Exciting times are on the horizon for Kidderminster Town centre as proposals to invest £1.5 million in improvements are on the agenda for approval by Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, September 25. This is in addition to £500,000 that Wyre Forest District Council is also putting in to the project.
The improvements to the public areas around the Town Hall, Vicar Street and High Street are part of wider plans to firmly put Kidderminster on the retail map as a destination of choice for visitors and shoppers. The District Council, working with Hendersons, the owners of Weavers Wharf, also has ambitious plans to redevelop the Crown House and Lower Mill Street areas of the town as well as plans to open up access to Worcester Street to create activity to support struggling shops in that area.
The main feature of the £2million project is a new public square outside the Town Hall, which will be used for events and known as Exchange Place. The scheme also includes improvements to the pedestrianised areas along Vicar Street and High Street.
Councillor John Campion, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration said: “I’m immensely grateful to Worcestershire County Council for recognising the importance of a successful town centre to the local economy and for supporting the District Council’s proposals for Kidderminster. This exciting project is part of a multi-faceted programme of regeneration for Kidderminster and has been part of our ReWyre vision over the last five years. The multi-million pound investment will mean a vastly improved experience for shoppers, businesses and visitors. It will help to revitalise and regenerate an ageing part of the town and will send a strong message that Kidderminster is ‘Open for Business’ in the day and evening.
“This project is part of a wider regeneration scheme that will give Kidderminster town centre a real boost in terms of visitors and investors. The improvements in this project tie in with proposals for the Bull Ring area of the town, which will see Crown House demolished and replaced by an attractive public square, new cafe and retail units and improved public spaces enhanced by the opening up of the River Stour.”
Cllr Simon Geraghty Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “Cabinet next week will discuss and look to approve funding for the enhancements to the look and feel of Kidderminster town centre, which will encourage further private sector investment and raise the quality of public spaces, something that has come across from residents' and businesses' feedback."
The project is being managed by Wyre Forest District Council in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, supported IBI Taylor Young, who are an award winning multidisciplinary practice of urban designers, town planners and landscape architects.
The overall cost of the scheme has been projected to be £2million, with Worcestershire County Council providing a maximum contribution of £1.5million, and Wyre Forest District Council £500,000.
If funding is approved by Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet next Thursday work is expected to begin in January next year with an anticipated completion of September 2015.