THE BISHOP of Worcester has urged city councillors to give the go-ahead to plans to revamp Cathedral Plaza, saying it is a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’.
The multi-million pound scheme, which includes restructuring the roundabout on Deansway, will go before Worcester City Council’s planning committee tomorrow (Thursday).
If councillors give it the green light, the project, which has been tabled by the shopping centre’s owners, would get underway at the start of 2016 with seven new restaurants, a gym and a small food store created.
In a letter to the city council, Bishop of Worcester Dr John Inge said he welcomed Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund’s proposals as it would make the area by Worcester Cathedral more attractive to visitors.
“I believe that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he said. “The present nexus of the High Street, College Street, Deansway and College Yard in the vicinity of the Cathedral is unworthy of the historic character of the city.
“It is dominated by an aggressive traffic system, and surrounded by the ugly buildings of ‘Cathedral Plaza’. The City Masterplan has already identified this area for imaginative redesign.
“I support this wholeheartedly as I do any move that can open up pedestrian flow from one to the other.”
Bishop John said he was particularly impressed by the plans to create new public open space outside the shopping centre.
“I agree with my colleagues that the encouragement of pedestrian movement at the head of the High Street and in view of the Cathedral will enormously enhance this quarter of the city,” Bishop John added.
“I am very supportive of the opening of a new public square, congratulate Salmon Harvester on this bold proposal and urge the city council to seize this opportunity.”
However, he said he and his colleagues believed the name ‘Cathedral Plaza’ should be “abandoned” as he favoured the public space being called ‘Cathedral Square’, with a different name for the individual new buildings.
Nick Webb of Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund, added: “We are very pleased the application is going to planning committee with a recommendation for approval as we have worked extremely hard with both city and county councils, as well as the people of Worcester, to ensure the project is the right one for the city.
“We very much hope the committee members will agree with their officers and the project can get underway.”