Despite the gloomy news on the economy which we are still seeing in the Press and talk of a sluggish recovery, when looking around the Wyre Forest area, there are now clear signs of better economic prosperity.

A recent debate on the state of the area hosted by Wyre Forest District Council did show that with the amount of new commercial and residential development taking place in the area, there is now considerable investment taking place in the district.

This must be the beginning of a new era for the area. From being a one industry town, which provided secure local employment for many years, the carpet industry is no longer be regarded as the main employer for the district, and we desperately need new industry to sustain the local economy and provide jobs.

Fortunately, as old carpet factories have been redeveloped there is now no shortage of land for both residential and commercial development. The former Sugar Beet factory of approximately seventy acres is an exciting opportunity for attracting industry.

The debate included a panel of experts, including the local MP Mark Garnier, who explained the wider proposals for the area including, improving transport links to both the national motorway system, and the effect that the HS2 Rail Link and proposed expansion of Birmingham Airport will also help this area.

There is, however, no quick fix for the retail sector and it likely that economic recovery to commerce and industry will have to come first, before there is any dramatic improvement in retailing. Increased demand will have to be proved to encourage larger retailers to the Town and it is hoped that Town Centre living accommodation will help revive the Town Centre.

One only needs to think back 40 years when the centre was a vibrant area, with much accommodation above shops being occupied either by staff who worked in the Town Centre, or those employed in local industry. There are many proposals for such accommodation to be provided, both for families and the retired.

Once this accommodation has been occupied, it should then attract new retailers and for Kidderminster to have a Town Centre where major retailers are once again being attracted to the Town.

Through our offices we are finding that there is now a steady demand for industrial property, and it is interesting to see that the demand for small starter units on Hoo Farm Industrial Estate is also on the increase.

The importance of the Kidderminster College and the Academy in helping to educate and helping young people into the workplace, is an important part of the recovery.

With the wide range of training facilities, young people have the opportunity to get life skills, which will help them to be more attractive to new employers.

JOHN ANDREWS, Doolittle & Dalley