Worcester is quietly becoming a beacon for quality architecture & regeneration, undoing the damage of the past

In the last few weeks Worcester’s Robin Walker has been contacted by a number of constituents and residents in the city about the Royal Institute of British Architects campaign to “Build a better Britain”.

He has today announced his support for the campaign saying “I am a big fan of quality architecture and what it can offer to our country and our city.”

He pointed out that the Worcester Arena, which was part funded by Sport England with a£1.5m Iconic Facilities grant, has recently won the Guardian newspaper’s award for most inspiring new University building in the UK.

http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/university-of-worcester-arena-crowned-winner-at-prestigious-guardian-awards.html

Robin also recently visited the local architecture firm DJD Arcitects who handled the excellent regeneration of the St John’s towers which had been becoming something of an eyesore in Worcester but which are now modern looking and elegant as well as much more comfortable and better insultated for their residents in sheltered accommodation.

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=54d361accf4a6ed03236126721085393

At the end of February, he visited and celebrated some excellent new school buildings at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary in Warndon which are a credit both to their designer and to the Conservative led Government’s decision to allocate more funding for new Primary school buildings in order to meet the huge demand for more places.

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=7a5f0e0510405f94ae7ed33e07fdeddd

Along with the revitalised Sixth Form College with its smart new science block, the Aspire AP Free School and the transformation of Tudor Grange Academy, these really show the benefit of well designed, carefully targeted investments in the education estate. With the new HOW College skills centre replacing the blockish Russell & Dorrell depository by the river front and the work beginning to revitalise the Cathedral plaza, there is potential for some of the worst buildings of the 60’s to be replaced.

Robin has also campaigned for more housing to be built on brownfield sites and has welcomed the development of sites such as the old Kays building, Gregory’s Bank and the old Ronkswood Hospital site for housing in recent months. Well designed family housing is much needed in Worcester and Coalition policies such as the new homes bonus, give councils a strong incentive to approve it.

Commenting on these developments and the campaign, Robin said

“There is a lot of exciting architectural work going on in Worcester at the moment and with transformative buildings such as the Hive and the Arena, it really feels like the city is getting over the terrible legacy of the so called “rape of Worcester” in the 1960s. Some years ago, I Invited my colleague from Gloucester and co founder of my group for Regeneration through Innovation in  Parliament to come and see some of the good work happening in Worcester and, after the election it would be good to get him back for an update.”

“There is more to do of course and the RIBA campaign has been right to highlight the importance of quality social housing, something I have always campaigned for. I would also like to see some of the remaining blights from the 60s such as the terrible Elgar building in front of our magnificent Isambard Kingdom Brunel era Shrub Hill Station, taken down. Flood proof buildings, another focus of the campaign are very important in a city that has become famous for its spectacular floods. I certainly endorse the importance of quality design in meeting this challenge and it is interesting to look at some of the designs of new buildings in the Diglis area of Worcester that have taken this into account over recent years.”

“Worcester has always been a beautiful city with some remarkable buildings and we are lucky to have heritage assets such as the Cathedral, the Guildhall and the magnificent St Swithun’s Church, which has recently received a major boost from lottery funding. I want to make sure Worcester continues to develop beautiful, functional and remarkable buildings for the future and that is why I am happy to back RIBA’s campaign.”

Notes to editors

For more information on the RIBA Building a better Britain campaign visit:

http://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Contactus/NewsAndPress/PressReleases/2015/ArchitectsandvoterscallonpoliticianstoBuildaBetterBritain.aspx

For their detailed report on Building a better Britain see:

http://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Campaigns%20and%20issues/Assets/Files/BuildingABetterBritain.pdf

For more information on Robin’s work through the All Party Group for Regeneration through Innovation see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/articles/view_detail.php?id=a65a8c7d517be5b766e9dd4f561fd4fe