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Lift-off for £100m Worcester revamp
A MASSIVE homes, leisure and business complex for Worcester has secured council approval - promising to transform the city.
Planning chiefs have backed the £100 million Sherriff Street revamp, calling it "fantastic" for the city.
The project, which is years in the making, means 900,000 sq ft of industrial land will be overhauled into 650 homes, business units, a cinema, hotel, ice skating facility, ten-pin bowling, a gym, 1,000 parking spaces, 80-bed care village, open space, art work and further retail in a genuine mixed-use development.
The work is so vast it is being built in three phases, with the planning committee yesterday backing it as a "long awaited" revamp of the site.
The committee has backed phase one, which includes 131 one and two-bed homes, a food store, 597 space multi-storey car park, business counters and cafe, bar and takeaway provision.
It also accepted the principle of phases two and three, which require a final, detailed planing application to be submitted.
Councillor Aubrey Tarbuck said: "It's an exciting time, this will bring a new dynamic to Worcester, and it will lift the economy."
Councillor Derek Prodger said: "I remember this site as an abomination and a dump. "I don't think we will get an opportunity of this importance in this location again - we are crying out for this."
Some politicians cited traffic fears, with Mayor Coun Pat Agar saying "as it stands, it will only make traffic matters worse".
The scheme needs to be signed off by the Government before work can start on phase one, and in the meantime discussions are ongoing around highways improvements to at least nine surrounding routes to ease congestion fears.
It is likely to include cycle routes, bus lanes, expanded junctions, and a crossing over Sherriff Street.
Phase one includes a huge, six-floor building with restaurants, cafes, bars and business space on the ground floor and apartments above.
Developer Sherriff's Gate Ltd, which owns the land, say it is the single biggest regeneration scheme in Worcester's history.
It sits by Shrub Hill Railway Station and used to be home to the historic Locke china works.
* More reaction follows throughout the day.
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