A DEVELOPER behind the city's biggest ever regeneration scheme says the project is finally "ready to go" after years of delays.

The huge and much-needed regeneration of the Sherriff Street Industrial Estate in Worcester’s Shrub Hill area was given another green light by Worcester City Council planners on Thursday (February 20) with the plan already years behind schedule.

Developer Sherriff Gate Ltd said demolition would start within the next three to four months, after receiving fresh planning permission by the council, with work then expected to take two-and-a-half-years to complete.

Stennard Harrison from developer Sherriff Gate Ltd eased concerns and said he was “ready to go” after changes to the plan were approved.

Mr Harrison said: “This scheme has evolved over the years. We have now got all the planning permission approved and we are ready to go.

“Worcester has never seen anything quite like this plan in one go. It is the start of a regeneration of this side of the city in the Shrub Hill area.”

The multi-million-pound plan includes hundreds of new apartments, shops, a hotel and a new footbridge to Worcester Shrub Hill railway station.

Plans were first put forward in March 2012 but were not approved until December 2018 after long negotiations between the developer and the city council.

Cllr Lynn Denham, who represents Cathedral ward where the development would take place, called for “actual progress” for the area of the city which desperately needed regenerating.

“The lengthy wrangling that has taken place between the developer and city council planning officers has not really been in the best interests of the city,” she said.

“I think it is important that some progress is actually made which is what is best for local communities.”

Cllr Chris Mitchell, chairman of the planning committee, said: “We have been trying to get this site redeveloped for a number of years and I think we are getting closer.

“Whilst, obviously, like any development there are going to be adverse elements to it that some people don’t like, overall, it would be a significant improvement on what is there at the moment,” he told the planning committee at a meeting at the Guildhall on Thursday (February 20).

The developer had put forward a number of changes to the order of the four-phase development, all of which were approved, including building 212 flats and a small shop in the first phase and a 675-space car park, 180 flats and a shop as well as the restoration of the Locke building in the second phase.

The third phase would consist of building 76 flats, shops and a new building for a hotel or a different leisure use.

The fourth and final phase would see a footbridge built between the site and Worcester Shrub Hill railway station.

The ‘hybrid’ planning application put forward in 2012 and approved last December showed the multi-storey car park would have been built first as well as 135 homes and a shop followed by a hotel and the footbridge in the second phase. More homes would have followed in the third phase.

The original hope for the grand scheme, which was expected to take at least four years, meant it would have been completed last year.

Cllr Roger Berry expressed some concerns and wished for a guarantee that work would get off the ground after seeing similarly huge and aspirational plans fail to materialise despite getting planning permission.

He said: “It’s a major bit of city centre redevelopment. It’s something we desperately need to replace certainly some of the existing

“The problem I’ve got is that I remember approving an excellent scheme in Diglis and we didn’t actually ever get that. My concern is how do we make sure we get all the things that are on offer here?

“Clearly hotels seem to come and go. All sorts of things are put in here, it is a comprehensive development which is what we want, but how does one make sure that we get that rather than people choosing the attractive options that often confront developers?”