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£17.9m boost to regenerate Worcester’s city centre

An artist’s impression of how the restored and reopened Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange could look An artist’s impression of how the restored and reopened Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange could look

A major regeneration of Worcester's city centre is set to go ahead, after a bid by the City Council secured £17.9 million.

The investment has been awarded from the Government's Future High Streets Fund, with the announcement made today (26 December 2020) by Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

The £17.9m boost will bring about a transformation of the northern end of the city centre, and will see the re-opening of a restored Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange and the creation of new homes for first time buyers.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Leader of the City Council, said: "This is fantastic news for Worcester and is evidence of the Government's promise to invest in communities. Our high street needs a boost at this point and I believe this funding can make a real difference."

Deputy Leader Cllr Adrian Gregson said: "This is really great news and will revitalise a big part of the city centre. It will be exciting for residents and brilliant for visitors. I want to give my thanks to the team that put this strong and successful bid together."

The £17.9m investment will be pumped into the area from The Cross up to Foregate Street train station, taking in Broad Street, Angel Place, The Trinity and Queen Street.

The area is home to the Angel Place market, Friary Walk shopping centre, and the bus station. It also hosts the former Scala Theatre (closed as an entertainment venue in 1973) and the Victorian Corn Exchange on the corner of Angel Place and Angel Street, the former Colmore Depot in Angel Street (last used as a Co-op supermarket and currently empty) and Trinity House.

The area currently has a high proportion of empty shops, a poor quality street environment and is sometimes a focus for anti-social behaviour.

The funding from the Future High Streets Fund will restore its one-time status as an active, vibrant part of the city. Over the next five years it will be regenerated to create a diverse leisure, residential and cultural offer with new jobs being created and fresh life breathed back into its historic buildings.

Worcester City Council prepared and submitted the successful bid to the Future High Streets Fund, with support from Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire LEP, the Crown Estate (owners of Crowngate Shoppping Centre), the University of Worcester, Worcester BID, the owners of Trinity House, market operator LSD Promotions and others.

The bid was developed in line with the Council's City Plan and the City Centre Masterplan. 

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