The University of Worcester is spearheading the demolition of a prominent building in Dudley as part of a multi-million pound plan to build a university park.

The city's university was appointed to lead the teaching on £25million plans to build a ‘university centre’ at Castle Hill as part of Dudley Council’s Towns Fund plan.

University of Worcester is working in partnership with Dudley Council, Dudley College of Technology, tourist attractions and other key organisations in Dudley.

The development of the university centre will be located alongside the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology and the very light rail innovation centre.

However, plans to demolish Dudley Hippodrome to make way for the development have been met with anger after they were approved by councillors.

Members of Dudley's Development Control Committee gave the thumbs up to demolishing the 1930s theatre turned bingo hall, in Castle Hill, at last night's meeting (Wednesday November 14) at Dudley Town Hall.

The decision, which is now subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP, is expected to see the Art Deco building bulldozed, along with the neighbouring boxing club/martial arts centre and former JBs night club, to make way for a multi-million pound university style campus which will offer higher education courses for the health sector.

A total of 76 objections had been submitted, saying the art deco building should be retained and locally listed and that too many theatres have been lost in the West Midlands.

But council officers recommended approval of the demolition plan saying it would improve views of Dudley Castle.

They added the creation of the higher education facility offering medical and health-related training would bring significant benefits to the town and wider area.

The proposals will be funded with help from a £25million grant from the government’s Town Fund.

Campaigners who have fought long and hard over the last few years to try to save the venue, which in its heyday played host to some of the biggest names in showbiz, were furious at the decision.

The Theatre Trust, which campaigned for the retention of the Hippodrome, said it was "extremely disappointed" by the decision made by Dudley councillors to back the demolition plan and a spokesman added: "Dudley Hippodrome has been on our Theatres at Risk register since 2010 in recognition of the building’s status as an increasingly rare 1930s purpose-built variety theatre with a lavish Art Deco interior and that it had the potential to provide a live performance space that Dudley is lacking."