THE approval of plans to revamp Worcester's tired-looking Cathedral Plaza development has been widely welcomed.
The multi-million pound scheme to develop the 220,000 sq ft shopping centre near the Cathedral and create a new public square was given planning approval by Worcester City Council on Thursday.
The plans, which are expected to create about 100 new jobs, also include space for a range of large new shops, seven restaurants and an underground gym.
Worcester MP Robin Walker welcomed the announcement, calling it "very exciting".
"For a long time the Cathedral Plaza has looked very tired and I think may have put people off visiting the Cathedral," he said.
"It definitely makes sense to life that part of Worcester up to encourage people on the High Street to visit that end of town and people there to visit the High Street.
"I think it’s a very positive thing for Worcester in terms of tying the whole city together."
Adrian Field, head of Worcester Business Improvement District - an non-profit organisation dedicated to improving conditions for companies in the city - also welcomed the approval, saying: "It's good news".
"There's generally delight that it's gone through and there’s the opportunity to revamp a tired part of the city centre," he said.
"It's a good opportunity for the city as long as we get the right mix of businesses there - I think that's important."
The application also includes new cladding on the outside of the building to improve its overall appearance.
Following Thursday's announcement readers took to the Worcester News Facebook page to speak out on the plans.
April Joy Warr wrote: "Well it's a good thing they're doing something about it. Just don't want to see any more coffee shops or restaurants, otherwise there will be no reason to come into Worcester anymore. Once all the retail and indi shops go, Worcester will become a ghost town."
Steve Screech Lauder said: “How about they bring back the Lychgate name before that piece of history is lost as well?” and Mark Hubbard wrote: “Great - about time we lost this embarrassment”.
Speaking on Friday Nick Webb from the Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund, who have owned Cathedral Plaza since last year, said the company was “delighted” the scheme had been given the go-ahead.
"We have been working in partnership with both city and county councils and have been very pleased with the positive approach both have taken to the project as this is exactly the type of investment the city centre needs,” he said.
Building work is expected to commence later this year with the first new shops opening in the spring.