Plans for the regeneration of the Western Gateway into Kidderminster, including the demolition of Crown House, are set to move further ahead when WFDC’s Cabinet considers a report at its meeting on Tuesday 14 July.
The Cabinet is to consider using its powers of compulsory purchase to acquire properties in Lower Mill Street as it pushes ahead with works in conjunction with Henderson, the owners of Weavers Wharf to transform that part of the town. A year ago the Council agreed to the principle of using CPO in order to support the negotiations that Henderson were having with property owners whose properties were required for the redevelopment which was granted planning permission in 2014.
Cabinet will hear that those negotiations have not yet been successfully concluded and it is proposed that Council should now accelerate the process by pursuing the compulsory purchase of the properties if no significant progress is made by the end of September.
Cllr John Campion, Cabinet Member for Planning & Regeneration said:
“The Council has made clear its commitment to transform Kidderminster town centre and we will deliver on that promise. We are already spending £2m with Worcestershire county council on improving the public realm to create a better visitor experience and will launch our Music Heritage Trail at the Kidderminster Arts Festival in 2016.
We have been working in partnership with the owners of Weavers Wharf to transform the western access into the town which will offer a new public space where Crown House currently stands as well as an improved retail offer and new restaurants. We do understand that these plans affect some existing retailers and we will continue to work with them to resolve their issues. To fulfil the vision for the area, we must inject more pace into this process. This may prompt the Council to use its powers to assemble the necessary land and we are prepared to do that, but we really do hope that the landowners will reach agreement with Henderson over the sale of their land before we need to step in.”
The proposed redevelopment plans by Henderson would see £11m invested into the town during the construction phase in order to create 7,591 sq m of new retail floor space. It is anticipated that the development will generate around £9.2 million of net additional gross value added (GVA) during construction and £4.5 million of net additional GVA per annum during operation.