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Join the conversation: Tewkesbury High Street Heritage Action Zone launches conversation on the future for the historic town centre.

Just as the garden town growth area will be important for providing new homes, businesses and job opportunities to allow the wider Tewkesbury area to thrive and grow, the historic heart of Tewkesbury provides a sense of stability during any wider change – providing a high quality retail and leisure offer while remaining an architectural gem to be proud of. In short, the historic core plays a pivotal role: it underpins Tewkesbury’s local identity and sense of place.

It is against this backdrop that the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) is launching its town centre masterplan and design code project. This will provide a planning document specifically for the town’s historic centre with a vision, planning policies and deliverable projects which set out what the people of Tewkesbury want for the future of the town centre, ensuring that change is carefully managed to protect the town’s historic fabric and ensure the town centre’s long-term prosperity.

It will sit alongside the masterplanning being undertaken for the growth areas beyond the town’s historic core, including the garden town areas. All the documents will reference and link to the other to deliver a viable and successful future for Tewkesbury and all its current and future population.

Building on the work undertaken in summer 2022, the town centre masterplan team, LDA Design , supported by leading heritage consultants Purcell, will start the process at Tewkesbury’s MOP fair (9 and 10 October) by listening to what local residents, businesses and visitors expect of the town centre.

Through pop-up events in the town centre and a series of themed workshops, LDA will start to explore the public’s hopes and concerns for the town as well as favourite places and precious events. The conversations will range across the town centre’s heritage and architecture; pedestrian, cycle and vehicle spaces; cultural and leisure facilities; waterways and nature; scope to develop new jobs, housing and leisure; and its facilities for young, old and those in-between. Importantly, they will look at how the historic centre relates to the newer areas which sit around it and to competing centres in the wider region. These conversations will help LDA to develop useful policies and plans for the Tewkesbury of the future – ways for protecting the things people love about Tewkesbury, and for embracing the future.

Leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, Councillor Richard Stanley, said “It is important to have a masterplan for the historic town centre as well as for our growth areas. We cannot afford to take Tewkesbury for granted and we need to make sure that our public spaces complement the town’s heritage.

“We need to ensure that new development provides the services people want, the type of buildings they would like to live and work in, and, most importantly, that the craftmanship and design are as good as those we have inherited.”

LDA Design project leader, Tom Perry, confirmed, “We’re delighted to be working with the Borough Council and Historic England to develop a vision for the town centre. We feel great responsibility in planning the next chapter of Tewkesbury’s story.

“A Masterplan has to capture what makes the town so special, and how it might evolve over the coming years. We’re looking forward to talking to residents, businesses and visitors to help shape the future of the town.”

More information about further opportunities to be part of the conversation will be posted on Tewkesbury Borough Council’s website over the coming weeks. The draft masterplan will be completed by the end March 2024. A formal consultation period will then begin so that the documents are adopted as supplementary planning guidance which is part of the statutory planning process.