THE Mayor officially opened the city's £20m Cathedral Square development this weekend.

Worcester's Mayor Cllr Steve Mackay was tasked with cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of the square on Saturday, July 29.

Events were held throughout the day to mark the occasion, including a cooking tutorial by celebrity chef Lesley Waters and an outdoor cinema showing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Hundreds of locals attended the opening ceremony and many expressed their support for the project.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said: "It means new jobs for people in the city.

"When you think unemployment in the city is less than 1,000 then 500 jobs is a huge step forward.

"I have been around talking to people in the restaurants and bars and it's great to see spirit.

"I think linking up the high street with the Cathedral is bringing the city back together again.

"It was difficult with the old roundabout there to understand how much space was here. Now there's a big open space."

Cllr Mackay said: “It’s brilliant for Worcester. It opens up the south end of Worcester high street and has great views of the Cathedral.

“There are plenty of places for people to come and eat, drink and shop. The idea is to make Worcester more prosperous.

“I think people will come to Worcester to use this. The idea is to bring more and more people to Worcester…hopefully they will spend money in Worcester.”

Nigel Hudson, head of strategic infrastructure and economy at Worcestershire County Council, said local authorities partnered up to cover the £2m cost of carving out a space for the square.

He said Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcester City Council both paid £500,000, while Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund put in £300,000 and the county council contributed £700,000.

Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund has invested £20m in the main building, which now hosts a number of brands, including H&M, Cosy Club, All Bar One, Byron Hamburgers, Miller and Carter, Fitness4Less, Yo Sushi!, Kung Fu, Starbucks and Wilco.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, the Dean of Worcester, expressed his support for the development before giving it an official blessing.

He said: “The high street is so much better connected to the Cathedral we hope this will bring visitors to Worcester.”

Some parts of the development have still not been completed and should be finished by Christmas.

What do local residents think of the development?

Kirsty Dahms, 23, of London Road, Worcester, said: "It's a nice change. It seems so much bigger and open.

"It was tatty before but now it's opened up this end of town more.

"I think it will draw in more people to the city. Now there's new restaurants people will want to come down.

"I just went to Cosy Club and had a coffee, it was really nice."

Ms Dahms said the city had not had anything new for a long time and welcomed the development.

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Adriana Volosevic, 19, a University of Worcester student from Lithuania, said: "I think it's great Worcester is developing.

"There's lots of people here today having fun. It's good, it means that the city is alive.

"I think it makes it more of a city. I've been here two weeks and I've fallen in love with Worcester, there's lots of nature and space - this is another open space.

"I think it will boost the economy. People will go to restaurants and bars and not just sit at home watching the television."

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Roger Lewis, 70, of Meadowbank Drive, Worcester, said: "It's a distinct improvement from what was here before.

"We have now got this open square, it's much more attractive.

"I think it looks good. All towns have their food quarters, we have two now."

Mr Lewis said he will try the square's bars in the future.

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Elaine Dart, 60, of Drakes Broughton, near Worcester, said: “I think it creates a much better impression when you walk into Worcester.

“It looks much more attractive. Before it was awful and didn’t create a good first feeling for visitors.

“I think it’s a shame we don’t have more retail outlets and we have so many places to eat.

“We went and had a coffee at the Cosy Club this morning, the staff were very friendly.”

Ms Dart said it was worth going through the hassle of roadworks to see the development finished.

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Jamie Phelps, 25, of Warndon Villages, Worcester, thinks Cathedral Square is a step forward for the city.

“I think it’s good. It’s clean and modern,” he said.

“It seems quite nice [although] a grass area would have been quite nice. It’s an open space and I’m guessing it will be used for stalls on certain days.

“It’s a nice mix of new and old with the Cathedral. I think it would be nice to have the outdoor cinema here more often.”

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