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Bid for £18m of Government cash for Worcester city centre to be considered

Published: 23 July 2020

Worcester city councillors are to be asked to back a bid for £18m of Government cash, to help regenerate the northern quarter of the city centre.

The city is in the running for a share of the Government's Future High Streets Fund, which is making grants of up to £25m available to selected cities.

When it meets on July 28 the City Council's Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to support a bid to the Fund with the aim of investing in the area around Angel Street, Angel Place, The Foregate, The Cross and Trinity Street.

The overall proposal is for a £29m investment programme to transform that part of the city into a cultural, entertainment and leisure hub.

If the bid for Government funding is successful, the outstanding £11m would be provided by the City Council and local partners.

Councillor Adrian Gregson, the City Council's Deputy Leader, said: "The southern part of the city centre, including High Street and Cathedral Square, have seen significant investment in recent years so I hope the committee will support this bid as a way to restore vibrancy to the northern quarter.

"If our funding bid is successful it would mean the transformation of this areas into a destination of choice for local young people and families. It would help to boost the city's tourism appeal and help us to bring some neglected historic buildings backing into use."

The City Council has prepared a detailed business case as part of the proposed funding bid, with input from experts in transport, design, architecture, markets and more.

Plans have been developed to revamp the area with a focus on culture, leisure, business and residential accommodation. It would boost the daytime and night-time economy in the area, with buildings refurbished to provide a performance venue, new homes, commercial leisure use, food and drink venues, and new co-working spaces.

There would be improvements in transportation and to the appearance of several streets including The Cross, Angel Street, Foregate Street, St Nicholas Street, Lower Broad Street and Trinity Street. New market units would be provided in Angel Place, alongside facilities for other activities to attract more visitors.

A grant scheme would be launched to enable empty heritage buildings in the quarter to be brought back into use.

There would also be strong links with the nearby Arches – Worcester area, where a £4.5m scheme to transform the city's Victorian railway arches is already underway.

Separately, the City Council is also preparing a bid to another Government scheme, the Town Fund. That makes grants of up to £25m for initiatives based on urban regeneration, support for employment and small businesses, and improvements in transport and digital connectivity.

The Policy and Resources Committee meets at 7pm on Tuesday, 28 July. Listen to the meeting.

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