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In just under 18 months the existing centre, which has been blighted by vacant shop units, will be transformed into a significantly improved retail and leisure destination, now known as Cathedral Square. It will include eight new restaurants, a reconfigured Travelodge hotel, additional retail space, gym, coffee shop and new public square. The new scheme is expected to create over 100 jobs, plus a significant number of construction jobs.

SHOF has appointed local contractor Speller Metcalfe to commence work on the £20 million redevelopment. Initial works include ‘soft demolition’, which means removing existing materials, interior units and disconnecting or diverting services, before the main demolition works start in January. Speller Metcalfe is also constructing the centre’s new Management Suite, where staff will access services such as CCTV and alarm controls.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure comments, “With work recently completed on the new Cathedral Square road layout it’s exciting that we’re now embarking on the next phase of this important project to revitalise the southern end of High Street. Cathedral Square will be good news for Worcester’s residents, visitors and businesses.”

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Worcester City Council Cabinet member for Economic Prosperity, City Centre and Riverside Enhancement adds, “The new look Cathedral Square will bring a big boost to our city centre economy, bringing in new business, creating great jobs and helping our vibrant city to attract more visitors and shoppers.”

SHOF has already signed up several new restaurants including Byron Hamburgers, Cosy Club, Ask and Miller & Carter. Several of the other available units are currently under offer.

Existing tenants such as Pizza Express, Travelodge & H&M, will continue to trade from the scheme with minimum disruption to shoppers.

The public square is being jointly funded with Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council. It will provide a new space for public events and for residents, visitors and shoppers to dine and relax, overlooking Worcester Cathedral. 

Nick Webb, Asset Manager at Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund said, “We are proud to be investing £20 million into Worcester and believe that there is a demand for an improved and expanded retail and leisure offer within the city.  The fact that we have already attracted some great operators and have the full backing of both the City and County Council is a fantastic endorsement of this vision.”

Des O’Neill, Managing Director of Speller Metcalfe adds, “This truly is going to be a fantastic project for Worcester and Speller Metcalfe is delighted to finally start preparation works. Worcester residents and visitors may have seen the hoarding going up this week and up until the New Year, we will mostly be undertaking internal works within the centre.”

The hoardings feature lively and colorful festive images to encourage people to come in to Worcester this Christmas. The artwork has been jointly organised by Worcester City Council, the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council’s Archaeology and Archive Service. It will be regularly refreshed throughout the construction period.

In addition to permanent jobs, the construction phase will also create local and regional employment opportunities. Speller Metcalfe has its own apprentice academy – the Worcestershire Construction Apprentice Academy (WCAA) – that it plans to involve in the project. This academy brings together employers and apprentices in Worcestershire and is a registered, independent charity funded by Speller Metcalfe and run in partnership with the Heart of Worcestershire College.

Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund is advised by DMR, Hartnell Taylor Cook and Johnson Fellows.

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