Supporting businesses to improve Evesham Town Centre Conservation Area

Wychavon has joined forces with business owners and the Vale of Evesham Civic Society to help improve the character of the historic area of Evesham.

Many businesses in Port Street in Bengeworth and in High Street have been using vinyl advertising graphics to cover shop windows to allow them to maximise display space available in their premises.

However, the vinyls are not only a breach of Town and Country Planning Advertising Regulations, they also break Wychavon's planning guidance on the design of shop fronts. Concerns were also raised by the Vale of Evesham Civic Society that the character and feel of the area was being changed by the increasing use of such graphics.

Evesham Town Centre is classed as a conservation area meaning it is of special architectural or historic interest, due to its history dating back to medieval times. Many of the buildings in the town date to the 18th and 19th century and are listed to protect them from inappropriate alterations.

Wychavon's Planning Enforcement team has been working closely with shop owners to help them understand the regulations but also how they can make better use of their shop windows to appeal to customers and make their business more inviting. This has included advice on shop layout and how to make best of space.

As a result, several advertising vinyls have been removed, many from listed buildings of historical significance, which have helped to improve the appearance of the area.

Cllr Aaron Powell, Executive Board Member for Planning, Infrastructure and Urban Design on Wychavon District Council, said: "This is a great example of how we are using planning regulations to support business owners to make better use of their floor space and to open up their shop windows to make their offer more inviting to customers. At the same time, we're improving and protecting the character of a historically important part of Evesham. We're grateful to business owners for their support in tackling this issue which has been a concern for some time and to the Vale of Evesham Civic Society for bringing this matter to our attention."

Mrs Gill Pawson, Chair of the Vale of Evesham Civic Society said: "Our members are delighted with the progress made by the work of Wychavon's Planning Enforcement Team to bring about a significant improvement in the town's Conservation Area. We hope to continue to work with officers of the council to tackle other issues that are spoiling the character and attractiveness of our historic centre."

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