Author Topic: Diglis Public Realm Project  (Read 2673 times)

Cllr Lynn Denham

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Diglis Public Realm Project
« on: April 16, 2014, 01:50:57 PM »
I am pleased to announce that last night Worcester City Council Cabinet agreed unanimously to invest ?912,000 into the Diglis Public Realm Project!!

This is a huge investment in both Diglis Fields, the Nature Reserve and the riverside.  We know that these green spaces are important to the health and wellbeing of our City and many local residents, workers and visitors.  The proposals are based on all the feedback from the consultation events and the Friends of Diglis Fields.  Thank you to all those who took part.  I think there will be something for everyone to enjoy in the proposed plans.

Dave Barrett and colleagues from Worcester and District Model Engineers came along to the public participation part of Cabinet and stayed to hear the discussion and decision.  Thank you for speaking up in support of the plans and the project.  Your time and support was much appreciated.   

The funding has been received from developers in the area under Section 106 Planning obligations.  It is linked to a number of different sites - Albion Mill, Portland Walk/Royal Worcester Porcelain, Diglis Basin, Diglis Road and 40-48 Lowesmoor.  Half the money has already been received by the Council and the rest will be paid as the remaining homes are built and occupied.  Some of the money goes back as far as 2004 and needs to be spent before 25.02.15 or it would be returned to the developers.

Exciting times ahead!

Cabinet Member for Community Engagement
Cathedral Ward Councillor


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Re: Diglis Public Realm Project
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 02:35:05 PM »
That's great news Lynn and thanks to you for all the work you have put in helping us to apply and receive the money for the Diglis fields, the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve and the general Diglis area this website was set up for. All of us who are Friends of Diglis Fields would have had a harder time without your help.

I do hope they have listened to our concerns about in line parking bays along Waverley street and Diglis lane, cutting into the Diglis Fields and the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve.  At a recent meeting with the Friends of Diglis Fields and the steering committee held at the Guildhall and as the founder member of the 'Friends of Diglis Fields', I put forward, as an alternative, of using the now empty 'Elliots' plot formerly used to store units adjacent to the fields between the Diglis Fields and the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve.

This would be a far better area for car parking, and we were informed that the Worcester City Council owned a big part of that area and that it could be done.  They indicated they would consult the residents, people who work in Diglis and the miniature railway people in the coming weeks.

Would you be kind enough to support this alternative and save our grass verge from being tarmacked over please?


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Re: Diglis Public Realm Project
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2014, 12:45:26 PM »
Report to: Cabinet, 15th April 2014
Report of: Cabinet Member for Cleaner and Greener City
1 Purpose of Report
1.1 To advise Cabinet of the progress made to date.
1.2 To request that Cabinet approve of the proposals for enhancement of the public
realm and the continued development of the project as detailed within this report.
2 Background
2.1 The Diglis area is an historic part of the City, that is becoming increasingly important
due to recent and future residential development, and the enhancement and
promotion of the linear riverside park as an amenity and as a green transport link.
2.2 The Canal opened in 1815 followed by the river locks in the 1840s when the area
was home to clay and gravel pits and a brickworks. The 1928 map shows a saw mill
and recreation ground, with an Oil storage depot appearing in the 1940s. The model
railway, today operated by the Worcester and District model engineers first appeared
in the 1964 maps.
2.3 In the latter part of the 20th Century the area was characterised by industrial
estates, the southern parts of which remain whilst the northern sections are the site
of recent and ongoing residential developments.
2.4 Currently the major public open space consists of Diglis playing fields, a large and
relatively featureless open space, and the Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve. This links
with a section of the Worcester Bridge to Diglis Bridge loop adjacent to the Diglis
River lock.
2.5 The City Council has entered into five s106 agreements relating to developments in
the area, as listed at Appendix 1. The County Council is also party to these
agreements, with highways, transport and education contributions payable. County
Council managed contributions are not covered within this report.
2.6 S106 agreements are the commonly used term for Planning obligations under
Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). They a
mechanism which make a development proposal acceptable in planning terms, that
would not otherwise be acceptable. They are focused on site specific mitigation of
the impact of development and commonly relate to provision for open space and
works to the highway network.
2.7 The total sum payable to the City Council is ?912k, of which ?457k has been
received. The remainder is expected to be paid to the City Council in a number of
phases over the next 7 years, subject to completion, sale and/or occupation of the
remainder of the developments to which they relate.
 2.8 Whilst the individual agreements vary, the funding can be categorised under a broad
heading of improvements to public open space under which the Council has
discretion to fund works within the terms of the agreements. There is a total of
?150k allocated for public art, which can include both commissioned pieces and
artistic design of open space.
2.9 To date ?85k has been spent on footpath improvements, play area improvements,
and landscape design.
2.10 It should be noted that it may be appropriate to allocate some of the ?912k to
projects outside the scope of this report. If this is the case, these will be relatively
small sums, will fall within existing delegations, and will not detract from the Diglis
public realm project.
2.11 Given the level of expenditure, and the complexities of phasing of receipt and expiry
dates for the funding, there is a requirement for a coordinated approach to deliver
improvements to the public realm within the qualifying areas.
2.12 Officers have formed a multi-disciplinary project team, which reports to the Strategic
Programme Board. This team has carried out the scoping and consultation work
detailed within the main body of this report.
3 Progress to date
3.1 The project team firstly produced a range of maps and plans to illustrate the
historical, locational and cultural context of the Diglis area, focussed on the Diglis
Playing Fields, Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve and the adjacent river side. Appendix
4 shows the location with relation to the wider riverside linear park, and the linkages
to other amenities such as the City?s premier parks and the City Centre.
3.2 Concept drawings were produced to inspire people and generate conversations over
what could and should be achieved with the section 106 fund. This was to broaden
discussion and seek to encourage comments on all aspects rather than one particular
3.3 These drawings were shared with local Councillors and representatives from the
Friends of Diglis Fields Group at a meeting on 23rd July 2013. The drawings were
amended taking into account feedback from the meeting and a questionnaire was
designed for a programme of public consultation.
3.4 An outline of the consultation is detailed at Appendix 2. One hundred and fourteen
responses were received from face to face events and online, and the summary of
consultation feedback is produced at Appendix 3.
3.5 This feedback was used to develop an outline proposal which is shown as the
Indicative layout drawing at Appendix 4.
3.6 The main features of the proposal are as follows
3.7 Enhance and improve riverside areas. The majority of the riverside areas are on land
owned by the charitable Canal and River Trust (CRT). Officers are working closely
with colleagues at CRT and Worcestershire County Council to develop a scheme that
will improve segregation and safety for walkers and cyclists and develop what is a
rather run down area to provide an attractive riverside environment. Arrangements
for ongoing maintenance will be agreed before any investment in land not under the
control of the City Council. 3.8 Access points to Diglis playing fields. The playing fields are currently a long open
space with relatively few entrances. The intention is to provide a greater number of
formal entrances that will enhance accessibility and welcome people in to the park
and nature reserve. A desire for a new entrance in the North West corner of the
playing fields to benefit the new residential developments was highlighted during
3.9 Play areas. The original equipped play area was closed during 2013 due to
deterioration of equipment and surfacing. The initial intention was to develop and
finalise the plans for the wider project before investing in new play equipment.
Following feedback from the public consultation events, during which residents
articulated a strong desire to maintain provision of play equipment, an interim play
area has been installed. This can be updated, enhanced or moved as the project
progresses. Plans for a new equipped play area will be developed and consulted
upon, whilst the proposals also include for less structured ?natural play?
opportunities in other areas within the playing fields.
3.10 Playing fields. There are currently three football pitches on the playing fields that are
primarily used for Sunday morning football. These pitches are well used on Sundays,
although preclude the potential for a more visually interesting mowing and planting
plan. The proposals reduce the number of pitches to two, in order to allow for an
informal and flexible multi use space to the south of the fields adjacent to a new play
area, picnic area, and the model railway. Given that there are no changing or toilet
facilities at this location, in the longer term consideration may be given to relocating
adult football, to alternative sites with changing rooms, provided that they can
accommodate demand. Any such decision would only be made after close
consultation with the Football Association and local leagues.
3.11 Boundary fencing. The current chain link fencing is unattractive and unwelcoming,
and a new updated boundary treatment is envisaged. This is potentially a high cost
item and therefore a number of alternatives will be designed and priced, ranging
from classic bow topped fencing to a simple timber ?knee rail?.
3.12 Pathways. The proposals provide for new surfaced paths that will lead users across
the fields and be accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs and
mobility scooters in all weathers.
3.13 Outdoor gym. The outdoor gym equipment installed in Gheluvelt Park has been
extremely popular and well used, and it is proposed to provide a similar facility at
3.14 Model Engineers facilities. The Worcester and District Model Engineers
( ) lease land from the City Council
on which they operate a model railway. They run public open days monthly
throughout the summer months in addition to private operation of the railway at
other times. It is proposed to investigate the potential to fund improvements to the
small buildings and toilet block, which could be made available to other community
groups by agreement. The consultation feedback did not favour provision of an
openly accessible public toilet, but there was support for a community managed
 3.15 Nature Reserve. Feedback from the consultation was strongly in favour of a light
touch improvement to the nature reserve in the form of soft surfaced pathway
improvements to the Severn Way in particular, plus waymarking of circular routes
and enhanced interpretation information.
3.16 Picnic area and focal points. To provide an amenity and enhance visual interest a
number of focal points are proposed at key locations. These include a picnic area to
the south of the playing fields that will compliment the nearby play area and model
railway. Other locations will benefit from a combination of seating, interpretation
features and artwork. The existing feature to the north of the playing fields known
locally as ?The Henge? will become one of these focal point features.
3.17 Parking. Throughout the consultation existing parking issues in the area were raised
and there are concerns that any improvement to the area will bring increased traffic
and exacerbate current concerns. Whilst the project will be an opportunity to
promote walking and cycling, officers are currently working on a number of options
to provide additional parking provision. These include discussions with neighbouring
landowners with regard to parking on private roads, and the potential for formal
parking bays to replace the ?verge parking? that currently occurs along Diglis Road
and Waverley Street. The City Council owns land to the south of the industrial estate
which has recently been vacated by the tenant. This has the potential to be utilised
for car parking subject to negotiating the necessary easements across privately held
access roads and accepting the loss of rent. In order to ensure that any new parking
spaces are available to visitors some form of regulation will be required in the form
of limited stay and / or pay and display.
Development of options for parking is at an early stage and will be subject to further
public consultation.
3.18 An outline proposal drawing was considered on 4th March 2014 at a meeting
attended by the Cabinet Member for Cleaner & Greener City, City and County Ward
members, and representatives of the Friends of Diglis Fields. The meeting supported
the initial drawing and agreed on some minor amendments which have been
incorporated in to the indicative layout drawing at Appendix 5. The meeting agreed
that further work is required to identify and investigate parking opportunities.
3.19 Future Work.
Subject to the support of Cabinet, the following work programme will be undertaken
1. Establishment of parking opportunities.
2. Production of detailed final proposals and cost estimates for the outline proposals
at Appendix 5.
3. Development of a project plan to address phasing of works. This will ensure that
a) are affordable and give best value
b) fit with the phasing and receipt of payments
c) deliver benefits at the earliest opportunity
d) ensure that improvements are carried out in a logical and coherent order
to ensure best value.
3.20 It is intended that the project plan will be subject of a report to Cabinet in summer
2014. The first phase of works can then commence during 2014. These are likely to include
works to the riverside and nature reserve, along with new planting and landscaping
schemes. Further works will be subject to development of a detailed project plan, so
delivery dates are not available at this time, but it is envisaged that works will be
carried out over the period 2014 ? 18.
4 Equalities, Financial, Health and Safety, HR, Legal, Policy, and Risk
 Management Implications
4.1 Equalities Implications
Where practicable, access routes will be suitable for users with impaired mobility.
Consideration of accessibility of play equipment and interpretation features will be
integral to design of these items.
4.2 Financial Implications
Capital costs for delivery of works are provided by s106 funding. Ongoing revenue
costs will need to be carefully considered when agreeing the final specification, and
maintenance requirements will need to be covered within the relevant base budgets.
4.3 Health and Safety
No significant implications are associated with the content of this report.
4.4 Human Resources Implications
No significant implications are associated with the content of this report.
4.5 Legal Implications
The authority to agree spend of s106 funding is subject to the Council?s standing
orders. Service Managers on the officer s106 board, in consultation with relevant
Cabinet Members, routinely consult and agree on spend within individual?s existing
delegations. Given the value of the wider Diglis Public Realm project, agreement of
the outline project plan is considered a Key Decision.
4.6 Policy Implications
The Council?s Strategic Framework identifies making the most of the Riverside as a
4.7 Risk Management Implications
Failure to deliver appropriate spend within the terms of the s106 agreements could
result in the loss of this funding. The project management approach, and the
monitoring of this project through the Council?s Strategic Programme Board,
mitigates against this risk.
5 Comments of Cleaner and Greener City Service Manager
5.1 The opportunities for the public realm at Diglis and surrounding areas are significant.
This project provides an opportunity to deliver an enhanced environment and
experience for residents and visitors. It can link new and established residential
areas, and complete the upgrading of the Worcester Bridge to Diglis Bridge loop.
5.2 The improvements to be delivered in this area are not intended to create a high
footfall visitor destination, and should sympathetically enhance and compliment the
existing infrastructure.
 5.3 Access to the area, by car, bicycle and on foot, is an important aspect of this project
and will be developed further as the project progresses, including consideration of
increased parking provision.
5.4 Effective consultation has been an important feature of the development of this
project and will continue to be so.
1. That Cabinet approve the proposals developed for enhancement of the
 public realm at Diglis, specifically those detailed within section three and
 Appendix 5 of this report.
2. That Cabinet note that parking options are an important element of this
 project that require further consideration and development.
3. That Cabinet approve the development of final proposals and a project plan
 as proposed within this report.
4. That Cabinet request that the Cabinet Member for Cleaner and Greener City
 presents the final proposals and outline project plan in the form of a report
 to Cabinet.
Ward(s): Cathedral Ward
Contact Officer: David Sutton, Service Manager, Cleaner & Greener City,, 01905 722302

Relevant s106 Agreements
Development Amount Received Commenced Expiry
(date by which
spend to be
Albion Mill, Mill
?67k ?67k 22/07/2004 25/02/15
Portland Walk /
Severn Street
Royal Worcester
?402k ?238k 23/06/2006 10 years from
occupation of 300th
Diglis Basin
?414k ?123k
23/12/2004 13/01/20
(or 10 years from
final payment)
40-48 Lowesmoor ?16k ?16k 25/08/2010 31/08/20
Diglis Basin
Marina, Diglis
?13k ?13k 08/04/2011 29/06/21
TOTAL ?912k ?457k

                                                                                                                               Appendix 2
Consultation carried out to date
1.0 Initial concept drawings were shared with local Councillors and representatives from
the Friends Group at a meeting on 23rd July 2013. The drawings were amended and
a questionnaire designed for a programme of public consultation.
2.0 Event 1. 10th September 2013 officers presented and discussed the concept during a
Friends of Diglis open meeting. The event was advertised via a City Council press
release, poster, social media announcement and Rangers notified people on site
leading up to event. 14 questionnaires were returned during this event.
3.0 Week of 16th September 2013 30 posters and 1,000 fliers were hand distributed to
local residents and businesses informing people of the project and the future
consultation event dates.
4.0 A press release and social media messages by the City Council announced the
consultation event dates and the ability for people to complete an online version of
the questionnaire through the City Council website. A total of 44 online
questionnaires were completed over the consultation period.
5.0 For each of the events the City Council provided display boards showing the concept
drawings and background information. Staff answered questions from the public and
encouraged passers by to completed questionnaires.
6.0 Event 2. 6th October 2013 beside Caf? Afloat, Diglis from 10am till 2pm. A total of
27 questionnaires returned from this event.
7.0 Event 3. 15th October from 7pm at Cheeky Monkeys play centre. A total of 12
questionnaires returned from this event.
8.0 Event 4. 20th October from 2 to 4pm. Run alongside the Model Engineers fun day.
Displays and questionnaires were issued by the new bridge and by Waverley Street.
A total of 16 questionnaires returned for this event.
9.0 The total number of questionnaires returned throughout the consultation was 113.

                                                                                               Appendix 3
Consultation feedback
Proposals for the Playing Fields:
There is general support for the proposals for the Playing Fields.
Respondents value its open aspect with space for recreation, play & walking, its
peaceful nature, the Model Railway & the site?s links to the river & riverside
The greatest support is for:
? Smartening up the boundary fence (a majority would like metal bow-top
railings, with also strong support for timber post & rail fencing, & it also
incorporating artwork)
? Improvements to play opportunities (providing for a greater diversity of
age groups & also incorporating natural & imaginative play)
? Additional seating
? Keeping an open grassed area for recreation & events
The areas of concern that the respondents would most like to be addressed are:
? Parking & off-road parking (especially related to football)
? Issues relating to football matches (parking, litter, lack of changing
? Litter & dog mess/distribution of litter & dog bins
Proposals for the Nature Reserve:
Generally, there seems to be support for only low impact interventions in the
Nature Reserve. A high proportion want to ?leave it as it is?. Respondents value
its natural untouched feel, its habitats & wildlife.
The greatest support is for:
? Leaving the paths in the Nature Reserve unsurfaced
? Providing information/interpretation boards (possibly linking it to the site?s
? Providing a signed circular route
? Providing more seating
? Enhancing existing habitats (a majority suggested bird/bat boxes, with
several suggesting a greater variety of vegetation, continued scrub
clearance, wildflowers & insect habitats)
?It is fantastic to have such a habitat close to the city centre?
?Unsurfaced paths through the Nature Reserve ? lovely to explore with children?
?Please keep its natural beauty for us to appreciate & more for the wildlife?
?We love this natural area leading to the river. We are proud to live so close to such a
beautiful river?
 ?The open space in an ?urban jungle??
?Open aspect close to City Centre?
?Green lung, pleasant access to riverside & west side of river?
?It?s an important social occasion for many people walking their dogs ?especially early
?It provides a much needed green space & a corridor for people to access the river & a
traffic-free passage to the city?


Cllr Lynn Denham

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Re: Diglis Public Realm Project
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 03:38:22 PM »
Have your say on Diglis Fields plans

Residents of Diglis are being invited to view and comment on plans to invest ?912,000 in the Diglis Fields area.  The money is to be used for improvements to public open space in the area at Diglis Playing Fields, Cherry Orchard Nature Reserve and the adjacent riverside.
Residents can see the latest plans at the following times:
-      Sunday 4 May and Saturday 7 June:  10.00am ? 2.00pm at Caf? Afloat, Diglis Basin Marina
-      Sunday 18 May:  2.00pm ? 4.00pm at Worcester Model Engineers, Diglis Playing Fields, Waverley Street
-      Saturday 31 May:  10.00am ? 2.00pm at the Guildhall, High Street, Worcester
So far ?85,000 has been spent on footpath improvements, play area improvements and landscape design.  Following previous consultation with local residents, it is now proposed that the remainder is spent on the following improvements:
-          Creating a newly equipped play area, as well as providing equipment for less structured, imaginative play too
-          Installing outdoor gym equipment, similar to that already in Gheluvelt Park
-          Enhancing and improving riverside areas, including the development of a scheme to improve segregation and safety for walkers and cyclists, and to create an attractive riverside environment in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and Worcestershire County Council
-          Increase the number of entrances to Diglis Playing Fields, and improve boundary fencing
-          Re-surface the paths in Diglis Playing Fields, increasing accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters
-          Improve the pathways leading to the Nature Reserve
-          Create a new picnic area
-          Reduce the current number of football pitches from three to two
-          Establish new parking opportunities.
The funding comes from private developers who have signed ?Section 106 agreements? with the City Council as part of planning applications. The agreements are legally binding arrangements which compensate the local community for any impact caused by nearby developments.
It is anticipated that the improvements can start to be made later in the year.


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Re: Diglis Public Realm Project
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2014, 03:05:23 PM »
Thanks very much to everyone who came to the basin to see the plans and give their comments and ideas. Thanks also to the council staff working on the weekend and members/followers of the 'Friends' who were there to explain the improvements. Everyone was very positive about the plans (sometimes with reservations and suggestions of course). We look forward to seeing as many people as possible at the future consultation events.
                                                     Francis Lankester, Chairman of the Friends of Diglis Field

Cllr Lynn Denham

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Re: Diglis Public Realm Project
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 12:55:58 PM »
Your next chance to have a look at the plans and let us know what you think is Today

Sunday 18 May:  2.00pm ? 4.00pm at Worcester Model Engineers, Diglis Playing Fields, Waverley Street

and the Model Railway will be running, the sun is shining and there may be cakes and tea.  What more could you want on a Sunday afternoon!