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Next step taken in transformation of Kidderminster Town Centre

Henderson Global Investors has submitted a planning application to Wyre Forest District Council to enhance Kidderminster town centre and its retail offer.

The application focuses on plans to transform the River Stour into a centrepiece within a new public square, which will feature markets, fetes and other events, flanked by new restaurants and cafes. The proposals include new trees and landscaping, new street furniture, seating and extensive areas of pedestrian priority space. The area will also include a flexible area for short stay parking which will be available for use when markets or events are not being held. The proposals include the demolition of a number of shops and offices including Crown House, a building regarded by many as creating a negative image for the town. Henderson proposes to relocate all affected businesses within the town centre.

Proposals for Weavers Wharf include:

  • A new anchor retail unit of 5,552 sq m
  • 3 restaurants next to the canal (about 300 sq m each)
  • 3 café/retail units overlooking the new square (totalling just over 1,000 sq m)
    A new bridge over the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal to provide access to Matalan directly from Weavers Wharf retail park

    Weavers Wharf is one of 15 assets within Henderson’s c. £1.07 billion UK Retail Warehouse Fund. The proposed extension will add an additional 20% of floor space to the c.325,000 sq ft Retail Park. Current tenants include Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Next and Boots.

    Following a public consultation exercise in October, the proposal includes new dedicated disabled parking spaces and Henderson has committed to refining the design of the canal bridge and exploring opportunities to ensure that Kidderminster’s rich music heritage is celebrated with the retention of the Frank Freeman memorial plaque. It is also working with the council to deliver a music heritage town trail.

    Martin Perry, Director of Retail Development at Henderson, said: “We have engaged extensively with the local community on this project and the feedback received has been extremely useful in helping us finalise our proposals. We are excited about this next stage in the development process and hope to begin work to transform the area next year.

    “Henderson has an excellent track record with a lot of regeneration work. We view it as an important partnership with the local community and local organisations. Although re-generation is long-term rather than short-term, we believe that schemes such as these will act as a catalyst for further investment.”

    John Campion, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “It is important that Kidderminster adapts and changes with the times. The submission of this planning application is a key milestone in the revitalisation of Kidderminster Town Centre and represents the next chapter in the ‘ReWyre story’. As with all planning applications, comments can be submitted to the District Council on the proposals and details of how to go about this can be viewed on the District Council’s website.”

    Helen Dyke, Members Champion for Centres added: “This is a major planning application that will have a huge impact on the future landscape of Kidderminster Town Centre. I look forward to reviewing the plans in detail and I would suggest that anyone who is interested in this project should also take a look at what is being proposed.”

    It is likely that the application will be determined in March-April next year. Pending approval, work is likely to start in mid-2014 and complete in summer 2016. Turley Associates are advising on planning.

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