WORK is under way on an ambitious project to transform an old workshop and stable building at the heart of Stourport-on-Severn’s historic canal basins into a stylish café-restaurant, office and heritage information centre.

The project is being funded with the help of a £500,000 grant from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM) to the Stourport Forward Market Towns Initiative (MTI).

Conversion work, being carried out by Stourport-based Thomas Vale Construction, will be completed by the spring and Stourport Forward is starting the search for prospective tenants to lease the café-restaurant and kitchen from Wednesday, April 1.

There are also plans to include costume guided walks, developed by the Monday Night Group and Civic Society, and heritage weekends.

Colin Hughes, chairman of Stourport Forward, said: “This project is another great achievement for Stourport. The Georgian splendour of Stourport Basins is the perfect setting for a café/ restaurant and heritage room. Stourport’s canal basins are enjoying a renaissance and are sure to attract new visitors in 2009 at a time when people are looking for more affordable leisure opportunities and quality places to eat closer to home.”

The award-winning project will put the finishing touches to a £4.5 million programme of restoration and enhancement in Stourport funded by British Waterways, AWM through Stourport Forward MTI and the Heritage Lottery Fund.