Final schemes under £19.6m Worcester Towns Fund to be considered

Worcester city councillors will meet next week to approve the final two schemes to be launched with the £19.6m investment into the city from the Government’s Towns Fund.

A total of five projects will be funded, following the City Council’s successful bid to the national initiative.

Business cases have already been approved for the first three and, if the Policy and Resources Committee gives the nod to the final two, it will lead to the Government releasing the final near-£12 million from the funding allocation.

The committee will be asked to support the use of £10 million for the redevelopment of a key location within the Shrub Hill Quarter.

If the scheme is approved, Isaac Maddox House in Shrub Hill Road, a former NHS office, will be renovated and developed into an enterprise centre for business use. This will be the first phase of the development of this canal-side site, which will also see new housing in an attractive environment. A new walking and cycling route would also be created to run from Shrub Hill Road to St Martin’s Quarter, past the new development.

A partnership project with Worcestershire County Council, the scheme would create attractive new canal-side flats and new employment opportunities with improved transport connections.

This new development would sit alongside a broader private sector redevelopment of the city’s Shrub Hill quarter.

The other Towns Fund business case – to be considered at the same meeting – is on the theme of community skills and enterprise. The aim is to provide training to residents within their local areas, particularly those in deprived communities without mainstream qualifications. This will range from courses in basic literacy and IT to training in customer services and construction trades including bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and green tech trades such as solar and heat pump installation engineers.

If backed by the committee, this business case would see £1.96 million from the Towns Fund used for:

  • A new construction skills training centre, “Building Block 2” at the Green Centre, Dines Green
  • Reconfiguration and extension of the Community Centre at Ronkswood
  • Expansion of the usable space at the Horizon Hub in Midland Road to provide greater capacity
  • A contribution to a Worcestershire County Council project at the Fairfield Centre in Warndon, which will expand its capacity to deliver hair and beauty skills training
  • A grant to St Peter’s Village Hall Association to support construction of a new village hall that would include training facilities
  • One-to-one consultation spaces at the Tolly Hub in Rowan Ave and the KGV Hub in Brickfields.

The other Worcester Towns Fund projects for which businesses cases have already been approved and for which investment cash has already been released are; a £2.5 million contribution to the new Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing currently being built in Hylton Road; a £4.5 million investment in active travel, including new off-road walking and cycling routes and a contribution to the new Kepax Bridge that will create a new river crossing at Gheluvelt Park; and £640,000 for a heritage and riverside project that will boost Worcester’s tourism business.

Both the Shrub Hill Quarter Regeneration plan and the new Health and Wellbeing centre with the University of Worcester have also been supported through the Government’s Getting Building Fund via the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. Shrub Hill Quarter received £850,000 and the Health and Wellbeing centre received £3m. 

To find out more about the Shrub Hill Quarter regeneration plan and the outcome of the committee meeting, please visit Worcester City Council’s website here.