Nearly three quarters of town centre will be redeveloped by 2018

Up to £1bn could be spent on redeveloping a west Midlands town over the next decade.

The plans for West Bromwich include a new leisure centre as well as existing schemes such as a £200m Tesco shopping mall, and £80m college campus plus a new school, refurbishment of the shopping centre and a police station. A new magistrates court, improvements to public space and £100m of new housing are also proposed as well as a cultural area centred on the town’s library and town hall.

Bob Badham, Sandwell council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said he hoped plans were sufficiently far advanced to ride out the worst effects of the economic downturn. “I would be a fool to say it won’t affect it in some way but we are in a strong position because we have these schemes in the pipeline,” he said.

He hoped the scheme, which will eventually redevelop 70 per cent of the town centre, will give it a “European” feel. He said: “People can meet and eat and drink there. They don’t just have to go there to do shopping at Tesco but look at the other things on offer there too. Doing nothing was not an option because it was becoming a run-down 1960s shopping centre.”