Bold vision revealed for former porcelain site

By Rob George Thursday 01 November 2012 Updated: 08/11 11:01

AN HISTORIC part of the city could be transformed into a thriving arts quarter as part of an ambitious £10million project.

The bulk of the former Royal Worcester Porcelain works on Severn Street could be redeveloped into what has been described as the city's answer to London's Covent Garden.

The bold vision is the brainchild of Colin Kinnear, of the Bransford Trust, which has bought the site and wants to breathe new life into the area.

Plans are being drawn up by KKE Architects in Diglis who hope to uncover much of the site's Victorian artwork as part of any redevelopment.

Mr Kinnear hopes the transformation will attract talented artists and crafts people to showcase their work, as well as independent businesses including cafés and bakeries.

Large public open spaces could also be included in the quarter where people can take a break, grab a bite to eat and relax in the historic surroundings.

Vincent Kirk, from KKE Architects, told the Standard a feasibility study was currently being carried out to assess whether the vision could become a reality.

"It's the single most exciting project I have been involved with and it's going to make more of a difference to Worcester than anyone realises," he said.

"It's a true urban regeneration and will make such a difference not only to the area but to the city centre as a whole. Colin's vision is not just another shopping centre or precinct but a whole new environment for Worcester.

"But we cannot do it on our own, we want people to get involved with the project and for them to say 'I could run an independent business' there. We want to inspire people as well as regenerate the area."

Mike Ashton, chief executive of Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The plans for the redevelopment of the former Worcester Porcelain site to become an arts quarter are ambitious but we have seen from projects like The Hive that they are achievable in Worcester."

KKE's feasibility study is due to be concluded on December 18 and if successful initial plans for the site could be displayed to the public before Christmas or early in the new year.

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