Improvements to Worcester Street will deliver against the aims of both Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and Wyre Forest District Council (WFDC).
This proposed public realm scheme has significant potential to support regeneration and economic activity by delivering better access into and through Kidderminster Town Centre for pedestrians and vehicles.
This can be achieved by providing new facilities and cosmetic upgrades to improve the overall appearance of the street. Enhancing Worcester Street will make access easier for all, increase pedestrian footfall and make the area more attractive to businesses and investment.
There is also an aspiration for increased residential land use in the eastern town centre, so improvements to the public realm and accessibility will be of benefit to this in the future.
The improvements to walking and cycling facilities will make the area easier to use for people in a way that promotes fitness, and could also reduce the overall need for vehicular transport, which could improve air quality across the urban area.
The proposed scheme comprises of
- The creation of a new one-way northbound route along Worcester Street. The reconstruction of Worcester Street will provide a kerbed, one-way northbound route for all vehicles. This will include a number of parking and loading bays and the provision of a contraflow cycle lane to enhance accessibility to and through Kidderminster Town Centre; and
- Enhancing the street in the vicinity of the junctions of High Street, Worcester Street, Blackwell Street and Coventry Street by:
- Creating one central set of steps to replace the existing steps to provide more visibility and greater accessibility with handrails to both sides and to the middle. The steps will include tactile pavers at the top and base;
- Removing the unattractive brick planters which are no longer in use. This will include improving the area with new seating, bus shelters and modern lighting. A new retaining wall will also be constructed beyond the central stairs to extend the public space at the higher level, as well as moving the carriageway kerb edge;
- Using post and railing (type to be agreed) to create a decorative feature, to protect pedestrians and to create additional handrail support along the length of the raised sections of wall, improving accessibility;
- Realigning a retaining wall to create an additional public realm space to the lower level shop fronts, whilst retaining a higher level pedestrian route;
- Building a new retaining wall which will extend along Coventry Street to a point just beyond the proposed controlled pedestrian crossing;
- Creating a widened public area with seating opposite the shop fronts, with trees to provide a visual feature;
- Creating a new drop kerb crossing at the higher level footpath to provide an alternative pedestrian link to the bus stop alongside the Swan Centre;
- The existing bus stop in its current location is to be removed and replaced elsewhere as part of a wider change to the transport infrastructure of the town centre.