Vision of Worcester in 2021

Shrub Hill Station approach (7068806)

Cathedral Square (7068821)

Cornmarket (7068798)

Cornmarket (7068812)

First published in News
Last updated
Malvern Gazette: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

AMBITIOUS proposals to revamp the whole of Worcester city centre have gone on display - in the hope it can attract millions of fresh investment.

Worcester Civic Society has published a raft of images showing the kind of city it wants to see by 2021.

An exhibition, which is currently being staged at the Guildhall, lifts a lid on where it wants Worcester to go.

It includes:

- Demolishing the notorious Elgar House by Shrub Hill Railway station to replace it with a landmark hotel, stylish office block or new homes

- Creating a new 'shared space' on the site of the Cornmarket car park, based around a major pavilion including a tourism centre, an enterprise facility for business and recreational land for families

- Designing a new-look Cathedral square based around London's Leicester Square with grassed areas, benches, soft landscaping, a small fountain and a stage for musicians to perform

- Markings for cyclists on all city centre routes, but bigger car parks in King Street and Commandery Road to encourage people to visit the Cathedral, museum and riverside for those still looking to drive

- Re-directing some city centre traffic and better connecting some routes to ease congestion, including making Sansome Street two lanes again to create a clockwise 'inner' ring-road formed around The Butts, Sansome St, City Walls Road and Deansway

The civic society, a registered charity, enlisted the help of Worcester-based Glazzard Architects to create the drawings.

The success of each one coming off will depend on private sector investors being tempted to make them a reality, as well as the likes of Worcestershire County Council and city council planners.

Elgar House, a privately-owned 1960s seven-storey office, was named Worcester's ugliest building two years ago.

Talk of demolishing it has been around for years and appeared to be on the cards in 2009 when Stephen Taylor Architects revealed plans to replace it with 60 flats, shops and offices.

But it never got off the ground and the fresh drawings are aimed at highlighting the area's potential.

Cathedral Plaza is now owned by the Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund, which has unveiled proposals to revamp the site, creating 100 jobs.

It includes new shops, seven new restaurants, a gym and foodstore overlooking a piazza, with an opening target of 2016 subject to planning approval.

The 85-space Cornmarket car park, along with the crumbling Trinity House building next to it, is up for sale in a joint Worcester City Council/county council project.

The civic society says it has published the images and its report "for discussion purposes", insisting the ideas would "greatly enhance" Worcester.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "There's some very interesting ideas, with the Shrub Hill proposals in particular it would be great if we could demolish Elgar House."

The exhibition runs until Friday, July 4 inside the Guildhall reception and a detailed report can be found at worcestercivicsociety.org.uk under the 'projects' section.

Comments (12)

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4:40pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Leeolitina says...

Where are the cars clogging up all of the city centre roads because (a) the ring road still isn't complete and (b) Worcester has no buses and no park and ride.
Doh!!!!!!!!!
Where are the cars clogging up all of the city centre roads because (a) the ring road still isn't complete and (b) Worcester has no buses and no park and ride. Doh!!!!!!!!! Leeolitina
  • Score: 20

5:23pm Wed 18 Jun 14

CJH says...

I do love a nice artists impression! Never looks anything like the final works though does it? But a girl can dream...
I do love a nice artists impression! Never looks anything like the final works though does it? But a girl can dream... CJH
  • Score: 1

5:43pm Wed 18 Jun 14

3thinker says...

Its certainly about time we had a bit of vision. Worcester's a great place, but instead of reducing traffic and congestion around the City both the City and County Council appear to be doing everything it can to add to current problems.
Its certainly about time we had a bit of vision. Worcester's a great place, but instead of reducing traffic and congestion around the City both the City and County Council appear to be doing everything it can to add to current problems. 3thinker
  • Score: 13

5:49pm Wed 18 Jun 14

DarrenM says...

More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.
More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing. DarrenM
  • Score: 13

6:34pm Wed 18 Jun 14

3thinker says...

DarrenM wrote:
More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.
What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.[/p][/quote]What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable. 3thinker
  • Score: 10

9:57pm Wed 18 Jun 14

jovialcommonsense says...

Some have vision, others only have derision.
Some have vision, others only have derision. jovialcommonsense
  • Score: 4

10:34pm Wed 18 Jun 14

liketoknow says...

that's the second ''vision'' we've had this year. or perhaps it's the same one recycled
that's the second ''vision'' we've had this year. or perhaps it's the same one recycled liketoknow
  • Score: -1

7:42pm Thu 19 Jun 14

DarrenM says...

3thinker wrote:
DarrenM wrote:
More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.
What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable.
Yes, and people will ride along on their bicycles to the butcher and the baker and the Candlestick maker, before receiving a cheery hello from PC Dixon who's just given a local youth a clip round the ear for scrumping.........

No doubt you were saying what a great leap forward it was demolishing the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe to put up a shopping centre and multistory and hotel to create "more jobs" , and what a great leap foward city walls road was...
[quote][p][bold]3thinker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.[/p][/quote]What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable.[/p][/quote]Yes, and people will ride along on their bicycles to the butcher and the baker and the Candlestick maker, before receiving a cheery hello from PC Dixon who's just given a local youth a clip round the ear for scrumping......... No doubt you were saying what a great leap forward it was demolishing the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe to put up a shopping centre and multistory and hotel to create "more jobs" , and what a great leap foward city walls road was... DarrenM
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Thu 19 Jun 14

3thinker says...

DarrenM wrote:
3thinker wrote:
DarrenM wrote:
More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.
What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable.
Yes, and people will ride along on their bicycles to the butcher and the baker and the Candlestick maker, before receiving a cheery hello from PC Dixon who's just given a local youth a clip round the ear for scrumping.........

No doubt you were saying what a great leap forward it was demolishing the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe to put up a shopping centre and multistory and hotel to create "more jobs" , and what a great leap foward city walls road was...
You need to travel more.

Most of the cities in western europe have much less car use, higher use of bikes and public transport and higher housing densities and usually around a more attractive and conserved core than Worcester.

Perhaps you need to ask yourself why Worcester demolished the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe - to improve access for cars. As with all the development along the southern link road it was only there so developers could pay for the new road infrastructure.
[quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]3thinker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DarrenM[/bold] wrote: More likely it'll be a derelict empty town centre, with every green space surrounding the city concreted over to build housing.[/p][/quote]What a wonderful idea. Instead of the Council approving more edge and out of City developments that mean you have to drive everywhere for everything we could develop a City where more do live and work in the City Centre and without the need to add to our existing congestion problems. Far from being a derelict and empty the City centre would actually be more vibrant and economically and socially sustainable.[/p][/quote]Yes, and people will ride along on their bicycles to the butcher and the baker and the Candlestick maker, before receiving a cheery hello from PC Dixon who's just given a local youth a clip round the ear for scrumping......... No doubt you were saying what a great leap forward it was demolishing the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe to put up a shopping centre and multistory and hotel to create "more jobs" , and what a great leap foward city walls road was...[/p][/quote]You need to travel more. Most of the cities in western europe have much less car use, higher use of bikes and public transport and higher housing densities and usually around a more attractive and conserved core than Worcester. Perhaps you need to ask yourself why Worcester demolished the last surviving cathedral lychgate in Western Europe - to improve access for cars. As with all the development along the southern link road it was only there so developers could pay for the new road infrastructure. 3thinker
  • Score: 2

10:04am Fri 20 Jun 14

MJI says...

Just demolish the eyesore and use the space for a few parking spaces.

We don't want any buildings between the station and the road, that tower block ruins the view.

As to cafe - have one in the station
Just demolish the eyesore and use the space for a few parking spaces. We don't want any buildings between the station and the road, that tower block ruins the view. As to cafe - have one in the station MJI
  • Score: 1

3:45pm Tue 24 Jun 14

Marant says...

We need to keep the shops in the city centre - redevelopment of the Trinity is the perfect opportunity to get one of the big players in, even if they have to be enticed with reduced rates. Get the anchor stores, like John Lewis, and others will follow.

Last week I visited Haverford West and it's a prime example of out of town shopping destroying the city centre. There's a big out of town park with a Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Next (I think) plus the other high street staples. The town centre is full of boarded up shops, closed cafes and is dying off. This isn't to denigrate the people there - everyone we met was lovely and even the local council has realised that out of town development is responsible, as posters are up around the town lamenting the out of town developments and detailing plans to bring life back into the centre with a new cinema development. I fear it may be too little too late.

Whilst smaller than Worcester, Haverford West is similar, built along the banks of a pretty river, with a castle, and ideal for bringing in tourists, but it's a ghost town now. Before our councillors, of any party persuasion, vote on building the out of town retail, they should go and look around Haverford. The corpse of the 'café culture' that they tried to build (and as is proposed for Worcester) are plain to see. Without the shops to draw people in, no one will go to the cafes.

The city needs to think ahead - the big players need a certain number of residents in a city before they'll look at it. Well, they're going to dump 60,000 more people on us, so we'll have 150,000. That's enough for the big boys. When planning these 'visions for the future' I can only hope that they don't build anything that restricts future opportunities to make something of Worcester centre.

One of the reasons the St Martins development is full of pound shops, coffee shops and bookmakers, is that the units are all too small to attract the big players. They can't keep making these mistakes.
We need to keep the shops in the city centre - redevelopment of the Trinity is the perfect opportunity to get one of the big players in, even if they have to be enticed with reduced rates. Get the anchor stores, like John Lewis, and others will follow. Last week I visited Haverford West and it's a prime example of out of town shopping destroying the city centre. There's a big out of town park with a Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Next (I think) plus the other high street staples. The town centre is full of boarded up shops, closed cafes and is dying off. This isn't to denigrate the people there - everyone we met was lovely and even the local council has realised that out of town development is responsible, as posters are up around the town lamenting the out of town developments and detailing plans to bring life back into the centre with a new cinema development. I fear it may be too little too late. Whilst smaller than Worcester, Haverford West is similar, built along the banks of a pretty river, with a castle, and ideal for bringing in tourists, but it's a ghost town now. Before our councillors, of any party persuasion, vote on building the out of town retail, they should go and look around Haverford. The corpse of the 'café culture' that they tried to build (and as is proposed for Worcester) are plain to see. Without the shops to draw people in, no one will go to the cafes. The city needs to think ahead - the big players need a certain number of residents in a city before they'll look at it. Well, they're going to dump 60,000 more people on us, so we'll have 150,000. That's enough for the big boys. When planning these 'visions for the future' I can only hope that they don't build anything that restricts future opportunities to make something of Worcester centre. One of the reasons the St Martins development is full of pound shops, coffee shops and bookmakers, is that the units are all too small to attract the big players. They can't keep making these mistakes. Marant
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Tue 24 Jun 14

EB Jones says...

Any redevelopment in that area will be a good thing. Shrub hill isn't the nicest area and it's the first bit of Worcester people see when arriving by train. Although I'm not sure we need a hotel, just tidying up the area a little would be an improvement.
Any redevelopment in that area will be a good thing. Shrub hill isn't the nicest area and it's the first bit of Worcester people see when arriving by train. Although I'm not sure we need a hotel, just tidying up the area a little would be an improvement. EB Jones
  • Score: 0

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