Council to review plans for £19.6m investment in Worcester
Worcester city councillors are set to approve major plans which could see £19.6m invested in the city.On 7 September the Policy and Resources Committee will review revised proposals recommended by Worcester's Towns Board. This follows the announcement in June that the city has been offered a £19.6m investment from central Government's £3.6 billion Towns Fund. In common with many of the 101 Towns invited to bid, the allocation is less than the original amount requested (£27.9m), and therefore revised proposals have been developed.
The far-reaching proposals in Worcester's Town Investment Plan focus on improving residents' and workers' skills; creating new jobs and providing opportunities for Worcester's most deprived communities. There are also plans to improve access and connectivity within the city and to increase opportunities for active travel.
"The next five years will see the most significant level of investment in Worcester within living memory," said Cllr Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council.
"This Town Investment Plan provides a strong platform from which we can create more jobs and improve the quality of life for local people. Together with our partners, we will work hard to attract additional funding where required, so we can fully deliver on this Plan's ambitious objectives."
At the Policy and Resources meeting, councillors will review funding arrangements and revisions for each project set out in the Town Investment Plan:
Help local people to develop new skills
Expand the offering of Worcester's community centres (including those run by the Worcester Community Trust) to provide inclusive, safe and high-quality training facilities in deprived communities.
A second 'Building Block' construction skills centre will be created in Dines Green, building on the success of the existing one in the Warndon Community Centre.
The project is expected to help 4,996 residents to gain entry-level NVQ level 1,2 or 3 qualifications within the first five years.
Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing
The former Worcester News building on Hylton Road will be converted in to a 4,000m2 facility to house nursing, physiotherapy and medical training - including an anatomy lab for up to 100 students. The wider site will include a GP practice as well as on-site therapy and rehabilitation clinics, contributing to the needs of the local community.
This will create more opportunities for people from local communities to enter health professions and gain employment as nurses, paramedics, midwives, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
The project is expected to train 1,500 people per annum and create 100 new jobs.
Regeneration of Shrub Hill
As part of a plan to regenerate the wider Shrub Hill area, the Town Investment Plan will see construction of 450 new homes and the creation of 2,000m² of commercial / employment space along the canal.
It will also create a 3,000m² enterprise and commercial centre on the current Isaac Maddox House site.
Improvements to Worcester's riverside and tourist attractions
This project aims to attract more visitors and tourists to the city. An enhanced Worcestershire Soldier exhibition will move from the Museum and Art Gallery to the Commandery. This will enable a larger exhibition space to be provided at the Museum and Art Gallery.
Enhanced accessibility will be created for those with reduced mobility to the Riverside, via Copenhagen Street, alongside improved landscaping and access from the Riverside to the Bishop's Palace garden and Cathedral grounds.
These improvements are expected to result in increased footfall and visitor spend in the area between the Riverside and the High Street.
This Plan will deliver new and improved walking and cycling routes, including the planned new Kepax bridge across the Severn, linking communities to opportunities for employment, education and leisure.
The City Council and the Worcester Towns Fund Board, which comprises 14 local representatives, has engaged with residents and businesses over the past 12 months to get a broad range of local views to support the development of a vision for Worcester and agree on potential projects that the funding could support.
Read Worcester's Town Investment Plan submission.
The Town Board unanimously approved the revised proposals at its meeting on 25 August.
Separately, Worcester City Council has also secured £17.9m from the Government's Future High Streets Fund, which will be used to regenerate the northern end of the city centre around Angel Place, and £3m from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund, for The Arches Worcester scheme, which is regenerating the Victorian railway arches from Foregate Street railway station to The Hive and the River Severn.