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Town businesses react to Kidderminster regeneration plans
BUSINESS owners in Kidderminster asked “what about us?” as developers showed off plans to breathe new life into the Bull Ring and expand Weavers Wharf.
Reaction was mixed as owners viewed Wyre Forest District Council and Henderson Global Investors’ plans to knock down Crown House, develop a public square at the Bull Ring and provide a new retail unit and cafes to Weavers Wharf.
Many, however, were still fuming just days after discovering Lower Mill Street businesses could be flattened as part of the scheme, which could create 300 jobs.
Plans for Crown House and the Bull Ring received generally positive reaction but business owners from other parts of town said they felt ignored.
District town centres manager, Peter Michael, said the council was “well aware” of the concerns and rate relief and refurbishment grants had helped more than 20 independent Wyre Forest firms.
Tina Millward-Jones, owner of D’Nada Gift Shop, High Street, said: “It is an expansion of a site that does not need expanding. What about us?”
Russ Kelsall, owner of Cartridge World in Worcester Street, added: “It’s a cracking idea but the council really needs to do something with the rest of town.”
Mark Cruddas, from Henderson, said the company wanted to “work with” Lower Mill Street businesses but ward councillor Graham Ballinger, of Independent Community and Health Concern, said the firm had “got off on the wrong foot” with the owners.
Mr Michael added: “Kidderminster has to provide up-todate facilities for major brand retailers who would, otherwise, have no interest in the town.”
The plans sparked a similarly mixed debate on The Shuttle website.
vassenden commented: “Is it these shops that have been there for years and are a part of Kidderminster are not going to be smart enough for the new look [the council] want?”
stoke1 replied: “[Businesses should] Relocate and allow the area the redevelopment it sorely needs. Or am I wrong and that area of Kidderminster is a beautiful triumph of architecture and landscaping?”
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