New-look Cathedral Square will “transform” Worcester, says county council leader

THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has hailed the multi-million pound revamp of Cathedral Square – saying it will “transform” the landscape.

Councillor Adrian Hardman has spoken of his delight about the ongoing work at Worcester’s best known-island, praising developer Salmon Harvester.

The project, first revealed by your Worcester News last year, will result in the Cathedral roundabout shrinking in size to create a giant piazza-style open space for people to relax in.

Councillor Hardman said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring forward the Cathedral Square project.

“I think it will be of great benefit to the city of Worcester and will transform what was a rather bleak realm, in many ways, into a usable space.

“I’d like to thank Salmon Harvester for getting this work underway on the ground.”

Speaking during a cabinet meeting, he was backed up Councillor Marc Bayliss, the cabinet member for transformation and commissioning, who called it “iconic”.

“The Cathedral is one of the iconic images of this county – it’s synonymous with Worcestershire,” he said.

Under the deal the whole area, including the shopping plaza, will be called Cathedral Square once the project is finished, featuring an array of restaurants in newly-refurbished units.

The work, due for completion by the summer of 2016, is being funded with around £1.9 million of county council money, backed up by contributions from the city council and Salmon Harvester.

Bosses at County Hall now estimate it will support around 416 jobs, including new staff inside the Cathedral shops and restaurants and the knock-on of supply jobs elsewhere.

The endorsement of the progress so far comes as the county council says its budget for 2015/16 remains on track.

A new report for the Tory cabinet, which mentioned the Cathedral project, says the £27.2 million savings target is firmly expected to be met.

It means that since 2010/11, a record £125 million will have been slashed from spending due to reduced Government funding and demographic pressures.

The budget for 2015/16 is £326 million, with the report saying more than “£1 million per day” is still spent on services once outside funding is added in.

Councillor Hardman said: “It’s very early days in the 2015/16 forecast, this is only two months into it and it’s probably too early to run projections, but it looks like we’re pretty much on track.”