High Street Culture
Find out what’s coming up in our four-year programme of cultural activity across England's High Streets Heritage Action Zones, continuing until 2024.
Tewkesbury already trades on its strong historic appeal. The High Streets Heritage Action Zone will capitalise on the town's rich history and special character to create an attractive place to visit, live and work in.
Tewkesbury is a historic market town located on two major rivers, the Severn and the Avon. It is famous for its 12th century Abbey, Tewkesbury Battlefield (1471) and its concentration of timber-framed buildings. Healings Mill, at the northern end of town, is a handsome 19th century flour mill and warehouse complex, thought to have been the largest and most modern flour mill in the world when it was built in 1865.
Tewkesbury’s challenges are varied. Its historic buildings, although attractive, are in poor condition. Many shops are vacant or underused and in need of repair. Healings Mill has been derelict for many years and has become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour.
There are also challenges in the way people experience the town. Tewkesbury has no defined centre or civic space, limiting its potential for public events and cultural activities. Its heavy two-way traffic, narrow pavements, poor signposting and tired public spaces make the town unappealing for many users. These challenges are reflected in the fact that very few of Tewkesbury Abbey’s 250,000 annual visitors go on to use the town centre.
The Heritage Action Zone will see historic buildings repaired and brought back into use and improve public spaces to attract shoppers, visitors and businesses into the town. A cultural programme will bring new and bigger audiences to Tewkesbury to enjoy its heritage, especially in 2021 with celebrations to mark the 900th anniversary of the Abbey’s consecration and the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Tewkesbury.
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