Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The trustees have held many meetings with a wide range of folks to help identify risks/issues to be managed, and to discuss new opportunities and idea. We are very grateful for everyone’s feedback. Many thanks to everyone who has helped us improve and enhance the programme. If you have any comments on the Evesham Abbey programme, please get in touch via the Contact form.
Who currently owns the site of Evesham Abbey?
The site was privately owned by the Rudge family until May 2017 when the freehold was transferred to the trust for the site to be developed for the benefit of Evesham.
What needs to be in place for this programme to go forward?
The trust have spent a lot of time working through the details and implications of this multi-year multi-project programme. Four fundamental issues have been identified:
- Security of tenure
- Acceptable legal conditions of transfer
- Permission for proposed work
- Adequate vehicular access
- Sufficient funding
The trustees have had some very productive meetings with Historic England regarding permission for the proposed programme (as the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument). There have also been very useful meetings with Wychavon DC and the Rudge Estate regarding provision of vehicular access. Furthermore, the Rudge family support the programme and have offered the site as a gift. The key outstanding issue facing the trust is the question of funding.
Does Evesham need another large garden to add to the very well-regarded Abbey Park?
Abbey Park is indeed well-regarded; and rightly so. The park is well-maintained with colourful planting and visitor amenities (band stand, play area, benches, skate park, etc.). The programme does not aim to provide additional parkland; but instead to create a high-quality heritage garden. The Nave Garden and Cloister Garden will supplement the appeal of Abbey Park. Indeed, by adding to the heritage attractions in the centre of Evesham, the programme aims to help establish a ‘heritage quarter’ which will not only attract tourists but also be a source of pride for the town.
What about future maintenance? Who will look after this site?
Two key design principles have been established: low maintenance and high quality. However, whatever the design, there will be a need for future maintenance and management. Various options for future management have been considered:
- Managing the site under the Evesham Abbey Trust
- Wychavon DC taking over the management
- The National Trust or similar body accepting management
Each of these options has been closely considered and discussed, with provisional costs and approach set out for each. It is the intention of the trust to maintain and manage the site until an appropriate partner is identified with a credible plan to take on this important heritage site.
How will access to the site be controlled (there is a risk the site might become a haven for druggies or drunks)?
The site will only be open during the daytime and will be secured at night. There likely be one or more gardeners on site during the day – undertaking routine maintenance – who can help ensure that the site is respected. In addition, careful layout and design of the new public gardens will ensure that there are few secluded or isolated spaces. Additionally, the site is very close to the police station, and if there are social order problems then requests will be made for police officers and CSOs to patrol the site. CCTV could be included if thought necessary. Finally, it might be possible to apply a Public Space Protection Order to the site.
If ownership is transferred to a body linked to Evesham Town Council this may initiate legal protection. Is Evesham Abbey Trust linked to the council?
Evesham Abbey Trust is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and is not in any way connected with either Evesham Town Council, Wychavon District Council or Worcestershire County Council. A charity can hold title to land or property in its own name if it’s a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) or a charitable company.
Could there be space for working allotments?
The Evesham Town Plan Summary talks about “Protecting the area’s horticultural history and heritage.” The northern section is planned to become the Nave Garden, while the central section is planned to become the Cloister Garden. In the medium term the southern section, with the exception of new site access, could be retained as working allotments. The trust has not developed an agreed design for the southern section of the abbey site. Amongst the options available for this area is retention as allotments.
Doesn’t the Evesham Custom protect the existing allotment holders?
The Evesham Custom has been largely replaced by various horticulture acts. Moreover, the Custom applies to (commercial) market gardeners to provide them with security of tenure and certainty in making capital investment. Our understanding is that the allotments are not commercial market gardens and that the Evesham Custom does not apply.
Do you have question which has not been answered?
If you have any thoughts or comments, or further questions or queries, then please get in touch via the Contact form. Many thanks in advance for your help and your feedback!