Underneath the arches …. Worcester’s redevelopment of Victorian railway space completes

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The recent redevelopment of Worcester’s Victorian railway arches has officially reached completion.

The city centre landmark has seen four arches converted into studios and workspaces for local artists and creative businesses, with a fifth to be used as a performance space.

The project, which has been delivered by the Worcester Cultural Partnership, has been made possible after The Arches – Worcester initiative was awarded more than £3 million in funding from the Cultural Development Fund, administered by Arts Council England.

The partnership is made up of Worcester City Council, the University of Worcester, Severn Arts, The Arch Company and Worcestershire County Council and alongside the arches redevelopment, involves a number of public realm redevelopment projects and a programme of festivals.

Shane Flynn, Chair of The Arches – Worcester Board, said: “The Arches – Worcester is all about creating a new cultural hub and destination for the city. These refurbished arches will provide much-needed creative and performances spaces, bringing life and vibrancy to an area that was previously neglected and overlooked.

The Arches_Worcester-20“We’re delighted with the look and feel of the new buildings which should be ideal for the purpose.”

The project was made more challenging by the live railway track that runs across the top of the arches, as well as public access requirements, however the scheme has been perceived as a resounding success after being formally handed over in February.

The refurbishment project was carried out by Malvern-based contractor, Speller Metcalfe, who have made their mark on many of Worcester’s developments over the years, including The Michael Baker Boathouse for King’s School which overlooks the river, and the new plaza development at Cathedral Square.

Joint managing director, Andy Metcalfe, said: “As a Worcestershire contractor, many of the team who worked on the scheme are from Worcester and the surrounding areas, so it has truly been a ‘local’ project in every sense of the word, and we are delighted to be part of a project that has helped support the reinvigoration of a historic Worcester landmark.

Following the open days this month, interest in leasing spaces has drawn significant interest from a range of local artists and businesses.