A CAMPAIGN to get Worcester's shops to turn their upper floors into flats has secured more support - with one backer saying too many people view the city centre as a "no go area".

Councillor Neil Laurenson says 'Living Over The Shop' could go a long way to moderating the excesses of night-time drunks parading the city's streets.

As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, talks have launched over a potential new policy to encourage more retailers to convert their empty upper floors into apartments.

The idea has already been talked over with the Federation of Small Businesses, social housing provider Fortis Living and Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID) to test the waters.

The campaign, by Green Party chairman Louis Stephen, will now see him sit down with housing officers at the city council in September.

It comes as Councillor Laurenson suggests how in his view, the campaign has the potential to offer a tonic against rowdy revellers by allowing other city people to reclaim the High Street as their own.

He also told your Worcester News he feels many residents are too frightened to venture into the city during the evening.

"Currently many people see the city centre as a no-go area in the late evenings due to the noisy night life," he said.

"In time, more people living and 'owning a stake' in the area will have a moderating effect on the worst excesses of the rowdy nightclub, heavy-drinking culture that frightens many people from being in the High Street at night."

Meanwhile a member of the city council's Conservative leadership has come forward to back a potential new policy on it.

Councillor Mike Johnson, the cabinet member for sport, retail and leisure, said: "Potentially it would appear there's a lot of possible accommodation up there (on upper shop floors) not doing a lot," he said.

"There would be a lot of practical issues to work through, like the access and bin storage, we wouldn't want it adding to rubbish problems.

"But as a matter of principle I'd support looking at this."

At the moment there are very few flats in the city centre above shops, including none in the High Street or The Shambles.

Mr Stephen wants to register 'Living Over The Shop' as a registered charity and get Worcester to be a unique UK pilot for rolling out some sort of new policy to encourage retailers to buy into it.

* To see our special report on this yesterday go HERE.

* To find out more about the campaign a dedicated website has been set up HERE.