High Street Malvern
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The purpose of High Street Malvern is the generation of ideas relating to the commercial success of Malvern.

It has evolved into a think tank.
It has established close ties with the three councils and encouraged community groups to attend meetings.

A small committee was set up which has since met monthly and established itself as an important source of concepts and ideas.

Once Upon a Time

High Street UK in Great Malvern - A briefing paper - August 2006
High St. UK is a collaborative venture between The Civic Trust and the New Economics Foundation with the intention of developing and delivering a new national town centre programme:
  • Adapted from learning from the National Mainstreet Centre in Washington USA
  • growing out of the successful partnership between The Civic Trust and NEF on the BizFizz programme
  • focused on town and city centres, the people that run them, the businesses that operate there, residents and consumers, the people that look to them to provide central services and the local economic systems they fit within
  • aimed at creating a momentum of activity at high street level, supported by national coordinating centre
  • with development, creativity and action coming from residents and supporters of Great Malvern There is a national need because:
  • town centre management has focused on the perceptions of the national multiples. High St. UK stresses the role of local businesses as well
  • smaller independent shops are closing at the rate of 2,000 a year, but a successful town centre relies on a blend of well-known fascias and local independents
  • a strong local independent sector means that more money is retained within the local economy to support local growth in jobs and other opportunities
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Current Projects

High Street Malvern's Aspirations are achievable and realistic. To develop, improve and enhance:

Scroll down to view the projects

Elgar Square

The intention of this proposal is to draw up an integrated plan to include:
the Foley Arms car park, the rear access to the Church Street premises, the west end of Edith Walk and the existing car park which serves Wilkinsons. Specific details of the plan might include:
  • Make the area ‘shared space’.
  • Proceed with the hotel plan
  • Create a town square
  • Move the existing parking on to the Foley Arms site.
  • Include a Visitor and Spa Centre
  • Install new public lavatories
  • Enhance the Theatre of Small Convenience
  • Create a ‘shopping mall’ effect by opening up the Church Street shops to the
    new square.
  • Open up Wilko and Waitrose to front on to the new square

  • Until recently, Edith Walk has been a lane running parallel with Church Street and linking up with Back Lane itself running parallel with Graham Road.
  • It provided a back entrance to the gardens of the houses in Church Street which were converted into shops in Victorian times and the entrance to the Foley Arms car park.
  • The area to the east of the Foley Arms Hotel car park was used for a weekly market.
  • The use of the area changed in the 1990s with the building of the Somerfields [now Wilko] shop and associated car park and, in 1999, the opening of the Waitrose store with the changes to the road pattern off Graham Road and the introduction of traffic lights.
  • In 2010 the Foley Arms Hotel was sold to Wetherspoons but the car park was kept in private ownership.
  • In 2014 Travelodge put forward plans for a forty bedroom hotel with adjacent apartments, four shops and some parking space. Although the proposal was considered carefully by the District Council, it did not proceed – partly because the plan was considered to be over development and partly because of the financial problems with the company.
  • The District Council own a ‘ransom’ strip controlling the access to the site.
  • The Current Situation
  • The Foley Arms car park remains unused except for periodic hotel parking; this is a large multi acre site.
  • The buildings to the south of the site – backing onto Church Street – are of poor quality and much of the space is taken up with a car park.
  • There is a shortage of car parking in the centre of Malvern.
  • The area has four footpaths linking it with Church Street as well as the Edith Walk road up to the Worcester Road.
  • There are no significant buildings in the area except for the Theatre of Small Convenience.
  • Malvern does not have an identifiable town centre although much of the retail activity is now centred along Church Walk leading to Waitrose.
  • It has been recognised for some time that a plan is required to capitalise on the size and location of the area; the District Council has been involved on several occasions in devising a plan but these efforts have not been successful for a variety of reasons – not least the multiple ownership of the land and the difficulties of co-ordinating any development.
  • The idea of a new hotel on the Foley Arms site is attractive because the town has lost about thirty bed nights with the recent closure of three small hotels and, in any case, the area is short of accommodation.
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Unique selling Point

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Malvern has to decide how it manages its future.

Success : The towns are not lacking in successful enterprises:

The Theatre contributes many millions to the economy of the town but there is little ripple effect as most of the attendees do not stay in the town and/or use the shops. It is well supported by the District Council.

The Science Park has an international reputation and should be a reservoir of people to use the town centre.

The annual Festival of Innovation is now a national event.

The Malvern Loyalty Card, formerly Portico, has been running for six years and has attracted over seven thousand cards among local retailers – a stimulant for local traders – and with much potential; seems to have escaped the attention

The Hills are a major attraction and are in danger of being too popular, but the visitors do not visit the town – the Councils do not have a policy in this direction – the Hills Hopper was discontinued some years ago.

The events arranged by the District and Town Councils have been very successful – Craft Markets, Christmas Lights, Bands in the Park, Mayor’s Bonanza – have all attracted large number of local visitors

Some projects have been published as discussion papers

Malvern Culture Garden

The Park has been a major feature of the town since the Norman Conquest when it was laid out as part of the establishment of the Priory; it was the kitchen garden for the Priory and principal source of food. Although the cultivation of the area waned after the dissolution, it was still an important part of the town as the main town spring ran through it.

When the Theatre was built in the 1880s, the area was landscaped, the stream was culverted, and the pond restored as a recreational feature; the Park was planted with a range of unusual and exotic trees and shrubs.

Since that time, the area has been well maintained as a background to the Theatre but, lacking a development plan, allowed to deteriorate.

The bandstand was moved from Victoria Park in the 1970s as a result of the efforts of the Malvern Civic Society.

As will be seen from the following descriptions, the Park area already has a wide collection of cultural and recreational activities.

Two significant buildings on the periphery of the Park are either not fully used or may become surplus to requirements; both are owned by the Malvern Hills District Council.

Until fifteen years ago, the Council had its own nursery to provide flowers for roundabouts and parks – immediately south of the Splash. The nursery site, which has/had a number of significant buildings has been allowed to deteriorate and one of the buildings was demolished by a potential developer. Two buildings remain.

The Park itself has been well maintained over the years but it has not been possible to make any significant changes in line with the principles of the Victorian designers.

This paper makes some suggestions which, we hope, will be included in the consultation exercise being carried out by the District Council.

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Malvern Hills Trust Review

Since its incepion in 1884, the Malvern Hills Conservators have done a good job in looking after the Hills and protecting the town of Great Malvern from intrusive development. However, times have changed. Operational staff and day-to-day management do their best to look after the Hills and Commons but the rules and regulations under which they operate are no longer appropriate while the trustees are not effectively serving the Trust. Currently most of the operating expenditure of the Trust is spent on matters nothing to do with maintaining the Hills and Commons, a substantial amount of which is likely to be legal fees. The recent discussions on the sale of an easement off the Guarlford Road have uncovered the weakness of the MHT governance; it is even rumoured that they have to grant the easement [and collect the payment] to remain solvent.

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Comunity Governance

1 Malvern has been in decline ever since the end of the 19C when the water cure was discontinued

 2  Malvern, including the Link and Barnards Green, was built round the Water Cure as its USP – Unique Selling Point. 

3  It is unlikely to fully recover unless another USP can be found. 

4  The town’s key attractions are its history and heritage and the Hills. History and heritage provide a good general attraction for an interesting place to visit but something more specific and populist is needed in order to attract the general public. 

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Malvern Environment


In recent months, public concern about the environment has led to the establishment of local groups promoting actionon specific matters. Encouraged by recent television programmes, public awareness is now focussed on what is seen as a major problem for the human race. Even though in Malvern is not going to have a major impact in China and India, it should begin to set an example of what is expected.

Some Italian tourist have, in recent months, announced fines for visitors who have equipment – shoes, bags, clothes – and it is this type of gesture that will have an impact across the world.

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The current system does not meet the needs of either residents or visitors. We live in a highly mobile society and a society that has high expectations of being able to move around the area in which they live quickly and at the right time. The current system based on public transport lacks the flexibility to provide the right service economically.

2 The basic infrastructure of rail links and inter town buses should be maintained and developed.

3 Great Malvern Station should be designated as the transport hub and Network Rail should be encouraged to provide more parking.

4 Using large vehicles to try and provide niche services does not work - it is uneconomic and inconvenient. More flexible solutions are required using private operators.

5 Expecting large companies to provide local and flexible services is unrealistic; their licences and decision making is governed by Council Committees which, of necessity, are time consuming.

6 The future for local services lies in the ‘Uber’ approach of quick response and small vehicles. The existing taxi, Community transport and Dial-a-Ride services should be developed.

7 If bus passes could be used on taxi services, it would remove many of the problems with the current system. For more flexibility, taxis should be able to stop on request and carry more than one passenger fare.

8 Buses will still be required for moving groups of people.

9 A range of vehicles should be encouraged with an emphasis on electric and hybrid options making use of Malvern’s unique expertise in this field.

10 Future proof traffic management is required around Townsend Way.

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Suported Projects

There are initiatives originated by others which HSM actively supports. The State of the Town report by Malvern Civic Society is one example


1 The general impression of the streetscene in the centre of the town is that it is shabby and unloved.

2 This report contains eighty five pictures of problems with the pavements and shop fronts. The list is by no means complete.

3 Many of the problems represent hazards to pedestrians and should be fixed without delay.

4 A number relate to sloppy repairs – failure to carry out repairs in keeping with the surrounding setts or slabs and are unsightly.

5 Most are probably due to poor inspection of utility work by District Council officers.

6 The Town Council should accept the responsibility for policing the appearance of the street in the town centre and then liaising with the District and County to rectify.

7 Some of the problems relate to lack of interest on the part of shopkeepers in cleaning and/or decorating their premises

8 There is a role for the Society in fronting up a campaign to smarten up the shops – along the lines of the ‘Facelift’ project some years ago.

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Street Fairs
One of the early successes was the promotion of craft fairs in the town – the first took place in September 2007 managed by Carol Wild; since that first event, with the support and encouragement of the District Council, they have been a regular feature of the town’s calendar and their popularity increases. More recent fairs have been held in the Priory churchyard with more space, better proximity to Church Street and increased footfall in the Priory.
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Town Guide
In 2008, Destination Worcestershire issued their guide to the county with very scant mention of the Malverns – their foremost tourist attraction. Roger Sutton lead the job of producing a Malverns Guide until the District Council took over the task in 2010 in conjunction, at that time, with Worcester City.

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Web Sites
A tourism website (www.themalverns.org.uk ) was produced to complement the Malvern’s Guide, which prominently features the "What's On." Also www.hsm2007.org.uk to keep Malvernians up to date with HSM activities.
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Danubius Hotels
The late David Habershon, then HSM Chairman, was instrumental in initiating discussions with Danubius Hotels with a view to building a spa hotel in the centre of the town; his efforts were not successful due to the impending financial crisis in 2008.
It remains an HSM aspiration and contacts have been established with Danubius who are major hotel operators in Marianske Lazne.
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Gas Lamps
In 2009 the late Ted Larner, then HSM Chairman following David Habershon, undertook a survey of the gas lamps in the town and produced a detailed schedule of their location and condition – a total of two hundred and forty – at a time when accurate records were missing and the continuing existence of the lamps in doubt. The information that he collated has since been used as the basis for renovation of the lamps by Transitions and the Malvern Town Council with electronic controls and the current interest by the Malvern Wells Parish Council in renovating some of the broken lamps.
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Town Trail App
HSM developed an amateur ‘app’ based on the existing Town Walk Guide. The success of this initiative prompted MHDC to commission a professional version.

Comunity Partnership

Click on the plus signs under the picture to reveal the story

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First Contact
Go back in time to New Year’s Eve 1989 and in Prague’s Wenceslas Square West Malvern resident Laurie Gregory is taking in the excitement and euphoria of the Czechoslovak nation as it shakes off the shackles of Communism and looks forward with a mixture of jubilation and trepidation to an uncertain but hopefully free future. In the heaving and noisy crowd celebrating the “Velvet Revolution” Laurie chances upon Jan Gall, a music master from Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) the famous West Bohemian Spa Town. Laurie suggests a visit to Malvern by a group of young musicians from the town. With that an agreement was forged and an initial visit by twenty youngsters to Malvern took place in Summer 1990. It was such a success that the visit was repeated in 1991. The young musicians performed throughout the area to widespread acclaim.

In those early years of the newly opened border it must have been equally as surprising to Malvern families to be playing host to young people who had grown up under Communism, as it was to the young Czechoslovaks to have been able to travel nearly one thousand miles across formerly forbidden countries.

So began the first contact with what was to turn out eventually to be Malvern’s first official twin town, albeit many years later. Malvern was one of the few towns in the U.K. not to have appointed an official “twin”. In 2010 a thirty strong party comprising members of Malvern Civic Society and the Spa Association enjoyed a ten day visit to Mariánské Lázně to experience the delights of this most beautiful of Spa Towns.
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Favourite destination
As a favourite destination of Edward VII, who described the town as the most beautiful place on earth, the King was a founder member of the Royal Golf Club Mariánské Lázně; the Royal title having been conferred on the club by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of the longstanding relationship between the town and the United Kingdom. In 2006 Prince Edward was a welcome visitor both to the Royal Golf Club and to the town. Residents remember the Prince’s visit with great delight. Indeed in the Clubhouse Restaurant today’s diners enjoy excellent fare watched over by large portraits of King Edward VII and H.M. the Queen. Mariánské Lázně developed as a small settlement around some fifty hot springs each with a different chemical composition and purporting to cure or at least to ease certain complaints.

The town grew rapidly and a profusion of ornate architectural styles developed known to this day as “Eclectic”. During the Communist era the town enjoyed prosperity through its destination for Czechoslovak trades unionists as part of their entitlement to spa treatments and as a hard currency earner, being a meeting point between East and West. It was not uncommon for a Mercedes to be parked in the forests surrounding the town alongside a Trabant or Wartburg as a family divided by the German internal border managed to meet and picnic on Czech territory. The Czechs adopted the pragmatic approach of encouraging the inflow of Deutschmarks while at the same time keeping surveillance of visitors as discreet as possible. It has been said that in an economy where a doctor or surgeon earned about the same as a tram driver, the best paid jobs in town were as waiters at the big hotels. Entrusted only to party members who as a reward for loyalty were able to pocket hard currency tips and live the life of Riley, spending their gains in the hard currency only “Tuzex” stores on Western goods.
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Formalised Twinning
Against this interesting and varied history a decision was taken by Malvern Town Council following the visit of a representative body of visitors in 2010 to formalise the first twinning arrangement with Mariánské Lázně . This was signed in October 2012 during the visit to Malvern of Mariánské Lázně ’s Mayor Mr. Zdeněk Král and party. The Community Partnership which oversees the twinning arrangement was entirely financially self-supporting and requested no assistance from the Town Council. Malvern’s Mayor at the time, Cllr. Ian Hopwood, a strong supporter of the link, paid a reciprocal visit to Mariánské Lázně in 2012 with his wife Janet, to sign the agreement on Czech territory.

Mayor Hopwood decided to drive to Mariánské Lázně in a brand new Skoda Rapid kindly loaned by Bowling Green Garage, Powick accompanied by fellow member of the Community Partnership Mark Young in his 1964 specially tuned Skoda 1000MB. They raised a considerable amount of cash for Acorns Children’s Hospice as part of the Mayoral Charity. In fact they drove on from Mariánské Lázně to take the old timer Skoda back to the factory where it was made in the town of Mlada Boleslav, an event that caused considerable interest.
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Protected Landscape
Mariánské Lázně lies within a range of forested mountains known as Slavkovsky les (Slav Forest). Quite apart from the exquisite beauty of the town the whole area is designated as a protected landscape and subject to strict environmental controls. Despite this it has developed a lively tourist offering throughout the year. Walking, cycling and spa treatments in the warmer months and cross country and slalom skiing followed of course by spa treatments in the winter. The ski runs are served by a cable car and ski lifts. The town boasts the longest Speedway Circuit in Europe and is visited by many British motorcycling enthusiasts and teams. At the mountain top resort of Kladska diners may enjoy the substantial Czech cuisine in an Alpine style forest setting.
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Partnership Continues
The Partnership continues to work on projects such as the establishment of a Showground in Mariánské Lázně along the lines of our own Three Counties Showground, to take advantage of the town’s strategic position near the German border and within an easy drive of major German cities. It is intended that the Midsummer Malvern Civic Week in June 2017 will comprise a significant Czech flavour arranged by the Community Partnership. A group visit to Marianske Lazne is being arranged for Summer 2017.
Also published in WR Magazine Spring 2017 Issue
Details from Mark Young at
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The Community Partnership exists to further Cultural, Commercial, Educational and Sporting relations between the two towns. During Civic Week in 2015 Malvern hosted the visit of the thirty strong Canzona Children’s Choir and Recorder Quartet from the Fredryk Chopin Music Conservatoire in Mariánské Lázně. They sang in Kington Herefordshire, Malvern, Ledbury and Twyning Gloucestershire to great acclaim and received great generosity during what was in effect a mini Three Choirs Festival.

Representatives from Malvern attend the Opening of the Spa Season in Mariánské Lázně each May. The Malvern visitors are able to address the large crowd at this glittering annual occasion in Czech, German, French, Italian and Russian, much to the delight of the Czech audience who are unaccustomed to hearing foreigners attempt the vagaries of Czech.

Community Parnership Scrap book

Pictures and accounts of the signing and subsequent vists

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A Zoom Meeting was held at 0930 on Friday 20th November 2020.


Dan Wild Ian Hopwood James O’Donnell John Watts Katharine Barber Laurie Gregory Mike Burstow Bruce Osborne Roger Sutton


Received from Beverley Nielsen, Victoria Carman, Denise Preston and David Ebsworth

Minutes and Matters Arising Elgar Square RS said that a revised application has been submitted which did not appear to address the issues raised against the first application; it will now be decided by the DC Planning Committee. Cable Car RS said that, as requested, he had emailed the Chief Executive of the DC to suggest that the cable car should be included in the new Tourism Strategy document with a view to setting up a feasibility study in due course. Mr Allison replied that he did not think that it was appropriate. High Ball Centre MY said that he was in discussions to agree a booking system for the TIC. Bank Consolidation The letter drafted by LG has been sent to Harriett Baldwin – no reply to date. The Malverns National Park BO submitted the latest draft for distribution; he said that the first level distribution to MPs had been done and he is now working on the next level – local councils in towns affected. He is aware of the recent Government initiative on creating National Parks. JOD mentioned the proposal to set up a Wye Valley National Park which would/could abut the Malverns. Malvern Culture Garden The first draft of the paper has been distributed; it was agreed that it should now have a wider consultation.

Web Site DW presented the latest draft of the web site and the statistics for the last year. It was agreed that news and the latest discussion documents should appear on the front page and the more historical documents be kept as .pdf files for the time being. RS thanked Dan for his successful and important work since the inception of the group. Malvern Business pandemic Support

A number of suggestions have been made in discussion and on Facebook including Sunday opening, more craft fairs and free parking. JOD advised that it was difficult to make any plans until the situation after early December was clarified.

The Prospectus RS said the understood that the first draft might be available by April 2021 and might be discussed/approved by the DC by the end of the year. The scope of the document would be five years.

Malvern community governance a Traffic Pollution b Electric Vehicles c Town Speed Limit d Town Council Environment Panel in abeyance e District Council & Climate Change in abeyance f MHDC Tourism Strategy due imminently g State of the Town h Belle Vue Island – Malvhina and Enigma in hand by the DC JOD said that the above items were worthwhile aspirations but that he did not think that any would be done until the current situation eased. However, he said that he was keen to be kept aware of any pavement problems which he would pass on to the County. Malvern Hills Conservators/MHT RS said that he had had a compaint from Cynthia Palmer about the content of the HSM discussion paper on the MHT and the circumstances surrounding the Guarlford Easement. It was agreed that no retrospective changes would be made but that a new paper would be written highlighting the current problems and possible solutions. Some of the problems mentioned included secrecy and [lack of] transparency, failure to meet accounting standards, governance by nominees rather than elected members and lack of budgetary control – the latest figures showed that the Conservators spent more on administration than care of the Hills.

Community Partnership/twinning a Malvern Worldwide BO reported no recent developments b Mariánské Lázně Spa Opening May 2021 In doubt due to the pandemic c Visit of the Fontana Choir On schedule subject to pandemic d Golf Club Reciprocal Visits IH said that he was in touch with a number of golf clubs g Landrecies No news h Bagnḕre de Bigorre No news

Any orther business None

NEXT MEETINGs Friday 18th December @ 0930 in the GMH.


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