A MAJOR £4.5million revamp of Worcester’s historic Victorian railway arches has moved a step closer with the submission of a planning application to city council chiefs.
The creation of The Arches – Worcester has reached its latest milestone after designers KKE Architects unveiled their plans for the site on behalf of the University of Worcester.
If approved by Worcester City Council’s planning committee, the proposals will see six railway arches located between Foregate Street station and the Hive converted in to studios and offices for local artists and creative businesses.
KKE’s designs also include a proposal to create a ‘performance’ arch where a variety of musicians, actors and artists could stage informal performances and exhibitions.
A number of arches in the area have already been successfully converted and are now home to small businesses such as the Method Roastery, the Burger Shop and The Arch Rivals pub.
“Real craftsmanship and pride went in to building Worcester’s Victorian railway arches and the proposals will completely preserve their unique character including the original exposed brickwork, which has such visual appeal,” said Coun Adrian Gregson, chair of Worcester’s Cultural Development Steering Group.
Earlier this year the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded £3million from the Cultural Development Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England, to The Arches-Worcester in a bid led by Worcester City Council.
Peter Knott, area director for Arts Council England, said: “This is an exciting and transformative time for Worcester, as the Cultural Development fund helps to build on the creativity that’s at the centre of the city’s future development and we are proud to support the city as The Arches project gets underway.
“We look forward to seeing this project bring people together as a community, create business partnerships and instil civic pride, with an array of festivals and opportunities to celebrate Worcester’s rich history and creative future.”
The application is expected to be considered by Worcester City Council’s planning committee next month and work could get under way in the spring should the project receive the green light.