PICTURES: Full steam ahead with Worcester’s emerging Cathedral Square

These images show the latest progress at Worcester’s £1.9 million emerging Cathedral Square – with council chiefs saying the transformation is on track.

After weeks of engineering the new highways layout has started to bed in and focus will now switch to a massive resurfacing effort.

Worcestershire County Council, which is part-funding the big revamp, says workers are also currently trying to install new water points and ironworks as the project gathers pace.

Your Worcester News can reveal how in the coming weeks a massive hoarding will soon go up around the front of the Cathedral Plaza to create room for an internal compound so workers can re-clad the building as part of the scheme.

The hoarding is also expected to feature some sort of art work showing passers-by what the shopping centre, owned by investors Salmon Harvester, will look like once the covers are taken away.

It comes as the county council’s deputy leader admits the plaza is looking “tired” and is long overdue the overhaul.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, who is also cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, has defended the relatively tight size of the emerging open square by saying traffic must flow freely past the Cathedral.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of having this open space for a long time and it’s really good to see the highways element taking shape,” he said.

“It’s very much linked with an emerging Cathedral Plaza with new bars, restaurants and shops.

“That’s overdue because I think most members of the public see it as a rather ugly building now, but once complete most people will see a significant improvement.”

He added: “There will be hoarding put up at the site to create a compound for the plaza and it will be there for quite some time, with some suitably attractive pictures showing people how it will look for what will be a new ‘foodie quarter’.

“It”s a great setting right in front of the Cathedral – Pizza Express and Zizzi’s have tried it and seen that it works for them.”

He also said the new roads layout was “a compromise” based on the need to still allow traffic both ways.

“The highways element can only be reduced so far and what we’ve got is the minimum space needed for that,” he said.

“It’s been a difficult balance but with Worcester’s traffic what we didn’t want to do is stop cars from using it or do something which makes it worse.”

The entire scheme is due for completion in early 2017, with the shopping centre featuring seven new restaurants overlooking the public space, a gym and remodelled shop units.

Bryon Hamburgers, Ask, steakhouse Miller and Carter and casual dining chain Cosy Club are among the early confirmed new tenants.