Worcester is set to receive nearly £20 million as part of the Conservative government’s Stronger Towns Fund. The cash will allow work to start on the Town Investment Plan which has the potential to transform the city centre, regenerate key sites, grow the economy, boost active travel and create new jobs.
Following today’s announcement Worcester will benefit from £19.6 million which has the potential to unlock further avenues of funding for major projects within the city. Worcester has already benefited from the government’s determination to level up and provide investment through the Future High Streets Fund, which allocated £17.9 million to transform the Scala Theatre, Angel Place and the Corn Exchange and £3m of cultural funding to support the regeneration of the Arches. Each Town Deal is managed by a board, made up of community leaders and Robin has served on the board for Worcester’s Town Deal since its inception, working alongside Marc Bayliss of the City council and Simon Geraghty of the County council to ensure that Worcester reaps the maximum benefit from the fund.
Among the proposals being supported is the regeneration of Shrub Hill Station and its surrounding area which has the potential to bring new life to one of the key gateways to the city. This is expected to include around 100 new homes and an enterprise centre to support small businesses. The city’s MP Robin Walker has said it will also lead to investment in areas of Worcester that have sometimes felt left behind, with a strong focus on skills and transport improvements across Gorse Hill, Rainbow Hill and Warndon as well as a new construction skills centre for Dines Green.
The bid also includes exciting plans for a Health and wellness centre on the West side of the river which will support the University’s plans to expand its nurse training and deliver a medical school, something that he has long campaigned for and improvements to the riverside and heritage offer. It will also support active travel across the city with a number ofcycle routes being boosted, a new river crossing for walkers and cyclists and a cycle hire scheme with conventional and electric bikes.
Robin Walker said:
“This is great news and is testament to what can happen with a Conservative government working with two great Conservative councils. Following the success of our bids for the future high streets fund and the cultural recovery fund, this investment is a massive vote of confidence in the city of Worcester.”
“It is something I have personally campaigned for since my election in 2010. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Regeneration through Innovation, which I established, made Shrub Hill a clear example of an area with unmet potential. The regeneration of this area is at the heart of this bid, and I am particularly pleased to see further opportunities for investment, jobs, and economic growth around the city. I am particularly pleased that the Towns Deal should support cycling and active travel, priorities which I have consistently supported.
“In the 2019 General Election the Conservative Party made a pledge to level up opportunity for places up and down the country and this is just another example of how we are delivering on this. We have already received millions to ensure the future of our High Street, additional police officers to make our streets safer, and £15 million pledged to upgrade our Accident and Emergency department at the Worcester Royal Hospital, another key priority of mine. This record breaking investment in regeneration for our city will make a real difference and could hardly be more timely.”
“The group that led on developing the Town Improvement Plan worked on a cross party, cross community group basis and their collective experience has enabled a proposal that could be regionally significant. The commitment of almost twenty million pounds reflects the fact that this Government believes in our towns and cities and is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to levelling up. This should provide a strong boost for the economic recovery in Worcester and for future bids to the levelling up fund for which we have been designated a priority one area.”
Marc Bayliss, Leader of Worcester City Council said:
“I am delighted that the Government has decided to award the City almost £20 million more to back our ambitousregeneration plans. This money is on top of the £18 million we were awarded last year from the Future High Street Fund and together these funds provide us with a once in a generation opportunity to create an even better city, fit for the 21st century and which helps all our communities to fulfil their potential.
“Working together with a range of partners Worcester has demonstrated again its ability to make a compelling case for investment.”
The projects that will result from the funding are
•The Creation of a ‘Severn Centre for Health and Wellbeing’ – a training centre for healthcare professionals including a GP practice, on-site therapy and rehabilitation clinics and prescribed classes in nutrition and exercise.
•Regeneration of Shrub Hill to create an impressive gateway to the city that is more befitting of Worcester’s status.
•Funds to promote the city’s heritage assets so residents and tourists can benefit from our rich heritage.
•Support to help make the most of the city’s place around the River Severn by promoting the local health and economic benefits of the Riverside.
•An investment in active travel that will connect communities and ensure there are more sustainable ways to move around the city.