DUDLEY town centre regeneration got a boost from council planners who gave the green light for a new market.

Members of the authority’s development control committee gave wholehearted support for an ambitious scheme to replace the existing High Street market with modern stalls and facilities.

The existing stalls, which planning officers say do not make a positive contribution to the appearance of the area, were built in the 80s as a modern replica of the town’s historic market.

During discussion of the plan at the meeting Cllr Colin Wilson emphasised his belief Dudley is long overdue for a revamp.

Cllr Wilson said: “I walked through Dudley, I couldn’t believe my eyes at the disrepair of some of the buildings - I find it quite depressing.”

The scheme is part of a wider redevelopment plan for the town centre which councillors were keen to support as part of a number of initiatives designed to reverse 15 years of economic decline.

Committee chairman, Cllr Qadar Zada, said: “I am excited to see Dudley town centre coming to life, it will be a town centre that will be the envy of many towns across the borough.”

The proposals include new toilets and storage facilities for market traders and will be phased-in to minimise disruption in the town centre.

Permission has already been granted for major improvements to the Castle Street area, relocation of the Duncan Edwards statue and construction of a raised grass surround and new lighting for the Earl of Dudley statue.

As he gave his backing to the new market stall application, cllr Asif Ahmed said: “It is a small piece of a jigsaw, hopefully it will be put together and become a masterpiece.”