Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Decision over Worcester's Sherriff Street complex due today
This live event has finished
- A CRUNCH decision over a £100m+ revamp of Worcester's Sherriff Street area is due this afternoon. The city council's planning committee will take a vote over the homes, business and leisure complex. Follow it here live from 1.30pm.
That's it for today folks - thanks for following us today. A full story on Sherriff Street will be on the website soon - and in tomorrow's Worcester News.
A revamp of the Cinderella ground in St John's has also been voted though.
In the last twenty minutes approval has been granted for Worcester's fire station to move to McKenzie Way, Tolladine Road, from its base in Deansway.
After a vote, Sherriff Street is approved unanimously.
Robert Rowden says it will bring "investment, jobs and prosperity"
The highways measures will also see a lot of cycle routes, it's being suggested, and a controlled crossing on Sherriff Street.
Paul O'Connor, Worcester's planning boss says he "guarantees" the council will have total control over the roads investment - saying along each phase, the committee will see a raft of highways measures, adding:"I haven't brought this to you on a wing and a prayer".
He says a later package of investment would then be confirmed once a detailed application is in for phases two and three. As we said earlier, that could include nine other routes.
He says the Newtown Road/Sherriff Street/Williamson Road junction will be expanded with a left turn into Williamson Road, right turn to Sherriff Street or straight ahead option getting extra room - and says that will be the first investment just for phase one.
Bob Pender, from County Hall's highways team reveals the developers will be asked to pay £350,000 to road improvements.
He says one-way schemes had been considered for Tolladine Road and Newtown Road, but discounted because it "will not work".
We are about to debate the traffic implications in detail with highways experts who are present.
Tarbuck says it's "an exciting time, it will bring new dynamics to Worcester, it will lift the economy - we've got an opportunity to enhance the economy of the city".
Tory Aubrey Tarbuck backs it too, saying he "supports it fully" for the regeneration it will bring.
Tory Derek Prodger, who appears rather emotional, calls it an "opportunity that can't be missed", saying Worcester is "crying out for this".
Coun Pat Agar says the scheme is "enormous" and says she's excited by it, but adds she is desperately fearful for traffic, saying "as it stands this will only make congestion worse".
"The city needs the jobs and homes this will bring, but this is in your face - it will add congestion to a very restricted roads network".
Labour's Alan Amos says he likes it, wants to see it happen, calls it "great" for jobs and homes, but says: "What about the traffic?"
Politicians now get involved and Tory Andy Roberts says it will be an "ace in the pack" for Worcester - but also adds that he isn't too keen on the look of the main entrance to the scheme, and cites traffic fears. Planning officer Nick Kay comes back by saying he is confident it will be attractive.
Planning officers are making the understatement of the year by calling it a "significant" development for the city.
There will also be a five-storey car park of 597 spaces, huge public realm improvements and restoration of the historic Locke building which will act as a "gateway" to the site.
The sheer scale of this is huge - the main building in phase one is six floors, the ground floor is businesses, bars, cafes and restaurants with apartments on floors two, three, four and five.
We've now started on Sherriff Street, the huge £100m+ city revamp - all eyes on the committee.
Despite five councillors voting against it, it's approved - it has also led to abuse shouted by a member of the public gallery.
The committee is debating the development after the public speakers say they aren't happy with how close it is to their homes.
After long debates on the reports we've got two public objectors speaking out against the Heron Lodge development - one of whom says he is speaking out for other nearby neighbours to the plot.
Before its debated, we are going through a series of reports on archaeology and the housing land monitor for the city. It shows house building fell to a modern low of 142 new properties, net, in 2012/13. Despite that planning permission for new builds increased by 300. Developers are clearly getting permission to build, but the actual work is being hampered by the economy.
The first project due to be voted on is two new properties at Heron Lodge in Worcester - which would sit near the present Grade II listed 200 year old structure off London Road.
The members are back and the debate is underway!
Affected routes are:
Newtown Road/Williamson Road/Sherriff Street
Newtown Road/Midland Road
Tallow Hill/Midland Road/Shrub Hill Road
Tolladine Road/Sherriff Street/McKenzie Way
Tolladine Road/Shrub Hill Road/Lowesmoor Place
George Street/Pheasant Street/St Paul's Street
St Martin's Gate/City Walls Road
All of these are named as routes included for improvements.
The report says Worcestershire County Council wants a say on highways measures before any work starts, and that nothing shall get underway without a "detailed and comprehensive" traffic plan.
It also says at least nine road networks could see changes as part of the scheme, including traffic signals, roundabouts, cycle lanes, pedestrian crossing facilities, bus laybys, road markings, bus stops and shelters, or anything else the councils want to see.
A full list of the roads affected will follow.
The committee is still out visiting Sherriff Street and other sites ahead of the debate, so we're still some way off a start.
But a report has been passed to me on the highways measures being considered as part of the Sherriff Street scheme - details follow.
Politicians have gone on their site visit, so this blog will be back soon after a short break.
Today's Worcester News features some super images from a city-based design firm, Greenway landscape architects, showing the plans they have in mind for the site.
One issue I would expect to see debated today is the traffic implications.
The general consensus seems to be, if the developers and council can get that right, the entire project will be fantastic for the city.
A late report is expected to be circulated this afternoon detailing what ideas are in the pipeline for easing any congestion concerns.
The rest of the development is being considered in outline form, in other words, the committee will be asked to approve the general principle of the retail, hotel, ice skating, cinema, open space, and so on.
Developers Sherriff's Gate Limited will then be asked to submit a final, detailed application which will specify the size, scale and number of units before work can start.
The entire complex is incredibly mixed, and the developers say they want it complete by 2017.
In terms of Sherriff Street, the land in question is largely vacant or derelict and totals 900,000 sq ft of floor space.
To put that into context, it's five times as big as the £75m St Martin's Quarter complex in Lowesmoor.
Phase one includes 131 apartments, 79 one-bed and 52 two- bed, as well as some sort of food retail centre.
It also includes a cafe, bar and takeaway and 597 parking spaces contained in a multi-storey car park.
Two hundred of those spaces will be reserved for customers using Shrub Hill Railway Station after the developers struck a deal with Network Rail.
There will also be 2,742 square metres of floor space for businesses, which the report calls 'trade counters'.
Phase one also includes 17 spaces for the Ron Smith building, which will sit in a new unit on the site, and improvements to the Newtown Road tunnel under the railway.
And that's just the first phase.....
And to top it all off, the city's fire station could be on the move, from the current Deansway base to a site at McKenzie Way, off Tolladine Road.
It forms parts of the Great Western Business Park, built by St Modwen.
All in all, there's a lot for politicians to discuss!
There's plenty of other stuff being voted on this afternoon too, including the revamp of Worcester's historic Cinderella ground in St John's, which could be restored to its former glories.
The technology college wants to get it back into use again for students and the wider community.
The meeting gets underway at 1.30pm, but the entire committee will be asked to go and take a visit to the site to see it for themselves before coming back to the Guildhall to debate it.
1:15pm Thu 19 Sep 13
Tom Edwards says
Afternoon all, it's a big one this afternoon - the city council's planning committee will take a vote over the Sherriff Street homes, business and leisure complex.
It's worth well over £100m, and includes 650 homes, business space, a hotel, cinema, gym, open space, ice skating rink, bowling alley and more.
Today the committee will be asked to back phase one of three phases of the work, and accept the principle of the rest of the development, which is in outline form.
Comments are closed on this article.