THE Dean of Worcester has urged planners and developers not to let the chance to improve the area near to Worcester Cathedral to slip away.

We reported how the owners of Cathedral Plaza are working on plans to transform the landmark shopping centre.

The Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund has revealed a scheme for seven new restaurants overlooking a public square, which would replace the current roundabout between Deansway and College Street.

It also wants to create a new look for the shops and a new gym through the scheme which it predicts could bring in 100 jobs.

The Dean, the Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, said: "The proposals for Cathedral Plaza are a marvellous opportunity, not only to create a worthy setting for the Cathedral and undo some of the vandalism of a previous generation, but to bring vitality back to what the Worcester News article aptly described as an 'unloved' part of Worcester.

The Dean said the Cathedral Chapter had not yet seen detailed plans but he welcomed much of the outline scheme and would like to see a public square called Cathedral Place or Square.

He said: "I warmly welcome the prospect of replacing or remodelling the present ugly buildings of Cathedral Plaza.

"The Cathedral deserves to be surrounded by buildings of distinction.

"I welcome the prospect of increased commercial activity in the new building, but I do have a concern for the future of the businesses that are there at the moment.

"I welcome the prospect of a new public square connecting the High Street to the Cathedral.

"This is the logical completion of the pedestrianization of the High Street and will make the Cathedral more accessible to visitors.

"I welcome the prospect of removing the roundabout, if a workable solution can be found for the flow of traffic.

"It is vitally important that the whole scheme is not dismissed out of hand on the grounds that the present traffic system cannot be improved.

"I urge the city and county (councils) to work together on this."

He added: "These proposals are a big opportunity for Worcester. The moment must not be allowed to pass."

However, he did have one plea that the word Plaza by abandoned, saying it was dated and tawdry and evoked thoughts of ugly town-planning the scheme wanted to overcome.

Salmon Harvester aims to submit a planning application later this year.