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Town walkabouts in both Evesham and Droitwich, organised by Wychavon district council, to study the issues facing both places have been praised by the MP for the two towns, Peter Luff.

The walkabout in Evesham took place on February 6th and the one in Droitwich a week later on February 13th. They included representatives of all the public bodies primarily concerned with the wellbeing of the towns – the town, district and county councils and the regional development agency.

Commenting, Peter said,

“The challenges in the two towns are different but there are common themes. Both Evesham and Droitwich are attractive places to shop with a rich heritage that is capable of bringing far more visitors and shoppers to both town centres.

“In Evesham there is concern about the larger retailers that are leaving the town in the current recession. In Droitwich the large retailers seem to be relatively secure, but the legacy of flooding in the High Street and the impact of the recession is keeping too many smaller units empty.

“It was also interesting to note the shortage of certain shops in each town; in Evesham there is a shortage of women’s clothing stores, while in Droitwich it is men’s clothing that is difficult to find. We need to work to plug these gaps by encouraging new independent retailers into the towns.

“This is not going to be an easy year for town centres, but good things are happening in both places, thanks to the councils and the regional development agency.

“A major High Street redevelopment is planned for Evesham which should make much more of the town’s very attractive centre. In Droitwich the good progress towards the re-opening of the canals should encourage everyone.

“Both Evesham and Droitwich need to be helped to do more to exploit their history with signs and notices explaining to visitors what makes both places so special. In Evesham we should make much more of Simon de Montfort, founder of British parliamentary democracy, and in Droitwich we should talk more about the Pilgrim Father Edward Winslow, subject of that excellent new statue in the shopping centre.

“Evesham is famous for asparagus – Droitwich for salt; again we should be making more of both. These two fine towns could be really outstanding destinations and I am sure the public bodies on these walkabouts have gone away inspired and determined to do more to build on their massive potential.”


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