Chairman’s Letter

Dear Member,
I hope that this letter finds you well.
Last April I optimistically wrote to all Pershore Civic Society members hoping that, as the Summer of 2021 progressed, we would be able to emerge from our self-imposed COVID 19 isolation to pursue a more normal pattern of activity. Although the Summer weather may have disappointed, I am pleased to report that the Pershore Civic Society appears to have been able to shake off most of the shackles that have bound us! We are in robust health!

Looking to the future, whilst we still aim to proceed with appropriate caution when we congregate, your committee have resolved to implement as full a programme of events as possible. To this end you will already have received from Debbie Rowley our green programme card setting out the events planned for the rest of 2021 and the start of 2022.

Our first event took place in Malvern on probably one of the only truly hot days of 2021. The Malvern Civic Society hosted a visit to the historic centre of Malvern — culminating with a guided tour of the Priory.
Our second event was to be a visit to Steve Cooper’s forge in Bridge Street on 25th August. The event was enormously popular and was over-subscribed very early. However, as things turned out, Steve was “pinged” the night before and the event had to be postponed until 2022. To console ourselves some of us took the opportunity to retain the post-visit booking to the Star in Bridge Street where a superb supper awaited.

Our next planned event will be another open-air event This time it is to Kevin O’Neil’s organic orchard in Walcot Lane on October 6th at 5.00pm. Invitations have already been issued. Another healthy attendance is predicted —so please respond without delay to Susan Ellis.

Meanwhile, on the Town Planning front, I hope that you will be encouraged to hear that the Civic Society Planning Sub Committee has not been resting on its laurels! The case for the retention of the current Almonry Close buildings has been building. As you may recall, these buildings located opposite Pershore’s Abbey Park, were designed by Darborne and Darke, the internationally renowned award-winning social housing architects.
Their replacement with a densely urban project by Rooftop Housing Association is being opposed by the Civic Society and by dozens of residents. The period for making public comments on the proposals is now over. The Pershore Civic Society has commissioned a professionally produced Heritage Impact Assessment (see attached) which concludes that the proposed development will cause “less than substantial harm” to the setting of the designated heritage assets in the Close. This technical view provides concrete material to support the case for retention. The application is likely to be decided at the 16th September 2pm Wychavon Planning Committee meeting. Participation online is also possible although more impact is likely if members wishing to express their view attend in person. The Pershore Civic Society will request an opportunity to speak at the meeting. Please consider attending in person.

Your committee and I hope that you will continue to join them in supporting the full range of visits and talks organised for the balance of this year and the start of 2022. We also hope that you will do what you can to support the Civic Society’s endeavours to promote civic pride by representing the interests of all residents and by preserving our heritage in all its forms — ancient and modern! It’s what we do best!

Michael Hodges