A BOLD bid to breathe new life into the Vale’s ailing high streets as part of a Government cash giveaway has been backed by Wychavon council chiefs.
Councillors approved plans for Evesham town centre to be considered for a share of a £675million funding pot to transform town centres through innovative proposals focused on transport, housing and public services.
At the end of last year the Government opened up calls for proposals for the fund and council chiefs approved plans which could see the redevelopment of the Riverside Shopping Centre, and support for the Evesham Transport Strategy and town plan aspirations should the money be approved.
A further £150,000 has been proposed to draw up masterplans for Evesham and for Pershore and Droitwich when a second round of bids opens in 2020.
Coun Bradley Thomas, leader of Wychavon District Council said: “Following the event with south Worcestershire councils we feel confident our bid will be given serious consideration.
“From the initial criteria we have clearly identified Evesham has the strongest chance of being successful and the funding would give much needed support.”
Council chiefs approved the move at a meeting on Wednesday (February 6) and Wychavon’s portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism, Coun Richard Morris said: “As well as the bid I’m very pleased that we have agreed to allocate £150,000 of our own money for Droitwich Spa, Evesham and Pershore for town centre master planning.
“This will provide evidence for any future town centre funding bids and help them to start planning for their futures.
“Our town centres are the life blood of our towns and we want to help them thrive,” he added.
Councillors on the executive board also approved a Council Tax freeze next year, meaning a Band D property will pay £120.08 for the district council’s services. If approved this will be the second year the district council’s cost has been frozen.
Last financial year this meant Wychavon had the eighth lowest Council Tax in the country out of all the district councils.
“We are delighted our strong financial position means that we are able to recommend a Council Tax freeze.
“We’ve also agreed to a package of new promises that focus on exciting areas of work from charging points for electric vehicles to taking decisive action on social mobility,” Coun Thomas added.