PLANS for the regeneration of Bridge Street in Stourport have moved a step closer with the serving of a notice for the compulsory purchase of Lloyd's Garage - the first stage in the delivery of the connection between Bridge Street and the basins area.

Together with its partners, Advantage West Midlands (the regional development agency) and British Waterways, Wyre Forest District Council is aiming to make the most of the opportunity presented by the Bridge Street scheme to create for Stourport a firm basis from which to attract jobs, investment and tourism, building on the success of the £3 million Heritage Lottery-funded basins restoration scheme.

The district council's cabinet member for planning, regeneration and prosperity, Conservative councillor, Stephen Clee, said: "The regeneration of this part of Stourport and the link to the basins is vital to the local economy of the area.

"The Lloyd's Garage site is required for this scheme to take place. Compulsory purchase is not a step we take lightly but we have decided to serve the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to assist in moving the project forward.

"We have made approaches to and commenced discussion with the owner of the site and are still hopeful of reaching agreement to purchase without having to rely on the CPO process."

Advantage West Midlands' development director, Stuart Buckley, said: "The basins are a key economic driver for the town and this scheme will be a key component in the town's regeneration through the creation of a physical link between the basins and the town centre by way of a new mixed use development.

"This will provide new employment opportunities and increase visitor numbers which will, in turn, support new and existing businesses."

Jon Oakes, business development manager for British waterways said: "British Waterways welcomes the prospect of seeing the outcomes from the hard work of the last three years, with the basins being made more accessible to the wider community.

"So the proposals to develop the gateway through to Bridge Street are good news."