University To Breathe New Life into Former Fruit and Vegetable Market Site
Friday, 15 January 2010
The University of Worcester is to breathe new life into one of the City’s most notorious derelict sites.
The University has announced today that it has bought the former fruit and vegetable market in Hylton Road. The site has been derelict for many years and has been owned by a succession of property companies.
The University will now seek planning permission to develop a new indoor sports and multi-purpose arena and active leisure centre on the site. This will prove invaluable for the University’s students and the Worcester community alike.
The University is also in the final stages of acquiring the site of the neighbouring former car showroom and 110 place car park. It plans to turn the former showroom into teaching facilities which will complement the new indoor arena. The car park, located just metres from the Sabrina Bridge, will make a valuable contribution to reducing the pressure on on-street car parking.
Professor David Green, University of Worcester Vice Chancellor, said: “We are delighted that, at last, we have been able to purchase the former fruit and vegetable market site at an affordable price. We have long hoped to be able to develop a major indoor sports and multi-purpose arena within walking distance of the University’s other facilities. This is just ideal.
“The fact that we will be able to put the immediately adjacent redundant car showroom into productive use quickly is a real bonus. It comes with a large car park which will be very useful. This important site, which fronts directly onto the River Severn has been a derelict eyesore for many years. Our aim is to transform this site to enhance the City landscape, and provide excellent facilities for our students and the community.”
Mick Donovan, Head of the University’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, added: “The University’s acclaimed Learning through Sport programme and many other community initiatives continue to expand and we are continually working with various sports to develop opportunities for participants of all ages. With the introduction of the new arena, we will be able to meet the needs of the regions sporting community whilst also providing a venue that will attract a great range of spectator events to the city.”
The University recently secured the largest award of funded new student numbers for any University in England and needs new facilities for its existing as well as growing student body.
Building work funded by the University is continuing at the former Worcester Royal Infirmary site in Castle Street. The fully refurbished historic buildings will open in September 2010 as a vibrant new home for the University’s Worcester Business School as well as a well-being centre and facilities for part-time mature students on a wide variety of continuing professional development courses. The University also hopes to develop a medical history and discovery centre in partnership with the George Marshall Medical Museum in the former Worcester Royal Infirmary building, where the BMA was founded.
Masterplanners are also working on plans to create a University science, environment and enterprise park at the Grove Farm site on the edge of Worcester which the University acquired for long term development a year ago.
The University, which is consistently in financial surplus, currently injects well over £200 million a year into the regional economy. These developments will increase this further.
Professor Green said: “The University is creating something very special for the 21st century. We are enhancing the facilities we are able to offer our students, while creating many new high quality job opportunities and a wealth of business for the region. We are investing judiciously and sustainably in ways which will transform Worcester and the region as well as the University.”