CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Sajid Javid made a whistle-stop visit to Brierley Hill's new £10million music college Resonance this morning (Monday) as General Election campaigning moved into its penultimate week.

Mr Javid was given a tour of the brand new state-of-the-art facility which is currently under construction at The Waterfront.

Resonance CEO David Barnard and director Rick Benton showcased the new venture - which is taking shape in the canal-side Cable Plaza building - and told him there will be nowhere in the country to rival the new facilities available to aspiring musicians and music industry professionals.

"It's come a long way," Mr Javid said as he toured the building which he last laid eyes on in January 2017 when he announced The Waterfront would become a Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone back in January 2017.

He added: "It's quite amazing to see the amount of investment that's gone on, how bespoke it is. It's a plan that's coming together and a lot of credit has to go to Mike Wood and the work that he's done in the last few years to be the champion of the local area."

Dudley South Conservative Mr Wood, who fell desperately ill with sepsis after Mr Javid's last visit to The Waterfront in 2017 but has since made a miraculous recovery, said the facility would provide a hub for musically-minded people from the area to develop "cutting edge skills in creative industries" and he added: "Young people with talent and an interest in the music industry will have one of the best facilities in the world right on their doorstep."

Resonance director for industry and partnerships, Rick Benton, from rock band Magnum, described the venture - which also has entertainment industry stalwart Chris Cronin as chairman of the board of trustees - as "the only rock and pop conservatoire" in the country and he said: "We just thought if we were 16 what would be our dream place to go?"

He said he and the team have had a "lifetime enjoying the fruits of successful music careers" and he added: "We've got to the stage where it's time to give something back. Hopefully it's just going to regenerate this area."

Resonance CEO David Barnard said development of the new facility, which has received just under £7.16m in funding from the Black Country LEP plus further financial support from Unity Trust Bank and Arts Impact Fund, was on track to open its doors to students in September 2020.

He said the project was "on time and on budget" and he added: "It's been great to have the Chancellor here to see how public funding is being used to create something very special here in the Black Country."

Mr Barnard, who has held a number of top management posts in the music and education sectors, said applications were now open for places at the new college and the team has held 16 roadshows to date with a further 16 planned for January and February plus a series of open days to enable prospective students to find out more about what Resonance has to offer.

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Before heading off, Mr Javid promised he and Mr Wood would return to check out the new facility once it opens next year - providing they are re-elected!

Mr Wood, who hopes to retain the Dudley South seat which he won in 2015, faces competition from Labour's Lucy Caldicott, Liberal Democrat Jonathan Bramall and Cate Mohr from the Green Party in the race to the polls; while Mr Javid is battling it out in nearby Bromsgrove against Labour's Rory Shannon, campaigning doctor David Nicholl for the Liberal Democrats and Kevin White (Green Party).