By Ian Dipple Friday 12 October 2012 Updated: 16/10 12:54
RENAMING the town's car parks and improving the look of Worcester Square are among the immediate aims of the new manager of the Kingfisher Shopping Centre.
Ken Williams took up the post on Monday (October 8) having spent over six years at St George's Shopping Centre in Preston, Lancashire and before that 13 years with catalogue giant Littlewoods.
Mr Williams also has previous experience working with the centre's new owners Capital & Regional and told the Standard there were some 'exciting opportunities' to improve it further without losing the important place it held within the town.
"These sort of centres have a very different feel to the large, inner-city conglomerate groups, they are more based around people and the community," he said.
"It's a community hub, a meeting place for people, part of the social scene and it has some real advantages we can capitalise on.
"People will point to empty shops but that's true of any town or city centre at the moment but to me that represents an opportunity.
"It has a lot going for it but it's about fresh eyes. As an outsider coming in I can see things people may take for granted and others they walk past every day and don't see as issues."
Projects already in the pipeline include renaming the car parks from numbers to reflect anchor stores - such as Argos Car Park - to make it easier for visitors, particularly those from outside of Redditch, to find their way around the centre as well as talking to the council about better signage to direct people to it.
Introducing a crèche or soft play area, better promotion of the cinema and progressing plans to create a food court type area around it are also on the radar. Plans are also being drawn up to improve the look of Worcester Square, but Mr Williams said he could not promise it would mean a return for the centre's famous palm trees.
"Are the palm trees going to enhance the vitality of the centre? Probably not. Are they important to the community? I don't know, I haven't spoke to enough of them yet, but we do value Worcester Square as a meeting hub, a place for social interaction and I'm sure we can make it better than it is now. It will be interesting to see what does come forward but whatever we do, we want to improve and evolve it."
He also revealed talks were taking place with a number of companies with a view to bringing a supermarket into the centre.
"It's early days but the potential is there," he added.
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