Don't get carried away about a new shopping complex for Worcester, says council boss

Worcester News: The Cornmarket car park and Trinity House: up for sale The Cornmarket car park and Trinity House: up for sale

A DREAM of a new shopping centre for Worcester is on the rocks - after the city council's boss admitted the internet was putting retailers off.

Managing director Duncan Sharkey said he doesn't want to get people's hopes up that the likes of John Lewis are preparing to invest in the Cornmarket site off Trinity Street.

He says questions are now being asked about how much extra retail Worcester can realistically take, especially with "online taking over".

It raises the prospect of the landmark site, which has been put up for sale along with Trinity House, being a leisure destination without major stores.

Back in August last year the city council announced the entire complex was up for sale to a developer prepared to create a link between the High Street and the £75 million St Martin's Quarter off City Walls Road.

But retail units are still going unfilled in the city, including the shops surrounding Asda.

Mr Sharkey admits with more people shopping on the internet retailers are now under more pressure.

Mr Sharkey said: "That aspiration to join up the Cornmarket and Trinity House with St Martin's Gate is very much a shared one, but the question is 'how much will the market bear'.

"What we ultimately want is a viable scheme that will really add value to the area.

"There are ongoing questions about the size of the retail 'footprint' across the piece with 'online' taking over.

"So with that in mind we're doing work with the likes of the university to try and work out what the city centre might look like in the future."

Speaking during a meeting of the performance, management and budget scrutiny committee, he said he'd heard talk of the likes of "John Lewis" but wouldn't want to get hopes up that it was on the horizon.

It follows comments from Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID) that the Cornmarket complex needs to accommodate a different offer to the retail currently in the city.

Trinity House used to house the archives and archaeology department, but it moved to The Hive in 2012, leaving the site neglected.

Under the proposed new deal, a developer would be tasked with creating new attraction on the 62,000 sq ft site.

The buyer would have to guarantee at least one ground floor of retail or leisure, meaning they would have the option of creating several more floors above it of whatever they like, subject to planning approval.

Zeta Economics, an outside consultancy firm which was commissioned by examine Worcester's prospects last year, has already insisted the council must "aim high" with the development to make a major statement.

* What do you think? Should the site be shopping orientated, or could it become something else? Email te@worcesternews.co.uk or call 01905 742248.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:46pm Wed 29 Jan 14

copierman says...

Turn it into a shopping mall with car parking above
Turn it into a shopping mall with car parking above copierman
  • Score: -4

3:00pm Wed 29 Jan 14

old misery says...

Would not think John Lewis would consider it especially with the fuss over their attempt to open a place in London Road .
Would not think John Lewis would consider it especially with the fuss over their attempt to open a place in London Road . old misery
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Raniator says...

So let's look at the Grand Central shopping centre currently being built in Birmingham. Is that going to be a failure because of the internet?

How is Worcester expected to grow if no one puts any faith in the city?

How many people here having shopping trips to Birmingham Bullring or other cities because Worcester doesn't have the range of shops you need?

The opinion in this story just doesn't make sense!
So let's look at the Grand Central shopping centre currently being built in Birmingham. Is that going to be a failure because of the internet? How is Worcester expected to grow if no one puts any faith in the city? How many people here having shopping trips to Birmingham Bullring or other cities because Worcester doesn't have the range of shops you need? The opinion in this story just doesn't make sense! Raniator
  • Score: 21

6:17pm Wed 29 Jan 14

copierman says...

So the Cornmarket car park would be included in the sale? Is this the same car park that last week certain Councilors said was handy for Waitrose shoppers if it were they to open in the old Co op building?
Do they really know what they are doing, they seem to be lurching from one statement to another regarding this site.
Why not throw in the old Severn Trent building next door and make a proper job of redeveloping this site?
So the Cornmarket car park would be included in the sale? Is this the same car park that last week certain Councilors said was handy for Waitrose shoppers if it were they to open in the old Co op building? Do they really know what they are doing, they seem to be lurching from one statement to another regarding this site. Why not throw in the old Severn Trent building next door and make a proper job of redeveloping this site? copierman
  • Score: 1

2:33pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Smyffie says...

"The buyer would have to guarantee at least one ground floor of retail or leisure...."

Awesome...let the private shop in Lowesmoor take over the ground floor, with a couple of lap dancing / pole dancing floors above it! At least the ladies of Worcester could go off shopping knowing their fellas were left in pleasant surroundings.
"The buyer would have to guarantee at least one ground floor of retail or leisure...." Awesome...let the private shop in Lowesmoor take over the ground floor, with a couple of lap dancing / pole dancing floors above it! At least the ladies of Worcester could go off shopping knowing their fellas were left in pleasant surroundings. Smyffie
  • Score: -3

11:23pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Stuart 1 says...

so tempted to suggest we build a dance hall on the Corn Market...........

seriously Worcester deserves better, and with the right infrastructure and support can support better quality retailers, bringing in external shoppers - if we are not careful we could create a poor environment - we need to improve standards, if you look down the high street we have some wonderful buildings, but a number are in a shocking state with bushes, trees growing from the walls and roofs!!! it doesnt look good and has been a long standing issue! it is no surprise that John Lewis is not coming to the this site, but instead investing (potentially) in a new site on the top of the London Road.
so tempted to suggest we build a dance hall on the Corn Market........... seriously Worcester deserves better, and with the right infrastructure and support can support better quality retailers, bringing in external shoppers - if we are not careful we could create a poor environment - we need to improve standards, if you look down the high street we have some wonderful buildings, but a number are in a shocking state with bushes, trees growing from the walls and roofs!!! it doesnt look good and has been a long standing issue! it is no surprise that John Lewis is not coming to the this site, but instead investing (potentially) in a new site on the top of the London Road. Stuart 1
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree