Call for Worcester's Hopmarket to get investment boost

The Hopmarket, in Worcester

The Hopmarket, in Worcester

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

MORE investment could be heading to a small shopping precinct in Worcester - with councillors saying it is crying out for more attention.

A panel of politicians say the Hopmarket, a specialist retail centre off Foregate Street, has the potential to become a thriving "commercial centre" with the right funds.

A group of councillors, all of whom are trustrees of the council-owned site, say it needs more money.

There are 25 shops inside the precinct, but the centre has a maintenance fund largely lying idle which stands at around £100,000.

A report on the financial performance of the precinct also shows it heading for a £95,000 trading surplus for the year.

The data comes despite many retailers in Worcester suffering from competition from the likes of the internet.

Councillor Richard Boorn, the city council's cabinet member for finance, says the Hopmarket has much more potential.

Speaking during a Hopmarket sub-committee meeting, he said: "We talk about making the Hopmarket being more vibrant and becoming more of an asset to the city, but at this moment in time we haven't achieved it.

"I'm concerned that if we stay the same, we won't be able to go forwards with this.

"If we stand still we start to go backwards."

"I'd like to suggest that future trustees look at this maintenance fund, so we can use it to develop the Hopmarket into much more of a vibrant, commercial centre."

Councillor Roger Knight said: "I agree with everything that's been said.

"We've been here before - there was talk some time ago of creating a visitor attraction in the centre of the square and that died a death.

"I don't quite know why that happened, it would be good if we could re-visit it."

Over the last four years the Hopmarket's rental income has delivered a trading surplus of around £100,000 every year.

Money from it is generally used to give away to worthy causes in the city, such as charities or groups that help the vulnerable.

Shops at the centre sell items such as ornaments, arts, crafts, toys and books.

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