Fury at delays over £100m+ Worcester revamp

Evesham Journal: Fury at delays over £100m+ Worcester revamp Fury at delays over £100m+ Worcester revamp

DEVELOPERS behind Worcester's biggest ever revamp have revealed their fury - claiming "tens of millions" of investment into new jobs, homes, leisure and offices is being held up by council chiefs.

Work on the single biggest regeneration scheme Worcester has ever seen should have got underway at the start of this year, with upwards of £100 million being ploughed into overhauling land off Sherriff Street near Shrub Hill railway station.

But your Worcester News can reveal how the grand project, including more than 600 homes, an 80-bed care village for the elderly, cinema, bowling alley, ice skating rink, bars, shops, eateries, 96-bed hotel, gym, 1,000 parking spaces, offices and more, is already at the risk of running at least an entire year late.

The investors behind the massive scheme, who are Worcester-based, have laid the blame squarely at the feet of Worcestershire County Council.

Work on the first of three phases was approved by the city council's planning committee back in September last year, but not a single spade has gone into the ground because County Hall's highways experts need to sign it off first.

Developers Sherriff’s Gate Ltd is ready to overhaul 900,000 sq ft of land and insists it would "start tomorrow" if it could.

The firm also says it has been left "mystified" by the delays and insists it contacted the Worcester News "as a last resort" after becoming so frustrated.

The company also says it has spent more than £500,000 getting planning approval, including £50,000 on sophisticated traffic modelling for the development, but is still waiting on the final green light.

Your Worcester News has been told the reason for the delay is because of concerns over how to resolve traffic congestion.

A spokesman for Sherriff's Gate Ltd said: "We want to get on with it - we have been wanting to crack on for a very long time and it's very frustrating.

"The county council's highways department is holding up millions of pounds of investment, holding up jobs and delaying much needed housing, and we are mystified as to why.

"It is diabolical. We have decided going public is the last resort because we want to know where we stand.

"This is a vital scheme for Worcester and it's a complete and utter farce that as of today we have still not started."

The firm says the hold-up is causing a huge knock-on affect for its business, citing an example of building firm Thomas Vale, which is in negotiations over a contract to create 131 housing units in the first phase of work but is being held up by the wait.

Sherriff's Gate Ltd stresses that the project is not at risk, but it wants the council to finally allow it to start.

The project is being done in three phases and the company was aiming on a 2017 completion date.

The county council says it is working on signing off the scheme as soon as possible, but it is taking time to find ways of resolving "future congestion on this key city centre transport corridor".

A spokesman said: "We're continuing to work on these solutions, which have been put forward by the developer.

"We fully recognise the importance of the project, have prioritised the scheme and will continue to work on an agreed package of measures as soon as possible."

Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "With such a major application there are always technical things to go through and very complex legal requirements."

Comments (20)

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10:09am Mon 14 Jul 14

Ted Elgar says...

Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be?
Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm.
Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be? Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm. Ted Elgar
  • Score: -7

10:10am Mon 14 Jul 14

i-cycle says...

But I thought Cllr Geraghty, Leader at The City and No 2 at the County had already given assurances that the dualling of the southern ring road would resolve the City's congestion problems.

And of course the County cuts to public transport, abandonment of park and ride and the City making it cheaper to drive into and park in the city won't make much difference to congestion. Will they?

Ironically building this development close to the city centre should actually reduce the need to drive as far and particularly when compared to all the edge of city development are are planned.
But I thought Cllr Geraghty, Leader at The City and No 2 at the County had already given assurances that the dualling of the southern ring road would resolve the City's congestion problems. And of course the County cuts to public transport, abandonment of park and ride and the City making it cheaper to drive into and park in the city won't make much difference to congestion. Will they? Ironically building this development close to the city centre should actually reduce the need to drive as far and particularly when compared to all the edge of city development are are planned. i-cycle
  • Score: 16

10:10am Mon 14 Jul 14

Ted Elgar says...

Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before they knew what the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be?
Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm.
Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before they knew what the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be? Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm. Ted Elgar
  • Score: -3

10:31am Mon 14 Jul 14

brooksider says...

Ted Elgar wrote:
Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before they knew what the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be?
Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm.
That is really what is diabolical about the scheme.
1000 parking spaces for 600 flats, 80 bed care home, 6 screen cinema, bowling alley, skating rink, gym, bars, shops and restaurants.
Where are all the residents, visitors and workers going to park?

We have already experienced what chaos is caused by a poorly conceived scheme at St Martins, Worcester cannot afford to have a worse bottleneck at the bottom of Newtown Road and Tolladine than we presently have.
[quote][p][bold]Ted Elgar[/bold] wrote: Surely the planning permission wasn't granted before they knew what the full impacts of the increase in traffic would be? Getting rid of that nasty Shrub Hill station would probably help reduce traffic.. erm.[/p][/quote]That is really what is diabolical about the scheme. 1000 parking spaces for 600 flats, 80 bed care home, 6 screen cinema, bowling alley, skating rink, gym, bars, shops and restaurants. Where are all the residents, visitors and workers going to park? We have already experienced what chaos is caused by a poorly conceived scheme at St Martins, Worcester cannot afford to have a worse bottleneck at the bottom of Newtown Road and Tolladine than we presently have. brooksider
  • Score: 12

10:56am Mon 14 Jul 14

Ted Elgar says...

If it is the case that the poor old County Council are desperately trying to work out a plan to make retrospective sense of the forthcoming congestion caused by this development they will have been forced to wave through due to recent hatchet planning reforms then it is a bit rich the developer "blowing the whistle" to the WN.
If it is the case that the poor old County Council are desperately trying to work out a plan to make retrospective sense of the forthcoming congestion caused by this development they will have been forced to wave through due to recent hatchet planning reforms then it is a bit rich the developer "blowing the whistle" to the WN. Ted Elgar
  • Score: 11

11:10am Mon 14 Jul 14

CJH says...

Is anyone surprised that the council are dragging their feet? They might as well put options into a hat and just pick one at random. It'll be as good as anything else they come up with.
Is anyone surprised that the council are dragging their feet? They might as well put options into a hat and just pick one at random. It'll be as good as anything else they come up with. CJH
  • Score: -1

11:27am Mon 14 Jul 14

CJH says...

Just noticed this in the report "... County Hall's highways experts...". What? When did that happen? How did it happen? Where have they been hiding these 'experts'?
Just noticed this in the report "... County Hall's highways experts...". What? When did that happen? How did it happen? Where have they been hiding these 'experts'? CJH
  • Score: 0

11:43am Mon 14 Jul 14

3thinker says...

CJH wrote:
Just noticed this in the report "... County Hall's highways experts...". What? When did that happen? How did it happen? Where have they been hiding these 'experts'?
They're probably missing "Blakey" now he's gone to work 'On the Buses' for TfL!

"made my day that has…"
[quote][p][bold]CJH[/bold] wrote: Just noticed this in the report "... County Hall's highways experts...". What? When did that happen? How did it happen? Where have they been hiding these 'experts'?[/p][/quote]They're probably missing "Blakey" now he's gone to work 'On the Buses' for TfL! "made my day that has…" 3thinker
  • Score: -5

11:48am Mon 14 Jul 14

Tynwald says...

Planning permission will probably have been granted with reserved matters that have to be resolved such as the transport plan. This plan will most likely be prepared by an outside consultancy as is standard with most councils.
All the other new housing in Newtown Road will also have a major impact on this area.
The Southern Relief Road will do nothing for this scheme as that is about traffic passing around Worcester and taking through traffic out of the centre.
Planning permission will probably have been granted with reserved matters that have to be resolved such as the transport plan. This plan will most likely be prepared by an outside consultancy as is standard with most councils. All the other new housing in Newtown Road will also have a major impact on this area. The Southern Relief Road will do nothing for this scheme as that is about traffic passing around Worcester and taking through traffic out of the centre. Tynwald
  • Score: 16

3:29pm Mon 14 Jul 14

trundle says...

They should make the two sets of tunnels either end of Sheriff St one way to effectively make a large roundabout past the front of shrub hill, up round past the building merchants, round sheriff st, and back under tunnels towards the retail estate with Wickes. Only solution in that area.
They should make the two sets of tunnels either end of Sheriff St one way to effectively make a large roundabout past the front of shrub hill, up round past the building merchants, round sheriff st, and back under tunnels towards the retail estate with Wickes. Only solution in that area. trundle
  • Score: 2

4:03pm Mon 14 Jul 14

mrwrighty says...

Which ever way you look at this development, it is too big for the location. The volume of traffic moving to and from the motorway along Tolladine Road and Newtown Road will be a nightmare. It is bad enough now. Don't forget the huge development at the top of Newtown Road on the old hospital site, we have yet to see the impact that will have, but I'm sure it will be chaos. This development is an out of town development and not fit to be located at the ends of some of the worst roads in Worcester for traffic.
Which ever way you look at this development, it is too big for the location. The volume of traffic moving to and from the motorway along Tolladine Road and Newtown Road will be a nightmare. It is bad enough now. Don't forget the huge development at the top of Newtown Road on the old hospital site, we have yet to see the impact that will have, but I'm sure it will be chaos. This development is an out of town development and not fit to be located at the ends of some of the worst roads in Worcester for traffic. mrwrighty
  • Score: 16

5:45pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

The city centre traffic problems have more than doubled since the arrival of ASDA with its' free or £1 carparking. And our CONservative Councillors Faffed around then much later addressed the High car-park charges in their own carparks which were encouraging cars to the ASDA carpark.
So however / whatever new buisnesses open they will encourage more shoppers, and of course our wonderfull county councillors with their TOY-TOWN-POLITICS have decided to STOP the PARK & RIDE which on it's own will encourage daily hundreds more cars into the city centre. More shops equals more traffic, look at the numbers of cars these days on Blackpole trading Estate, which is suprising considering the poor traffic arrangements to get on or off these shopping areas.
As to Shrub Hill for those who think that Station is a waste of time, should watch the ammount of people who use the trains daily. There was a huge missed opportunity to develope a transport asset when the old Coal Yards in Midland Road became obsololete / redundant, which with any planning foresight this site could have provided an excellent car-park, linked to the Station by a covered walkway (even moving pavements). But futurism / creativity are not in our planners diaries.
The city centre traffic problems have more than doubled since the arrival of ASDA with its' free or £1 carparking. And our CONservative Councillors Faffed around then much later addressed the High car-park charges in their own carparks which were encouraging cars to the ASDA carpark. So however / whatever new buisnesses open they will encourage more shoppers, and of course our wonderfull county councillors with their TOY-TOWN-POLITICS have decided to STOP the PARK & RIDE which on it's own will encourage daily hundreds more cars into the city centre. More shops equals more traffic, look at the numbers of cars these days on Blackpole trading Estate, which is suprising considering the poor traffic arrangements to get on or off these shopping areas. As to Shrub Hill for those who think that Station is a waste of time, should watch the ammount of people who use the trains daily. There was a huge missed opportunity to develope a transport asset when the old Coal Yards in Midland Road became obsololete / redundant, which with any planning foresight this site could have provided an excellent car-park, linked to the Station by a covered walkway (even moving pavements). But futurism / creativity are not in our planners diaries. Jabbadad
  • Score: 12

9:48pm Mon 14 Jul 14

speak your mind says...

Let's get on with it beforeit becomes obsolete
Let's get on with it beforeit becomes obsolete speak your mind
  • Score: -8

4:55pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Nortynorse says...

Lets be honest, with Worcestershire County Council and THAT John Smith at the helm were are already onto a loser (look at the Evesham bridge fiasco).
I really hope that this man is voted out next time round, he is nothing more than a LIABILITY in anything he gets involved in.

More to the point, lets get the Parkway station of the ground and demolish that carbuncle which is SHRUB HILL, regardless of what Jabbadad says.

Eliminate the two "S"s, SMITH & SHRUB HILL.
Lets be honest, with Worcestershire County Council and THAT John Smith at the helm were are already onto a loser (look at the Evesham bridge fiasco). I really hope that this man is voted out next time round, he is nothing more than a LIABILITY in anything he gets involved in. More to the point, lets get the Parkway station of the ground and demolish that carbuncle which is SHRUB HILL, regardless of what Jabbadad says. Eliminate the two "S"s, SMITH & SHRUB HILL. Nortynorse
  • Score: -2

1:24am Wed 16 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Well the local councils have NO POWERS to demolish Shrub Hill Station , they haven't been able to demolish the Awful Office Block which is a real eysore.
i also support the Parkway but it will need links to the city Centre or it will byepass us, unless nortynorse expects Commutors to walk there, or that everybody has access to a car, or perhaps are Taxi drivers looking forward to longer Journeys which mean higher fares.
There is little need for £Billions to be spent to get a minority of commutors to their destinations a few minutes quicker when all they (commutors) have to do is get up a few minutes earlier and train departure times to be brought forward.
Well the local councils have NO POWERS to demolish Shrub Hill Station , they haven't been able to demolish the Awful Office Block which is a real eysore. i also support the Parkway but it will need links to the city Centre or it will byepass us, unless nortynorse expects Commutors to walk there, or that everybody has access to a car, or perhaps are Taxi drivers looking forward to longer Journeys which mean higher fares. There is little need for £Billions to be spent to get a minority of commutors to their destinations a few minutes quicker when all they (commutors) have to do is get up a few minutes earlier and train departure times to be brought forward. Jabbadad
  • Score: -1

8:51am Wed 16 Jul 14

Nortynorse says...

Jabbadad, the obvious solution which yourself and many others seem to be missing is the fact that FOREGATE STREET station is right in the centre of the city, why would anyone need to walk to the Parkway when you would use a "shuttle train" to get into the city from the parkway. If you go to Stourbridge station there is a shuttle train to the town and has been for many ,many years.

You seem to be of the "lets bury our heads in the sand and keep Shurb Hill" brigade. Shrub Hill station and the the office block are both just eyesores and should be demolished accordingly.

Bring on the parkway.
Jabbadad, the obvious solution which yourself and many others seem to be missing is the fact that FOREGATE STREET station is right in the centre of the city, why would anyone need to walk to the Parkway when you would use a "shuttle train" to get into the city from the parkway. If you go to Stourbridge station there is a shuttle train to the town and has been for many ,many years. You seem to be of the "lets bury our heads in the sand and keep Shurb Hill" brigade. Shrub Hill station and the the office block are both just eyesores and should be demolished accordingly. Bring on the parkway. Nortynorse
  • Score: -3

9:47am Wed 16 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Nortynorse, I completely agree with your observations on shuttle services, and as a quite frequent traveller by train to Birmingham see the shuttle trams riding alongside the Trains until the y go their seperate ways and I am always impressed. However I think it's fair to say that although I have no wish to live in or close to Birmingham they certainly do get on with redevelpoment and Transportation issues , whereas here we only need a comment from the Civic Society, and everything halts. Look at the debacle over Geraghty's current Folly over the Southern Link. Do I need to say more.
So yes I agree that many more use Foregate Street Station but don't forget that Trains have to do a loop to stop there. And to come back directly from Birmingham or elsewhere becomes quite difficult / restrictive.
Having sat waiting for my train home on Any of the Birmingham stations I am always impressed how many people use the trains, and recognise their importance .
Nortynorse, I completely agree with your observations on shuttle services, and as a quite frequent traveller by train to Birmingham see the shuttle trams riding alongside the Trains until the y go their seperate ways and I am always impressed. However I think it's fair to say that although I have no wish to live in or close to Birmingham they certainly do get on with redevelpoment and Transportation issues , whereas here we only need a comment from the Civic Society, and everything halts. Look at the debacle over Geraghty's current Folly over the Southern Link. Do I need to say more. So yes I agree that many more use Foregate Street Station but don't forget that Trains have to do a loop to stop there. And to come back directly from Birmingham or elsewhere becomes quite difficult / restrictive. Having sat waiting for my train home on Any of the Birmingham stations I am always impressed how many people use the trains, and recognise their importance . Jabbadad
  • Score: 2

10:36am Wed 16 Jul 14

liketoknow says...

speak your mind wrote:
Let's get on with it beforeit becomes obsolete
let's let it become obsolete before they get on with it
[quote][p][bold]speak your mind[/bold] wrote: Let's get on with it beforeit becomes obsolete[/p][/quote]let's let it become obsolete before they get on with it liketoknow
  • Score: -3

11:35am Wed 16 Jul 14

brooksider says...

Surely the planned development makes in more vital that Shrub Hill Station stays open.
It will be very convenient for both workers and visitors.
Surely the planned development makes in more vital that Shrub Hill Station stays open. It will be very convenient for both workers and visitors. brooksider
  • Score: 9

12:13pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Exactly brooksider, and the plans now show access to Shrubhill Station Via the Carpark.
Exactly brooksider, and the plans now show access to Shrubhill Station Via the Carpark. Jabbadad
  • Score: 5

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