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Plans to rip down 'mouldy eyesore'
9:01am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
THE relocation of Kidderminster’s post office into the town’s WH Smith store will pave the way for the demolition of a “mouldy eyesore" to spruce up the town centre, it has been claimed.
Once the branch has been moved to its new Vicar Street location, the Crown House building will be knocked down under plans unveiled by Wyre Forest District Council and investment firm Henderson Global Investors to breathe new life into the Bull Ring.
The ambitious transformation will include a new public square with street furniture, seating and shortstay parking as well as retail opportunities.
The River Stour would also be opened up for markets, fetes and other events, flanked by new restaurants and cafes.
Conservative councillor John Campion, district council leader, said he would make it his “personal priority” to pull down Crown House at the earliest opportunity.
“I believe Crown House is symbolic of what is wrong with Kidderminster town centre and has no part in its future,” he said. “We are working with developers to ensure the building will be pulled down and the regeneration of the town continues. We need bright, quality shops and public spaces, not a mould-covered eyesore.”
He added: “I support the town’s Post Office being relocated to WH Smith, as not only will it help us to completely vacate Crown House and bring its demolition closer but will also support one of the major retailers in Vicar Street and ensure its longer term presence in the town.”
Post Office bosses want to create a modern open-plan branch open seven days a week but some fear the proposed move could be a step in the wrong direction for Kidderminster.
Independent councillor Helen Dyke, member champion for town centres at the district council, said: “Of course I am pleased we will still have a Post Office in our town centre but am concerned at the logistics of how service to the customer will be managed in a much smaller space especially at busy times of the year like Christmas.”
Dave Jones, branch secretary of the Communication Workers Union, described the plans as a “dark cloud” for Kidderminster.
Roger Gale, Crown Network general manager, said: “We are committed to keeping a post office branch in Kidderminster and to maintaining the same levels of service for our customers.”
A six-week consultation on the move will run until Monday, November 25, while a customer forum will be held at the town hall next Thursday at 5.30pm.
An exhibition will also be held next Friday between 10am and 8pm at the former Sony Centre in Weavers Wharf to introduce the regeneration plans . A planning application will be submitted by the end of the year with work set to start next year.
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