Wayne Hemingway MBE inspired and entertained more than 60 delegates at the ReWyre ReNewed conference held at Spring Grove House, West Midlands Safari Park, on Monday 13 October. The event was hosted by the North Worcestershire Economic Development & Regeneration Team at Wyre Forest District Council.
The event marked five years since the ReWyre initiative was launched and provided an opportunity to chart the course for the next five years based on the commitment of key partners including the District Council, County Council, Worcestershire LEP, Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, and inward investors.
The ReWyre ReNewed event emphasised the aspiration to develop a thriving town and community in Kidderminster, a vision close to Wayne Hemingway’s heart through his urban design involvement in London and around the UK. Wayne’s company, Hemingway Design specialises in affordable and social housing design.
The ReWyre event highlighted achievements to date and reminded delegates of upcoming projects that were outlined in the ReWyre vision five years ago and featured in the ReWyre Prospectus.
BBC Presenter Joanne Malin was master of ceremonies and welcomed delegates from regional business, key partners, potential investors in Wyre Forest, local business leaders and councillors.
Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest gave an opening address followed by a film made to showcase ReWyre.
Councillor John Campion, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration told the story of the ReWyre journey so far.
This included key projects such as the Hoobrook link road. The new road will link the A451 Stourport Road to the A449 Worcester Road in Kidderminster. Work is well underway and the anticipated completion date is early 2016.
Funding has recently been approved for a £2 million facelift for Kidderminster Town Centre.
In early 2015, the new public area outside Kidderminster Town Hall, known as Exchange Place will start to take shape. The revamp will re-organise how traffic uses the space in front of the Town Hall and improvements will extend down Vicar Street and High Street, including the surface, layout and street furniture to create a high quality environment at the core of the town.
The much maligned Crown House in the centre of town will be demolished next year. It will make way for a new multi functional public square to accommodate the market, a new cafe and shops. It will open up the area and be planted with trees, shrubs and lawns.
The Weavers Wharf site will be further opened up to reveal the River Stour, creating more space for shops, restaurants and homes along the riverside. Plans are also being considered for the regeneration of Worcester Street.
There are more exciting major schemes in the pipeline such as a stunning new marina development at Stourport-on-Severn. With an additional 408 berths, more than a hundred holiday let apartments and marina related business and commercial opportunities, the scheme would create a new focal point for the town.
The aim of the Kidderminster Interchange project is to provide a brand new transport hub for the town. This includes a new station building and enhanced passenger facilities, a new layout for the station forecourt with improved facilities for pedestrians, buses, cars and taxis, and improvements to the station’s access from Comberton Hill.
ReWyre regeneration proposals aim to create a high quality ‘gateway’ to Kidderminster, to improve the arrival experience for everyone including business visitors and tourists. Plans also include enhanced links to one of the District’s major tourist attractions the Severn Valley Railway, which attracts over 250,000 visitors each year. Planning permission is in place and funding streams are being explored.
West Midlands Safari and Leisure Park (WMSLP) is one of the largest tourist attractions within the district, attracting around 750,000 visitors each year. Plans are progressing to upgrade the three star attraction to a four star resort by creating a major new conference facility, indoor water park and hotel. WMSLP would also like to create a new station on the Severn Valley Railway.
At the ReWyre ReNewed event Wayne Hemingway, MBE reemphasised the need to be bold and creative in urban design. Wayne spoke to delegates about his experiences in regeneration, housing and the power of urban design, recounting examples of regeneration schemes from around the world that embrace great design.
During the afternoon, workshops were held to progress discussions and share ideas. Topics included, the Kidderminster USP led by Bob Young, Academy of Urbanism. There was also discussion on the Future of the Town Centre led by David Tittle, MADE (Midlands, Architecture and the Designed Environment). The topic Kidderminster brand building was debated in a workshop led by Neil Morris of OGL Computers.”
Councillor John Campion said:
“We are very pleased to have welcomed guests to our ReWyre Renewed conference. One of the objectives of the event was to enable business leaders and key partners to be in the same room talking about real visible changes that have happened as a result of the ReWyre initiative. Working with partners, we are taking positive action to make Kidderminster an aspirational destination for businesses, residents and investors. It has been very affirming to hear about what we’ve achieved so far, but there is of course a long way to go and we hope that delegates have gone away with the feeling that Kidderminster is on the up and has a bright future ahead.”