19th Sep, 2019

Ambitious plans for Winyates and Matchborough centres take step nearer reality

Harry Leach 11th Jan, 2019

AMBITIOUS plans which could see the bulldozing of both Winyates and Matchborough centres and the creation of a single joint centre have taken a step nearer reality.

The scheme is one of the options being considered by borough councillors which could also see up to 350 new affordable homes built on the site of the old centres and on open land in between.

Members of the borough’s executive committee heard on Tuesday evening that both the district centres suffered from dated layouts and design, creating a poor environment for any potential new investors, as well as for everyday users.

As a result the council is investigating the potential for redeveloping the centres with plans to work with Worcestershire County Council, Homes England and North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration to bring their vision to life.

Close to 20 acres could be available for development including land currently owned by RSA Arrow Vale Academy and Worcestershire County Council.

“An overhaul is long overdue,” said Coun David Bush (Con, West), portfolio holder for economic development, town centre and commercialism.

“The centres are an eyesore, encourage anti-social behaviour and no longer meet the requirements of the council.

“We want the area to become more visually pleasing.”

One of the options on the table is to have just one centre serving both Matchborough and Winyates.

This would allow 350 homes to be built within the scale of the development.

If the council decided to retain two local centres instead of building one, the number of new homes would be reduced.

Work to test the options, by inviting developers to come forward to work with the council and Homes England on the scheme, will now take place.

A bid for central government grants through One Public Estate (OPE) funding has also been submitted to help get the project off the ground.

Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) said: “18 months ago we applied for grant funding for this project but were unsuccessful.

“I just hope that changes this time around.

“It’s also important to ensure that any development partner we work with shares the council’s vision for sustainable development.”

The Council is expecting an answer on OPE funding in February and if given the green light work on the project is expected to start in 2022.

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