DUDLEY town centre’s £6.7m regeneration reached a milestone with the completion of the first phase of the project.

The end of the work, which included laying natural stone on roads and pavements equal to 530sq m of concrete, means the reopening of Castle Street, New Street and Fisher Street reopened to traffic including buses.

The project has also seen the installation of 36,000 granite and Yorkshire stone blocks, 525m of granite kerbs and 750sqm of tarmac surfacing.

New parking bays, street furniture and lighting have also been put in during the first phase of the project. Work on the completion of the entire market place revamp is set for completion during the first half of 2015.

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley cabinet member for transportation, said: “It is great that the first phase of this exciting regeneration project has been completed and that traffic is moving once more through this side of the town centre.

“The quality of this first phase sets the scene for the rest of this extensive regeneration project.

“I would sincerely like to thank all shops and businesses for their continued support during this time and I hope this first phase starts to bring with it immediate benefits.”

Shoppers are already benefitting from new public toilets in the market place area and traffic is reported to be moving well through the recently reopened roads.

The next phase of the project will include more work in Castle Street, new lighting at St Edmund’s Church, improvements to the Earl of Dudley statue and Green Man Entry, which will improve the route between Tower Street and Castle Street and tree planting.

Work on improvements to the market place is already under way and, following complaints from traders about loss of trade during the work, council bosses are keen to stress all car parks around the town centre remain open.

More information about the project, can be found on facebook and twitter and at www.dudley.gov.uk or by calling Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.

Dudley’s market place redevelopment is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Dudley Council.