A REVAMP of Worcester’s High Street and improvements to a congested roundabout have got the financial backing of the city council, despite protests.
Councillors have agreed to set aside up to £50,000 for the work that will see the patchy, worn-out resin on the main thoroughfare between The Cross and Pump Street replaced with a new surface. Conservative cabinet members have also agreed to put £100,000 towards the project to improve traffic flow at Whittington roundabout and subsequently on the A4440 southern link road. That is despite objections from Councillor Roger Berry, Labour, who questioned why the city council was helping to fund projects that are ultimately the responsibility of the county council.
He said he would have preferred the money to be put towards providing more affordable housing in Worcester. Councillor Simon Geraghty, leader of the council, said: “I’m sure the people of Worcester will be interested in those comments and I don’t think they will agree with you.” Councillor Marc Bayliss, cabinet member for economic prosperity, said if the city council did not work in partnership with others these projects were unlikely to get off the ground.
With reference to the roundabout improvements Coun Bayliss said by carrying out work like that will help bring about large-scale developments in the future which will ultimately have to incorporate 40 per cent affordable housing.
Coun Geraghty said: “If we are going to persuade people this city can grow sustainably then we have got to tackle the barriers to growth and the congestion on the southern link road that is damaging the city centre.”
We previously reported how the Whittington roundabout improvements, including the introduction of a slip lane on to and off Crookbarrow Way, will cost about £1.7 million with the majority of funds coming from the county council. The work will take place in the summer.
Meanwhile, the High Street surface works will take place over five nights in April. The city council has also agreed to add a further £50,000 for an £8.4 million project to secure superfast broadband across Worcestershire.