Help for traders pledged during brige work

By Gary Smee 26/04 Updated: 26/04 13:22

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Buy photos » The main work on the new Abbey Bridge and Viaduct gets underway next summer. (s)

CAR PARKING charges are set to be slashed and traders will be given a helping hand when Evesham's Abbey Bridge closes and cuts the town in two next summer.

Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council and Evesham Market Town Partnership have teamed up and agreed to contribute £200,000 to support town businesses and the wider community.

The money will be used to publicise Evesham during the construction of the new bridge, pay for a major discount on car parking charges, provide grants for new and expanding businesses and give existing retailers guidance on how they can develop their companies.

The bridge will be closed for ten weeks next summer meaning drivers will have to use an alternative route, which is yet to be finalised, to get around the town.

Gerry O’Donnell, chairman of Evesham Market Town Partnership, said it was crucial Evesham remained trading at full capacity during one of its busiest times.

"It is vital to Evesham’s economic success that we have a bridge and viaduct that will serve the town for generations to come," he added.

"But it is also vital Evesham remains open for business during the period of disruption, that visitors and residents alike are encouraged to continue coming into town and that we do what we can to assist in this.

"Just as important is the task of maintaining and increasing footfall after the building works have been completed.

"This funding will facilitate these aims, and represents a partnership approach which is enshrined in everything we do and achieve as a Market Town Partnership."

The £200,000 Economic Support Fund is made up of contributions of £150,000 from Worcestershire County Council, £34,000 from Wychavon District Council and £16,000 from Evesham Market Town Partnership.

Ahmed Goga, head of economic development and planning at Worcestershire County Council, said: "Our key town centres such as Evesham are important to the long-term success of the county's economy and are vital in promoting to visitors, local residents and investors that Worcestershire is open for business.

"The county council's investment of £150,000 demonstrates our commitment to the town during the bridge closure and our desire to work with local businesses and Wychavon District Council to support trade in Evesham."

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