Major Kidderminster regeneration plans given go-ahead

Kidderminster Shuttle: COMING DOWN: Crown House. COMING DOWN: Crown House.

CROWN House in Kidderminster will be demolished as part of a major town centre redevelopment given the go-ahead by councillors.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of Wyre Forest District Council's planning committee overwhelmingly voted for delegated approval for the plans submitted by Hendersons UK, which will see an area within and next to Weavers Wharf developed, with new retail stores, cafes and restaurants built as well as a new bridge over the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and River Stour.

A new public square will be created at the Bull Ring, to where the Baxter statue will also be returned.

Council leader, Conservative councillor Marcus Hart, described it as the "biggest, most major" application he had considered in 12 years on the committee.

Concerns were expressed, however, by business owners whose Lower Mill Street buildings will be demolished, meaning they will have to relocate. Businesses which will be affected include La Brasserie restaurant, Woolwise and a pharmacy, also house tenants living above the stores.

Pauline Mantle, speaking on behalf of business owners, urged the meeting to reconsider demolishing the premises. Andrea Arnall, an agent for the applicants, said the issue was not a planning consideration but Hendersons would speak with owners to assist them.

Labour councillor Howard Martin said: "This is a massive financial investment by the developer and something we should grasp with both hands - if we turn this down it may not come back again." He added: "I am sure there is a halfway house and something could be done to help the business owners."

The scheme was also praised by Liberal councillor Fran Oborski, who said: "I do have sympathy for some of the businesses but if you drive around Kidderminster, there are quite a lot of small units available and I do hope Hendersons acts in good faith and helps them.

"This is an exciting application and I cannot think of a single person in Kidderminster who is not going to rejoice when that blot on the landscape Crown House disappears."

Conservative councillor Stephen Clee, who was sitting on the committee in place of fellow Tory Ian Hardiman, added: "We do need a night time economy. The scheme looks great and I do like the idea of having a second bridge. I cannot find fault with anything in it."

Labour councillor Barry McFarland, however, said: "I am very concerned about the businesses on Lower Mill Street. I don't see why we cannot keep them and develop around it."

The plans will be approved by officers as long as planning conditions are met.

Comments (12)

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1:47pm Wed 9 Apr 14

SOS lad says...

Yes we will all rejoice, but we will not be rejoicing when we find out how much local rate payers are going to pay for the purchase and demolition of Crown House and the surrounding buildings,
Can I please be the first to suggest a name for it. "The Wyre Forest Folly"
Yes we will all rejoice, but we will not be rejoicing when we find out how much local rate payers are going to pay for the purchase and demolition of Crown House and the surrounding buildings, Can I please be the first to suggest a name for it. "The Wyre Forest Folly" SOS lad
  • Score: -11

5:21pm Wed 9 Apr 14

philcollins says...

"...new retail stores..." because Kidderminster is in dire need of more retail space, isn't it???
"...new retail stores..." because Kidderminster is in dire need of more retail space, isn't it??? philcollins
  • Score: 13

5:23pm Wed 9 Apr 14

John Campion says...

Soslad - the cost to the tax payer is nothing. Wfdc already owns the land crown house sits on, and the developer would have to pay all the costs to demolish it. The costs are all being funded by the developer, and will remove a major blot on kidderminsters landscape.
Soslad - the cost to the tax payer is nothing. Wfdc already owns the land crown house sits on, and the developer would have to pay all the costs to demolish it. The costs are all being funded by the developer, and will remove a major blot on kidderminsters landscape. John Campion
  • Score: 15

6:21pm Wed 9 Apr 14

kjb1 says...

Hard working local businesses have sold out by WFDC we can't rent the retail space we have already why do we need more ? the only people gaining by this development are Hendersons and WFDC !!
Hard working local businesses have sold out by WFDC we can't rent the retail space we have already why do we need more ? the only people gaining by this development are Hendersons and WFDC !! kjb1
  • Score: 6

6:00pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Aw8093 says...

People moan it looks miserable and dull then moan when they try and correct it. No pleaseing some people
People moan it looks miserable and dull then moan when they try and correct it. No pleaseing some people Aw8093
  • Score: 9

11:11pm Thu 10 Apr 14

gbuilder75 says...

Aw8093.. Welcome to wyre forest - all u hear about is people complaining about how bad it is then wen someone tries to improve it they get they get lambasted and chased out of town. Leisure centre another good example, never heard one good word about the quality of the glades until a new leisure centre was suggested, suddenly it was as if our existing sports centres were the pride of britain. Fact is town centre isn't where the action is and companies not only don't want to but CANT AFFORD TO risk being somewhere that no one is, the council CANT AFFORD TO keep trying over and over again to force people into places no one is. Ppl need to forget about those golden days they had when the indigenous people of these islands skipped merrily from Woolworths to littlewoods they're not coming back and thank goodness WFDC etc have realised this and shifting Kidd town centre to where the action IS!
Aw8093.. Welcome to wyre forest - all u hear about is people complaining about how bad it is then wen someone tries to improve it they get they get lambasted and chased out of town. Leisure centre another good example, never heard one good word about the quality of the glades until a new leisure centre was suggested, suddenly it was as if our existing sports centres were the pride of britain. Fact is town centre isn't where the action is and companies not only don't want to but CANT AFFORD TO risk being somewhere that no one is, the council CANT AFFORD TO keep trying over and over again to force people into places no one is. Ppl need to forget about those golden days they had when the indigenous people of these islands skipped merrily from Woolworths to littlewoods they're not coming back and thank goodness WFDC etc have realised this and shifting Kidd town centre to where the action IS! gbuilder75
  • Score: 15

12:00pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Dave, Retired says...

I am all for the redevelopment plans in the town centre on the condition that something is done with Worcester Street which is turning into a bigger eyesore that Crown House. My suggestion would be to demolish Worcester Street and redevelop it as residential. All town centres throughout the country are experiencing the same problem as Kidderminster in the respect that they are no longer needed as a result of out-of-town shopping areas such as Crossley Park and, of course the dreaded internet shopping. Also, the sooner town councils stop using the motorist as a cash cow and realise parking charges are literally driving people out of the town centre and in free parking areas the better. A Town Councillor commented to me that this would be more of a benefit to non-residents, so what, these are the people that our shops need to increase their trade so free parking would benefit everyone and bring some life back into our town centres.
I am all for the redevelopment plans in the town centre on the condition that something is done with Worcester Street which is turning into a bigger eyesore that Crown House. My suggestion would be to demolish Worcester Street and redevelop it as residential. All town centres throughout the country are experiencing the same problem as Kidderminster in the respect that they are no longer needed as a result of out-of-town shopping areas such as Crossley Park and, of course the dreaded internet shopping. Also, the sooner town councils stop using the motorist as a cash cow and realise parking charges are literally driving people out of the town centre and in free parking areas the better. A Town Councillor commented to me that this would be more of a benefit to non-residents, so what, these are the people that our shops need to increase their trade so free parking would benefit everyone and bring some life back into our town centres. Dave, Retired
  • Score: 13

1:23pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Dave Donut says...

Fantastic. I do feel sorry for those businesses affected, but you can't stop a scheme of this size and strategic importance to the town for a handful of shops. It is only maybe the Brasserie that might find it difficult to find a similar nearby site. Maybe if it moved away from the town centre it might actually do better - there are plenty of pubs empty with decent car parks. I haven't been there in years, but I hope they continue.
Fantastic. I do feel sorry for those businesses affected, but you can't stop a scheme of this size and strategic importance to the town for a handful of shops. It is only maybe the Brasserie that might find it difficult to find a similar nearby site. Maybe if it moved away from the town centre it might actually do better - there are plenty of pubs empty with decent car parks. I haven't been there in years, but I hope they continue. Dave Donut
  • Score: 1

9:12pm Sat 12 Apr 14

Fran says...

Regeneration of Worcester St will, hopefully, bring residential uses to the first and second floors of retail premises.
Free car parking would mean a loss of income of around £800,000 per year to Wyre Forest Council and there would need to be massive cuts in other services in order for motorists to benefit!
Regeneration of Worcester St will, hopefully, bring residential uses to the first and second floors of retail premises. Free car parking would mean a loss of income of around £800,000 per year to Wyre Forest Council and there would need to be massive cuts in other services in order for motorists to benefit! Fran
  • Score: -3

3:46pm Sun 13 Apr 14

davsee says...

If cafes and restaurants are being built along the waterside then they will take large chunks of the already inadequate parking in the weavers wharf car park. Where will there be new parking?
If cafes and restaurants are being built along the waterside then they will take large chunks of the already inadequate parking in the weavers wharf car park. Where will there be new parking? davsee
  • Score: 2

2:43pm Sat 19 Apr 14

davsee says...

Fran wrote:
Regeneration of Worcester St will, hopefully, bring residential uses to the first and second floors of retail premises.
Free car parking would mean a loss of income of around £800,000 per year to Wyre Forest Council and there would need to be massive cuts in other services in order for motorists to benefit!
Creating residential use on the 1st floor in worcester st would still mean empty shops at street level, how is that helping?
There needs to be massive cuts but not in services, how about cutting the the fat cats in the council, their over exaggerated expenses and big expensive white elephant ideas. I was alway brought up to believe that if you can't afford it then go without. How about asking the resident of the wyre forest, the council tax payers, what they would rather have their money spent on - better essential local services or large expensive council buildings, more retail projects, and councillors expenses etc.?
[quote][p][bold]Fran[/bold] wrote: Regeneration of Worcester St will, hopefully, bring residential uses to the first and second floors of retail premises. Free car parking would mean a loss of income of around £800,000 per year to Wyre Forest Council and there would need to be massive cuts in other services in order for motorists to benefit![/p][/quote]Creating residential use on the 1st floor in worcester st would still mean empty shops at street level, how is that helping? There needs to be massive cuts but not in services, how about cutting the the fat cats in the council, their over exaggerated expenses and big expensive white elephant ideas. I was alway brought up to believe that if you can't afford it then go without. How about asking the resident of the wyre forest, the council tax payers, what they would rather have their money spent on - better essential local services or large expensive council buildings, more retail projects, and councillors expenses etc.? davsee
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Sat 19 Apr 14

davsee says...

Quote:
Labour councillor Barry McFarland, however, said: "I am very concerned about the businesses on Lower Mill Street. I don't see why we cannot keep them and develop around it."

I totally agree - and what are these small businesses being turfed out for? A large retail unit!!! Why for god's sake? There are plenty of empty large retail units in the town already we don't need another one.
Quote: Labour councillor Barry McFarland, however, said: "I am very concerned about the businesses on Lower Mill Street. I don't see why we cannot keep them and develop around it." I totally agree - and what are these small businesses being turfed out for? A large retail unit!!! Why for god's sake? There are plenty of empty large retail units in the town already we don't need another one. davsee
  • Score: 1

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