Children now play on site of former Goodyear tyre factory
A new park has been opened for the families and children living on the site of the former Goodyear factory in Wolverhampton.
The £1.6 million neighbourhood park has been completed by developer St Modwen to bring high quality community and sports facilities to the area.
It comes more than a decade after demolition work first started to remove industrial buildings that had stood alongside one of the city's main gateways for generations.
St Modwen bought the 88-acre Goodyear site from the tyre company in 2002 and plans to start redevelopment were unveiled two years later as Goodyear started reducing its use of the site it had occupied since 1927.
Since 2008 around 60 acres have been transformed into a residential area with more than 500 homes and, following work undertaken by St Modwen, now boasts a new public park comprising a football pitch, tennis court, multi-use games area, children’s play area and new cycle path and footpaths from the park to Church Road. The developer has also funded the refurbishment of the existing changing rooms and car park.
The next phase of development, which is due to begin early next year, will see the landmark clock tower refurbished as part of further residential building which will bring 130 more homes to the site. This will bring the clock back to working order, ensuring that the heritage of the former Goodyear site is protected.
Although the 14-acre park will eventually be adopted by Wolverhampton city council, St Modwen will pay more than £800,000 to ensure the park is well-maintained in the future for local residents.
Peter Rudd, development director at St Modwen, said: “The neighbourhood park now has a host of great sports and play facilities, as well as improved access to the site. We’re pleased to have created more recreational opportunities for families residing on the park, as well as those located in the wider Wolverhampton area.”
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton council's environment chief, said: “Wolverhampton has some wonderful large parks across the city but it is just as important that we also provide green spaces in our neighbourhoods for local communities to enjoy.
"Goodyear Neighbourhood Park is a welcome addition to our parks and green spaces offering a wide range of high-quality facilities for sport, recreation and general relaxation which will play a major role in improving health and well-being of the people of Wolverhampton. The new play area is also a fantastic addition for young children to explore and enjoy.”
The redevelopment of the vast tyre factory was initially planned to involve around half the site, which employed around 6,500 at its peak in the 1980s.
But it was eroded by a series of cuts in production, leaving Goodyear occupying just 18 acres as the rest was turned into a new housing estate called Akron Gate – named after Goodyear's home city in the USA.
In 2015 the company announced it would finally close the factory in 2017, making its 330-strong workforce redundant. It coincided with the end of Goodyear's lease on the land, handing it over to St Modwen in the summer of 2017.
Demolition work on the remaining factory buildings has been going on this summer, expected to make way for further new homes.