WORK has begun renovating the Worcester News' old office in Hylton Road.

Bought by the University of Worcester, the building is being redeveloped into teaching facilities and midlands firm DSM Demolition Ltd has been stripping the interior of the building to prepare it for its new life.

This initial work is being co-funded by the University and the Worcestershire Local Economic Partnership (LEP) ‘Getting Building Fund’.

During the summer the Worcestershire LEP and the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government made a £3m grant to the University for infrastructure and ‘green’ works at the former Hylton Road industrial estate.

University vice chancellor David Green CBE said: "The development of this facility will be key in providing inclusive and inspiring learning facilities to educate the next generation of health professionals that this Country so badly needs.

"We are pleased to be able to get under way with the initial phase of work to strip out the building.

"The funding from the LEP, match-funded by the University, has enabled us to invest now, just when the construction industry is in difficulty and unemployment is rising, allowing us to help sustain vital jobs for local tradespeople, working on a truly worthwhile project.

"The creation of this campus will bring jobs and prosperity to the City as well as creating hundreds of new opportunities to gain a first class education and vital professional qualification in a wide variety of health professions including nursing and paramedicine.

"There is a real skill shortage in these areas, and I know that all local leaders understand how the creation of the campus will do so much to create opportunity for young people from throughout Worcester and Worcestershire."

Mark Stansfeld, chair of the Worcestershire LEP, said: "The LEP is really pleased to be able to support this most worthwhile project which will provide new facilities to train more health professionals for the County and beyond.

"The University’s graduates in health, education, and many other areas are vital to our local workforce. I’m delighted to see work getting under way."

The large two and three storey 1965 building, designed by Austin-Smith Salmon-Lord Partnership, will become a spacious, flexible, modern teaching facility flooded with natural light from the impressive North light roof structures.

The fully refurbished building will include specialist facilities for teaching medical and health professionals and will be a most significant addition to the University’s Severn Campus, whose focus is on health, wellbeing and inclusive sport.