Use the links below to find the information you need:
- Introduction to our town centre investment plans
- Watch and read more about our town centre investment plans
- Frequently Asked Questions on our town Centre investment plans
- Who to contact about our town centre investment plans
Our town centres are going through a lot of changes at the moment as they adapt to new shopping habits with more and more of us choosing to shop online.
We believe they still have an important place in the economic strength and growth of our towns and the district overall. But they will be different places in the future.
Town centres in 20 years time will likely have more people living in them, provide more leisure opportunities, be places where events and community celebrations take place and provide experiences that cannot be bought online.
To help plan for these changes we have produced vision documents for our three main town centres – Droitwich Spa, Evesham and Pershore. We call these investment prospectuses.
These documents will help us secure future investment into each of the three towns over the next two decades from both the private and public sector.
Each prospectus recognises and builds on the unique strengths and characteristics of each area. Sites that could provide important opportunities – called change zone or Game Changer sites – have been identified as well as options that don’t require development.
Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, said: “Our town centres have been under pressure for some time and the prospectuses represent a positive vision for the future of each of them.
“This isn’t about what Wychavon wants to see happen but rather a shared ambition based on what we have been told by various stakeholders. The prospectuses offer interpretations of what’s possible but that doesn’t mean they are set in stone.
“Wychavon isn’t in charge of all of the Game Changer sites, so to make this vision a reality there needs to be a real drive from the public and private sector, and our communities, to make this happen. The prospectuses will be a powerful tool to attract investment from Government and the private sector into our towns.
“We can’t go back to how we did things before the Covid-19 pandemic. The future for our town centres is limited if we do that. But by thinking differently about our places, reimagining what’s possible, being bold and working together they have a bright future. Today is the start of that journey.”
Watch our video below explaining our vision for the future of Droitwich Spa, Evesham and Pershore town centres.
You can also read a pdf transcript of the Wychavon Town Centre Investment Plan explainer video (97 KB) .
A summary of the key findings and recommendations from each of the prospectuses is available by clicking on the links below.
We know you will have many questions about the plans. We have tried to answer some of the more common ones below but if there is something you need to know we haven't covered, then please contact our Place Projects team.
Who was involved in the development of these plans?
A wide range of partners from public, private and voluntary sectors. The consultation element of the prospectuses was a thorough process and included one-to-one sessions, focus groups, steering groups and online surveys available to anyone. In addition to the local stakeholders, the commissioned consultants of CBRE, thinkingplace, Open and Mode Transport Planning used their vast experience and industry knowledge to shape each prospectus.
What happens next?
Town Panels - which we call Place Boards - will be established, and projects developed by partners.
Who is on the Place Boards and how have they been selected?
It’s important to recognise that the panels are dynamic organisations and membership will evolve over time. In the first instance the panel will comprise primarily of those individuals who have already actively engaged in the formation of the plans. We are keen to work with individuals that can play an important role in helping achieve the strategic objectives identified within each.
Do you have planning permission for the schemes being discussed?
Not all schemes will require planning permission but where this is required, officers will work with the project promoter to develop one.
What are the priorities for each plan?
All the strategic objectives, opportunity sites and key change zones can be found in each of the prospectus documents.
Are all partners signed up to these plans, for example Worcestershire County Council Highways Department?
A number of partners have been engaged in the development of these plans and support the ambition. However, this isn’t the same as saying that they will automatically make funding available.
What happens if a project isn’t deliverable?
If the ambition of the project could be achieved via another approach, then that would be looked at. However, if the ambition of the scheme is no longer relevant for whatever reason, then it would not be pursued.
How do they relate to the local plan, town plan, neighbourhood plans etc?
These plans are not intended to replace or supersede existing plans developed by local groups, town councils, etc as each would focus on a slightly different aspect. These plans are more about physical change.
When are you going to deliver projects in the prospectuses?
These plans represent a 20 year vision and it would be wrong to provide precise dates for the delivery of any individual scheme.
Who has the final decision on any project?
This is a complex issue as it depends on the project. If planning permission is required then there will be a process to follow. If a funding application is required, then again, there will be a process to follow. However, we wouldn’t expect the panel to be promoting a scheme it doesn’t support.
What role will Wychavon have in the delivery of these plans?
We have appointed officers to support each town in the delivery of the plans but it is not their role to lead on every project. partners such as Worcestershire County Council and public and private organisations will be best placed to lead on the delivery of a number of schemes.
We have had plans like this before and nothing happens, how can we be sure it will this time?
We have actively delivered from plans in the past, including those developed by the former Market Town Partnerships, that have had significant benefits for our towns. Change doesn’t happen overnight but such a clear statement about our vision and ambition draws in potential investors and partners.
Why doesn’t the prospectus cover a particular project or idea?
The prospectuses are more about establishing a vision for the town rather than a prescribed set of projects. The initial schemes have been identified following a lengthy engagement and consultation process but if new, deliverable ideas emerge that add value to the vision, then there is no reason why they could be actively pursued.
This will take a lot of investment and there isn’t money around?
This is true – however, we need to be in a position to respond when opportunities arise. But it’s important to realise that the public sector should not be funding everything. The role of business and private investment is key.
Is there any money available to deliver these plans?
£10k is being made available to each panel to kick start the process but each project will need a funding strategy that is realistic and deliverable.
Why should we bother about our Town centre, everything is online?
You’d struggle to enjoy a good meal online or access health services such as dentists online or swim or go to the gym. It is true that traditional high street retail is changing but people will always want high quality leisure and work experiences in a physical location and our vision for our towns supports this approach.
Parking costs too much so I won’t use the Town Centre, why bother?
We believe parking in Wychavon is reasonable. In most long stay car parks, you can park for up to 10 hours for £4 and parking is free at several town centre car parks on Sundays. The better the offer from the place, the greater value for money parking charges will seem.
What role did young people play in developing the plans?
With these documents being a vision to look at the next 20 years or so, it is of course prudent to consider the youth of today as they will be the established residents in the future. The consultation did include schools and youth organisations (where they exist) so they had the opportunity to contribute.
We need more youth facilities, does the plan support this?
The plans do identify opportunities for young people in our towns but they are not designed provide a specific solution to the provision of youth facilities.
We need more experiences/activities in the Town Centre
We totally agree. The plans include a number of ideas but if you have different ones, then let’s talk.
How do I get involved in delivering the plans?
Please contact the Chair of the Place Board or the relevant supporting officer (contact details are at the bottom of this page).
I know a community group working on an idea, how would this work with the plan?
If you believe that your idea contributes to the vision and you have enough support to make deliverability viable, then I would encourage you to contact the relevant supporting officer using the contact information at the bottom of this page.
How can rural councillors be involved as Towns are hubs and support rural communities?
We absolutely welcome the engagement of members and communities from across the district to help implement these plans. Towns are the service centres for the vast majority of out district and it’s important that they provide services (shops, libraries leisure, food and drink, etc) that meets the needs of the wider population. If they do not, then people will choose to go elsewhere to neighbouring districts and cities which will harm our economy.
If you are a community group working on an idea you believe contributes to our vision and you have enough support to make it viable then please contact one of our Place Projects Officers using the information below: