A MASTERPLAN which sets out a ‘broad vision’ of how Worcester will look in 2040 has been backed by council chiefs who said it will give the city a chance to shape its future.

Optimism was high at the launch of the City Centre Masterplan at the Guildhall on Tuesday (October 9), with council leaders firing the starter pistol for a month’s consultation into what the people of Worcester think the city should look like.

The masterplan imagines the formation of four new quarters in the city – Riverside, City Heart, Canalside and Shrub Hill – bringing more than 8,000 jobs and 3,000 homes to the city.

Amongst its pages, the plan builds a vision for the city’s historic Shrub Hill area to be completely renovated into a business district, a new walkway alongside the railway arches connecting Foregate Street with the Hive to be built and a plan to transform the city’s riverside into an international tourist destination.

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, already admitted not every single thing in the plan would be built and insisted the plan is a broad vision and a catalyst for debate.

He said the council and the city has to take ownership of the plan and hoped it would start a significant debate about where the city should be heading and what it will look like in the next generation.

Cllr Bayliss said: “I don’t suppose for a minute that everything in this plan will be delivered.

“We need a broad consensus within the council and across partners and stakeholders.”

Cllr Adrian Gregson, deputy leader of the city council, said the plan gave the city a chance to bring to life developments dreamt about for years as well as creating new ideas.

He said: “I think the real thing for me is the opportunities that this presents.”

Louis Stephen, leader of the Green Party on the city council, said congestion was starting to “strangle” the city and welcomed the masterplan’s extending cycling routes and footpaths as well as the hope to build an extra footbridge.

He said: “There is a lot from a Green perspective that I want to support.”

The draft plan was produced by Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with city businesses, landowners, the city’s school and colleges, the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcestershire County Council, said the plan was “interesting” and he hoped it would “provoke debate and discussion” across the city.

He said: “It is important for the city to start the debate on where it is heading.”

Cllr Geraghty said the discussions and subsequent plans would feed into ongoing talks on how the whole county will look in the future.

Mark Stansfeld, chairman of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), welcomed the economic growth within the city that the plan would bring and it would drive Worcester forward.

He said: “It is a direction of travel. It has a lot of exciting things within it.”

David Blake, managing director of the city council, said the masterplan was a vision to build a city that people want to live and work in as well as attract high quality businesses.

He said: “One of the things that is most important that brings investment is confidence in the city.

“If you want to get businesses to move to a particular area you need to set out your stall.

“We need to say where we are going and what we are offering.”