Pershore’s new mayor, the town’s youngest ever, has promised to tackle ‘bad development’.

Councillor Matthew Winfield, 34, was elected as mayor of Pershore Town Council last night, taking over from councillor Julian Palfrey.

In his opening address, the new mayor discussed a range of topics, including Pershore’s ongoing recovery from Covid, climate change, and Brexit.

One aim he made clear, was his desire to tackle bad development.

He said: “When I stood for election in 2019, I identified ‘bad’ development as the principal challenge confronting the town. I believe that remains the case.

“Benjamin Disraeli warned that Victorian Britain risked becoming two nations, the rich and the poor. Similarly, current development risks creating two Pershores, a commuter Pershore and a residential one.

“In order to assimilate the newcomers, we need to revitalise our town centre. There, the two Pershore’s can mix and become one.”

Mayor Winfield, who has been on the council for nine years, highlighted the importance of two recently announced proposals, the restoration of Broad Street and the redevelopment of the area north of Asda, in uniting the ‘two Pershores’.

READ MORE: Broad Street in Pershore could become town square

He also noted the progress in transport developments, namely the Northern Link project and the car park extension at the railway station.

He added: “Although I cannot be certain, I would Like to think that the feedback and protestations made by this council, and many like it, have had some influence on those who shape the plan against which development unfolds.

“Some of you may be surprised to learn that there is a plan. I can assure you it exists. Sadly, its framework gives us only an advisory role. We are statutory consultees, with no power to determine planning applications.

“Although development of the sort envisaged under the South Worcestershire Development Plan is generally unwelcome, the decision to shift the emphasis away from extending existing settlements like Pershore to building new ones is welcome.

“As Thucydides put it, ‘the strong will do as they will, and the weak will suffer what they must’. We will do our best to remain strong, and will continue to lobby for the sort of development which is appropriate to Pershore. At this stage, we can do no more.”

Councillor Winfield closed his address by saying: “May I wish you all well for this forthcoming year, a jubilee year no less, with many events being held in Pershore and elsewhere to celebrate.

“Our nation is blessed in having a monarchy, and we are blessed to live in this, the jewel in the crown of Worcestershire. We must not take it for granted, and as your Mayor, I will not.”

At the annual meeting, on Thursday May 12, councillor Richard Grantham was elected as deputy mayor for the upcoming year.

Meanwhile, councillors Valerie Smith and Julie Hemming were elected to the management group.

Councillor Smith was also elected to the internal monitoring group, along with councillors Peter Brookbank and Charles Tucker.