Worcester's city centre is in the running for a share of a £1 billion Government funding pot.
The plan for regenerating the northern part of the city centre – from The Cross up to Foregate Street train station – has made it through to the next round of the competition to secure a share of the Future High Streets Fund.
Worcester City Council has been awarded £150,000 to develop detailed project proposals that can be submitted to secure a share of the available £1 billion capital funding.
The proposals for Worcester take 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 is also hosts the former Scala Theatre and Victorian Corn Exchange on the corner of Angel Place and Angel Street (recently used as an ASK Italian restaurant), 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. It is in need of investment to restore its one-time status as an active, vibrant part of the city.
The area to the south, taking in High Street, The Shambles and Cathedral Square, has attracted a good level of investment in recent years and it is hoped that this bid to the Future High Streets Fund could help bring the northern part of the city centre up to a similar standard.
The vision is to create a diverse leisure, residential and cultural offer with new jobs being created and fresh life breathed back into historic buildings.
Detailed plans will be worked up in line with the Council's City Plan and the recently adopted City Centre Masterplan, utilising the £150,000 Government funding. They are likely to included proposals for regenerating Angel Place, Trinity House, the former Angel Street Co-op, the old Scala Theatre and the Victorian Corn Exchange.
Cllr Marc Bayliss, Leader of the City Council, said: "This part of Worcester city centre is often seen as the poor relation to High Street and The Shambles, so it is brilliant news that our plans for revamping it are a step closer to a major Government investment. It will now be all hands to the pump to work up detailed plans to secure a share of that £1 billion fund and restore this area to its former status as a popular and vibrant part of our city."
The initial application to the Future High Streets Fund was supported By 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. It is expected that they will continue to be involved as detailed plans are developed in coming months.
Worcester's detailed proposals will be submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by 30 April 2020.