A HUGE multi-million-pound regeneration of the city’s Shrub Hill area including hundreds of new apartments, shops, a hotel and a new footbridge looks finally set to get off the ground after years of delays and negotiations.

The major plan by Sherriff’s Gate Limited already has approval for a number of significant improvements to the east of the city centre.

The planning application was submitted in March 2012 but was not approved until December 2018 after long negotiations between the developer and Worcester City Council.

A separate application for several changes to the original planning permission – which included the layout and appearance of the buildings and the order in which the regeneration would be made – was backed by the council’s planning committee at the end of last year.

The changes meant the developer could alter the application slightly to allow more flats to be built first so that time-sensitive government grant money can be secured.

Now, a minor but separate application, which includes changes to developer contributions and other legal detail, will now be debated by councillors on Thursday (February 20). It had been due to be discussed in conjunction with the major changes to the site in December last year but was later pulled from the planning agenda.

The developer put forward a number of changes to the order of the four-phase development, all of which have been recommended for approval, 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 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.

Updates by the developer in October 2016 said it was still negotiating with the government and third-party housing providers but hoped to start in early 2017.

The original hope for the grand scheme, which was expected to take at least four years, would have been completed last year. Early plans showed more than 600 homes alongside an 80-bed elderly care village, cinema, bowling alley, ice skating rink, retail, restaurants, a 96-bed hotel, gym, 1,000 parking spaces, offices and more.

The planning committee meets from 1.30pm in the Guildhall.

Shrub Hill was included as one of the major areas for regeneration in the Worcester City Centre Masterplan which sets out a vision for how the city will look by 2040.