THE first phase of work to create the new town centre public realm as part of the £130m Glass Works development will begin on Cheapside this week.

The exciting regeneration of the public realm - which will cost over £8 million- will include a brand-new public square and comprehensive improvements to the existing public realm on May Day Green, Kendray Street, Queen Street, Peel Square and Midland Street, as well as Cheapside.

Using a combination of stylish 'craggy' natural stone, high-quality paving, plants and trees, the work will modernise the town centre and open up new and existing public areas. New lighting and seating will also be added.

The main square at the heart of The Glass Works will feature attractive terraces made from astroturf and stone, creating a local amphitheatre to host events and performances throughout the year.

There will also be a cascading water pool, family-friendly outdoor dining venues and permanent outdoor market stalls. Peel Square will also receive a revamp. The old public toilets will be removed to enable the area to be reimagined as a historic town square enhancing the original buildings that provide character to the space.

The work will begin on Cheapside today before moving on to the other areas of the town centre that will make up the full public realm project.

Cheapside will be closed to vehicles for 23 weeks to allow the works to be completed as quickly as possible, but pedestrians will have full access to both the Meat and Fish Market entrance and the retail shops along the street.

As the works are being completed, Cheapside will be opened in sections to allow full access to the new areas of public realm, with the first major space being complete to the front of the new Meat and Fish market in time for its official opening on September 1.