A REVAMP of a Worcester shopping centre with restaurants and a new public square could create up to 100 city jobs.
The new-look Cathedral Plaza moved a step closer as detailed plans were handed in to Worcester City Council by the Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund.
The "multi-million" scheme is for the redevelopment of its 220,000 sq ft shopping centre, creating seven new restaurants overlooking a new public square in front of the Cathedral and remodelled shop units, a gym and foodstore. Talks are underway with a number of operators who may locate their businesses at the new centre.
The submission follows an extensive consultation with the people of Worcester, in which 78 per cent of respondents supported the overall approach and 88 per cent supported the proposal to introduce a new public square after 86 people filled in questionnaires to gauge public opinion.
Nick Webb of Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund said: “Our plans are aimed at attracting new, good quality restaurants and shops to Worcester and increasing shopper dwell time in the city centre for the benefit of all concerned. We are delighted with the support we have received as investment like this is vital for the long term vitality of the city centre. ”
Subject to planning permission, the project will get underway early next year with the new restaurants and shops open in spring 2016.
The plans were also welcomed by Adrian Field, head of Worcester BID (Business Improvement District), set up in April 2010 as a non-for-profit organisation with the aim of improving the trading conditions for the businesses who contribute a BID levy.
Mr Field said: "It is an exciting project for an area of the city centre which most agree needs investment and regeneration and will improve the city centre's shopping and evening economy offer. 81,437 people walked past our High Street footfall counter in that area last week and this figure would be expected to rise significantly if the plans are carried out. The opportunity to create a much needed open space in the city centre is welcomed as is the chance to enhance the link between this development and the Cathedral and planned Cultural Quarter on the former Porcelain Works site."