AMBITIOUS plans to revive Evesham’s mothballed public hall as an arts and heritage centre are at the heart of a £9million council bid for Government funding, the Observer can reveal.
The iconic landmark in the heart of the town opened in 1904 and was closed back in 2009 as part of Wychavon’s cost-saving drive at the height of the credit crunch, leaving the building empty and unused ever since.
Finance group CBRE’s planning and development team, acting on behalf of Wychavon District Council, has now submitted an application to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for a seven-figure sum to support the regeneration of Evesham town centre.
If successful, the money will be used to redevelop Evesham’s Grade II listed Public Hall, enabling the relocation of Evesham Arts Centre to the building and creating a new visitor attraction to showcase the town’s history and heritage.
The funding will also enable the delivery of a comprehensive package of transport improvements to address congestion and support active travel, including improvements to the A46/B4035 Badsey Lane junction,12 new pedestrian/cycle routes and making bus journeys more reliable.
The fund application will be matched by some £1.87million from Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and other contributions.
Phil Merrick, director of economy and environment at Wychavon District Council, said: “We are pleased with the quality of our submission, which we believe demonstrates the strong need for these projects, their deliverability and the benefits they will bring.
“The support provided by CBRE, Worcestershire County Council and other partners is very much appreciated.”
The £4.8billion Levelling Up Fund is the Government’s major regeneration initiative, providing grants to support capital investment projects across Great Britain.
CBRE supported Wychavon District Council with the preparation of the application, including business case development and value for money assessment, working with AMION Consulting.
Simon Phillips, director and head of CBRE’s Midlands planning and development team, said: “Wychavon District Council is engaged in a programme of activity to regenerate Evesham town centre, with a particular focus on culture and leisure.
“If successful, the additional funding will support the town’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, creating a more vibrant destination for visitors, with new attractions, unlocking congestion to make travel easier and generally improving the quality of life for local residents.”