AN AMBITIOUS plan which could create 25,000 new jobs in Worcestershire and generate £2.9 billion of cash has taken a step forwards.

The latest version of the Worcestershire Strategic Economic Plan was presented at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s Labour-run cabinet on Tuesday, April 16, where deputy leader Cllr Geoff Williams said he was pleased by how much progress had been made.

“Worcester City is at the heart of this plan,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to help promote the growth of the county and Worcester in particular.”

The plan involves a range of ambitious proposals which it is hoped can be implemented over the next 10 years, including a £50 million bid to dual the city’s notorious Carrington Bridge, create a new pedestrian bridge over the river Severn from Gheluvelt Park to Kepax Country Park and improvements to the Cotswold line so train journeys from Worcester to London take less than two hours by 2016.

The 211-page document – which has been created by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership – also includes funding to build the long-awaited Worcester Parkway station in Norton as well as £4 million towards flood protection, broadband coverage and water supplies.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting council leader Cllr Adrian Gregson said he hoped the scheme would improve conditions across Worcester and the whole county.

“Clearly there are issues in Worcester city where there are some issues of deprivation,” he said.

“We can’t operation in isolation any more.

“This is the future of Worcestershire we need.”

The document revealed productivity and average annual earnings in Worcestershire are below the national average and the amount of people in the county qualified to NVQ level four or above is slightly below the national average.

It was also found the city lacks a low amount of available commercial floor space – possibly restricting opportunities for new businesses to move into Worcester – but residents have better-than-average access to cultural amenities.

The plan has been submitted to the government for assessment and it is hoped it can be put into place in April next year.

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