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How £11m revamp will transform town

Dudley | News | Published:

Artists' impressions have emerged showing how multi-million pound plans will reshape Kidderminster town centre.

Delays in negotiations with property owners in Lower Mill Street are said to be holding up proposed development.

Councillors at Wyre Forest Council say they are considering using compulsory purchase orders to speed up the process.

The redevelopment is planned in conjunction with Henderson, the owners of Weavers Wharf, and is aimed at transforming that part of the town.

Plans for the regeneration of the Western Gateway into Kidderminster, include the demolition of Crown House.

Planning permissions for the proposals were granted last year.

The proposed redevelopment plans by Henderson would see £11 million invested into the town during the construction phase, creating 7,591 square metres of new retail floor space. But negotiations with property owners have not yet been successfully concluded and councillors will decide whether to accelerate the process by pursuing compulsory purchase if no significant progress is made by the end of September.

Tina Mantle, co-owner of Woolwise in Lower Mill Street, said: "According to our landlady a figure has been agreed but we haven't got any dates when we will be moving.

"We haven't been offered compensation and don't know what is going on. We have lost trade because of the uncertainty and were 60 per cent down last year and we will be seeking legal advice."

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Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for planning and regeneration said: "The council has made clear its commitment to transform Kidderminster town centre and we will deliver on that promise.

"We are already spending £2 million with Worcestershire County Council on improving the public realm to create a better visitor experience and will launch our Music Heritage Trail at the Kidderminster Arts Festival in 2016.

"We have been working in partnership with the owners of Weavers Wharf to transform the western access into the town which will offer a new public space where Crown House currently stands.

"We do understand that these plans affect some existing retailers and we will continue to work with them to resolve their issues. We must inject more pace into this process.

"This may prompt the council to use its powers to assemble the necessary land and we are prepared to do that, but we really do hope that the landowners will reach agreement with Henderson over the sale of their land before we need to step in."

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