This is Castle Street in Dudley, the centre of Dudley, and it seems it will be like this for about 4 months – improving the market stalls, relocating the public conveniences etc. Even the bus station is almost completely closed – the bus I took from Birmingham towards Wolverhampton a week ago went along the same stretch of Castle Hill no less then THREE times as a result.
Why are they doing this? Supposedly to revive the centre of Dudley, but what we lack is serious shops (two of the few remaining ones have shut down in the last month, so almost nowhere to buy even food), and car parking: much as I may regret it, many people do use cars for shopping, and the only thing that has happened here is that the amount of car parking has been reduced to almost zero in the centre, and the one way system makes it almost impossible for even someone who has lived here for 68 years to know how to get from one part of central Dudley to another by car. We have an excellent MP, and some very good councillors (notably those from my area), but my opinion of the council employees and their schemes is unprintable (one of their traffic schemes resulted directly in my opinion in 2 deaths, but of course no one was ever held responsible for what what was, and still is, manifestly obviously a potentially unsafe road layout).
This is all very costly for local tax payers, and personally I cannot believe it will improve things in any way, in the absence of any major national shops, and ever-decreasing car parking and access. Just resurfacing the road, rebuilding the market stalls, and demolishing and relocating the (relatively new) public convenience will do nothing for the town, though I’m sure that some people will make a lot of money out of the project.