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Gridlock fears temper office plan jobs boost

Worcester Editorial 29th Nov, 2013 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

PLANS to build an office block which could create hundreds of new jobs in Worcester have been approved despite fears it could bring “mayhem” to the city’s transport system.

Councillors voted in favour of proposals to build another city centre base for Sanctuary Group’s staff at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee last Thursday (November 21).

The five-storey building, which will be built on the site of the former Suzuki car dealership on Farrier Street, will offer 500 new positions within the city-based housing and care provider, which was welcomed by councillors.

But some members of the committee raised concerns about the potential increase in traffic congestion and strain on the city’s transport services, with no extra car parking spaces being made available on site.

Coun David Tibbutt said: “I think 500 jobs is quite an extraordinary number of additional jobs and I cannot see how the highways department can be satisfying that there is not going to be a problem.

“It is going to be gridlock.”

Coun Aubrey Tarbuck added: “I do worry about the fact that we are going to have 500 people attending on a daily basis as it is going to add nothing but mayhem to our transport system.

“I see nothing but problems, but obviously I need to support it from an employment point of view.”

Bob Pender, from Worcestershire County Council’s highways department, said Worcester’s transport plan says developers do not have to provide car parking spaces in its proposals to build an employment site in the city centre, which was criticised by Coun Alan Amos.

“I think it is just a cry of despair that there is a massive opportunity for employment and we have zero provision,” Coun Amos said.

“Can we stop and look at this policy as it is a not realistic in the real world.”

But Coun Paul Denham was one of several councillors to stress the amount of parking available in the area, while Coun Andy Roberts said it would be “nonsensical” to create a car park for 500 people.

A spokeswoman at Sanctuary Group, added: “We encourage the use of sustainable transport, including supporting a cycle to work programme and car share scheme and actively promote Worcester’s rail links and Park and Ride scheme.

“Our application took account of the impact of any additional staff and was approved unanimously. Of course the new jobs will also bring an economic boost to the city and its traders.”

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