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We’re simply the best, says council chief
A CITY leader has issued a rallying call for more people to be proud of Worcester – saying it has incredible potential to get even better.
Council chief Duncan Sharkey says the city has come out of the recession remarkably well placed, unlike other cities where shopping, jobs and leisure have been in decline. Now, he wants to focus on bringing better-paid jobs to the city, saying securing more big business investment is the key to unlocking its future.
He also says the city already has a key advantage of many other parts of Britain to foreign investors – its “quintessential Englishness”.
Since 2007, Worcester has attracted £350 million of investment, with the most notable improvements being the £60 million Hive, the £15 million 2,000 seater University Arena, the riverside improvements and the ongoing expansion of Sanctuary Housing Group.
He said: “We’ve come out of the recession in pretty good shape and what the last few years show is that we can still attract investment, even if the economy is tough.
“There is so much potential in Worcester, there are ideas and areas we’ve identified ourselves but also more ideas we don’t know about.
“The overall objective is to get more ‘gross value added’ jobs that pay more wages and result in more spending power going into the city, as well as creating greater numbers of jobs.
“We know we’ve got some very good jobs, but we could attract more.” He also said Worcester has been more successful than people give it credit for. The bottom line is that Worcester is successful, full stop. But if more investors want to come here, the time is now,” he said.
“One of the great things about Worcester is its quintessential Englishness – if you are an international investor looking at somewhere which appeals, this is it.
“It’s a fantastic city with great schools, it’s very safe, there’s good leisure and culture, so let’s be proud of what Worcester is. We need to grow what we’re good at already and now the economy is picking up, it’s time to go for that growth.”
The council is in the process of updating its city centre masterplan, a document that aims to regenerate the core retail area.
It includes the Cornmarket car park and Trinity House, the former Co-op in Trinity Street and Queen Street, which is up for sale to major developers. The aim is to sell the land to a bidder prepared to create an entirely new shopping area – providing a key link between the High Street and the £75 million St Martin’s Quarter complex.