consortium’ and local independent traders in the town centre.

Multistory, a community arts organisation, led on this element of the project and engaged with a wide and diverse number of local artists, local organisations, community groups and residents, that reflect Wednesbury’s cultural and social demographics to help shape, and deliver, the Cultural Programme.

Overall, there was a total of 119 individual events and activities which engaged 6,845 attendees and involved 22 volunteers who gave almost 600 hours of their time. A key event was the lantern procession which was held in the new pedestrianised area at Market Place.

 You can see the film of the Procession here.


We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)

We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)

We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)

We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)

We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)

We are Wednesbury Lantern Parade. (Philip Parnell Photography)