Tewkesbury Borough Council and Historic England are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Programme Manager to oversee the delivery of the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) projects in Tewkesbury town centre over the next two years. Georgia Smith joined the team in March 2022 with a remit to co-ordinate delivery of the programme’s key projects.  

The HSHAZ is a nearly £2m partnership between Historic England and Tewkesbury Borough Council which capitalises on the town’s rich history and special character to create an attractive place to visit, live and work in. The £2m is made up of grant funding from Historic England and matched funding from the Borough Council, with contributions from Tewkesbury town centre-based business tenants and property owners matching any grant they receive as part of the scheme. The programme will see historic buildings repaired and brought back into use and public spaces improved to attract shoppers, visitors and businesses into the town.

Georgia’s role is varied, and includes funding works to historic properties and boosting traditional construction craft skills. She will administer the HSHAZ shop front grants scheme and distribute grants for bringing vacant upper floor space back into use, and – through a series of events over the next few months – will promote the use of traditional skills. She is also looking forward to gathering the views of the community on how they see the future of Tewkesbury’s town centre (Watch out for announcements in the local press and social media for how to get involved.)

Georgia brings with her a wealth of experience, including over 20 years’ involvement in town centre management in other historic locations such as Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester, where she led on tourism promotion and the delivery of major events including the Worcester Christmas Fayre, the installation of town centre pedestrian signage and the creation of business improvement districts. 

Georgia said, “I am hugely excited to be working in this amazing town with such a rich heritage. The HSHAZ funding will make a positive difference to the way Tewkesbury’s historic fabric is cared for and aims to leave a legacy of better maintained and presented buildings as well as a renewed interest in understanding and valuing its history. I hope that some of the events we are planning will stimulate an enthusiasm for researching and recording both its contemporary life and its past.” 

Councillor Mel Gore, Lead Member for Built Environment, added, “We are thrilled that Georgia has joined the team here in Tewkesbury, and look forward to working with her and seeing the fruits of her work in the Town’s events’ calendar as well as the revitalised shop fronts and much needed return of upper floor space brought to active use.”

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England South West, said: “We’re delighted that Georgia has been appointed to lead on the Tewkesbury High Street HAZ. Along with an impressive track record, she brings great enthusiasm for the town and the potential for its heritage to play a big part in Tewkesbury’s future success. She’s made a great start already and we’re looking forward to working with her as the HAZ progresses.”


About High Streets Heritage Action Zones:

The High Streets Heritage Action Zones is a £95 million government-funded programme led by Historic England, designed to secure lasting improvements and help breathe new life into our historic high streets throughout England for the communities and businesses that use them. Historic England is working with local people and partners to unlock the rich heritage and potential of these high streets, through repair and improvement works as well as arts and cultural programmes, making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors, fuelling economic, social and cultural recovery and breathing new life into the High Street for future generations.  https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/heritage-action-zones/regenerating-historic-high-streets/

More than 60 high streets have been offered funding to give them a new lease of life. The lead partners in each place (mostly local authorities) are working with Historic England to develop and deliver schemes that will transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, workplaces and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improving public realm. 

The High Streets Heritage Action Zone initiative is funded with £40 million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund and £52 million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. A further £3 million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme.

Georgia’s role also involves supporting two other teams which are part of the HSHAZ programme: the multi-disciplinary team from Tewkesbury Borough Council, Historic England and site owners Corbally working to find a sustainable future for Healings Mill, as well as Tewkesbury Culture, a consortium of cultural providers and advocates in Tewkesbury who are looking at new ways of keeping Tewkesbury’s cultural scene active and well-promoted in order to attract the visitors and residents to the town’s businesses and leisure attractions to enable them and the town to thrive.

Georgia will gather the views of local residents, businesses and visitors on how they see Tewkesbury’s town centre being protected and developed over the coming years. Thanks to HSHAZ project funding, work will soon start on canvassing and developing their views to inform future works in the town centre.