The Victorian Society encourages people to have their say about plans to develop Worcester’s Shrub Hill Quarter

When the The Victorian Society learned that Worcester Council was planning for an important area, including a Victorian railway hub from the 1850s, to be developed, including the demolition of two historic goods sheds, we applied for listing for this significant part of railway history. Now there’s a chance to have your say about the future of Shrub Hill.

Photo: Detail, Victorian Waiting Rooms, Worcester Shrub Hill Railway Station. Photo Copyright: JThomas and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. 07/02/2024

Photo: Detail, Victorian Waiting Rooms, Worcester Shrub Hill Railway Station. Photo Copyright: JThomas and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence. 07/02/2024

With buildings now successfully listed by Historic England, Worcester City Council has published a formal Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Shrub Hill Quarter Development with proposals for the 14-hectare site, including over 500 new homes and public spaces – read more here. There is an exhibition open to the public at the Guildhall from Monday 5 – Saturday 10th February from 9.30am-4.00pm.

The Victorian Society encourage people to have their say and participate in the consultation which lasts online until 17th March – read more here.

The Shrub Hill Quarter lies to the west of the railway line, extending across the canal, and is bordered by Tallow Hill, George Street, Pheasant Street and Tolladine Road. It includes several listed buildings, among them Worcester Engine Works, the former Great Western Hotel, Isaac Maddox House and Shrub Hill Railway Station. The Council say these will be preserved in the proposals set out in the draft SPD. The Shrub Hill site overall is large, and includes the corner where Aldi supermarket currently is located, at the junction of Lowesmoor with Tolladine Road, opposite Vesta Tilley House. Any replacement building on the Aldi corner is shown up to a maximum of five storeys, potentially dwarfing existing buildings around it (see p.36 of the document) and an aerial photo mock-up (p.35) where the curved building on the left hand edge of the photo can be seen opposite Vesta Tilley House. The SPD says the vision for the area hopes to safeguard ‘distant views’ across to the Malvern Hills from the Railway Station, but from page 51 of the document, a five storey building at this location would most likely impinge on those distant views.

Opened in 1852, Shrub Hill Station in Worcester served as a joint station for the Midland and Great Western Railways, quickly becoming the focal point for a bustling railway district east of the city centre. This district included locomotive works, goods yards, wagon repair sheds, industrial facilities, branch lines, and sidings, establishing Worcester as a significant railway hub in the 19th century.

While some original elements, such as the 1860s Worcester Engine Works and the exquisite Italianate station building with its cast iron platform waiting room, remain, many other historical features were from 2022 at risk due to the redevelopment plans. In 2022, our Listings team submitted three applications, with two successfully securing listing. The first application sought to protect the goods sheds. These sheds were essential for managing lucrative goods traffic and feature distinctively patterned iron window frames.

The application for the Midland Railway’s goods shed was successfully listed (Grade II, 1867-1868, Midland Railway’s architect’s department, Derby). The other was rejected and has now been demolished. Our second successful application focused on Shrub Hill Station itself (Grade II, 1852, rebuilt 1865 to the designs of Edward Wilson) emphasising its unique raised embankment design with twin curving ramps and a station undercroft, as it was unclear whether the undercroft was covered by the 1971 station listing. Our application sought certainty on the matter and we were pleased to be told that the listing entry has been amended to include this historic feature. As an additional bonus, the K6 phone box at the station designed by George Gilbert Scott was also listed. Read more here about the goods shed.

Read more here about the station.


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