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For businesses and entrepreneurs looking for a strategic business location that’s close enough to Birmingham but well-connected to the UK’s key motorways and rail lines, Wolverhampton ticks all the boxes. Our area guide discovers the reasons behind the city’s multi-million-pound regeneration and its immense reach to over 500,000 people within a 20-minute radius of the city centre.
Some of our most popular industrial units are situated in the heart of Wolverhampton, just a few miles from the M6 and M54 motorways, giving light industrial firms the ideal logistical base from which to operate up and down the country. The purpose-built Monmore Park Industrial Estate is just south of Wolverhampton city centre but is a short distance from the M6 as well as the M5 motorways, providing access to the south-east, north-west and East Anglia. Meanwhile Alma Street’s self-contained units can be reached directly from the M6 (Junction 10) and the M54 (Junction 2) via Willenhall Road and Stafford Road respectively. Strawberry Lane is also in the industrial suburb of Willenhall, less than half-a-mile from the A454 which provides direct access to the M6 and M54.
Wolverhampton is in thick of the West Midlands’ Black Country and is easily accessible from all parts of the UK. Aside from the M6 and M54, the M1 and M40 are also within seven miles of Wolverhampton city centre, making it a major transport hub and a very sensible choice for light industries that rely on road and rail links.
On the subject of rail links, Wolverhampton train station also boasts direct connections to nearby Birmingham, as well as Manchester and London further afield. Wolverhampton has long been mentioned as one of the best places to set up a new business in the UK, with prime business space and below market average fees combined with considerable investment in the city centre. Wolverhampton is on the west coast mainline which connects the city as far afield as Scotland and south into London within a couple of hours.
In addition, Wolverhampton is just 25 miles from Birmingham International Airport, making continental and worldwide business that much more attainable given that regular routes go as far afield as Dubai and the United States.
As one would expect from a city boasting over 250,000 inhabitants, Wolverhampton is a city with plenty going on, with over 600 eateries, bars and retail outlets, two vast indoor shopping centres – The Wulfrun Centre and The Mander Centre - and a vibrant cultural scene thanks to its Art Gallery, Grand Theatre and independent cinema, the Light House Media Centre.
Although all three of the light industrial spaces we let out in Wolverhampton are outside the city centre, there are plenty of cafes and pubs for staff members to visit at lunchtime and after a busy day at work. Willenhall itself boasts a number of local pubs serving home-cooked food and real ales, notably the Merry Boys Inn and the Cleveland Arms.
There is no doubt that Wolverhampton is fast becoming one of the best places to do business, not just in the West Midlands but in the UK and beyond. Some £3.7bn is being invested in the city at present, including a significant regeneration project designed to improve the city’s overall infrastructure. It is hoped that this investment will encourage more global brands to see that Wolverhampton is a worthwhile business headquarters.
At the time of writing, the leading business sectors in Wolverhampton cover the following:
- Wholesale, Retail & Motor vehicles (17%)
- Human, Health & Social work (14%)
- Manufactureing (13%)
- Education (10%)
- Construction (7%)
Many leading businesses are already recognising the city’s potential. Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Engine Facility is based right here in the city, bringing with it some £355m worth of fresh investment. There are many other household names that are contributing to the local economy already, notably Marston’s Brewery, Moog, Goodyear and Carillion.
This vote of confidence in Wolverhampton’s economy has resulted in a growing employment rate, up to 65.2% in June 2016. The Wolverhampton City Council is targeting an employment rate of 70% by 2026. Across Wolverhampton and the Black Country, some 5,145 new local businesses were created in 2016, the highest level for the region since 2004, indicating genuine belief in the area’s economy that’s at a six-year high of £20.2bn GVA.
In the past, Wolverhampton city centre has been criticised for its tired appearance. However, the current regeneration project is putting a stop to that. Wolverhampton is a city with many characterful buildings however, including many spectacular Art Deco examples. The Wolverhampton Art Gallery houses art collections dating back to the 18th century and the city’s cultural appeal doesn’t end there. The Grand Theatre in Lichfield Street is regarded as one of the best regional theatres in the UK.
In terms of Wolverhampton’s history and heritage, there are few more famous landmarks in the city than the statue of Lady Wulfruna – the woman after whom the city was named, the spectacular fountain in Queen Square and the impressive statue of Prince Albert. All of which hark back to the city’s proud tradition.
University of Wolverhampton
One of the biggest universities in the West Midlands, University of Wolverhampton is situated across four campuses in Walsall, Telford, Burton upon Trent and the primary campus in Wolverhampton city centre. In 2015, its graduates ranked second in the UK for employability, with 96% of students capable of securing employment or further study within six months of graduation. With around 20,000 students, it is a convenient source of talent for growing businesses seeking ambitious, highly-qualified young professionals to add an extra dimension to their operations.
The specialist University of Wolverhampton Science Park – built as a joint venture between the university and Wolverhampton City Council – is home to 80-plus innovative businesses, creating a vibrant science and technology hub for the West Midlands.
Wolverhampton is a city with tremendous potential. With more than half-a-million people within a 20-minute drive of the city centre, there is a significant pool of potential customers for businesses to tap into here.
In terms of the city’s infrastructure, millions of pounds are being spent on a strategic transport hub, with a revamped railway station and bus interchange, as well as proposals for a tram service to further enhance local and regional transport connections.
While some may consider Wolverhampton a city that sits in Birmingham’s shadow, there is no doubt it is doing everything it can to carve its own path with a unique vision for business and infrastructure.
— Pall Mall Estates have a wide range of low cost commercial properties across the UK.