REDDITCH has come in the top three towns in England with the most potential for ‘levelling-up’ post-pandemic thanks to its rich historical and industrial heritage.
The rating comes from the RSA Heritage Index which finds the town offers huge potential to exploit its heritage assets to aid its recovery after Covid-19 has passed.
And the RSA – the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – is further calling on the government to do more to support heritage in areas like Redditch to fulfil its ‘levelling up’ agenda promised during the 2019 election campaign.
Redditch has a rich history, ranging from Icknield Street, the Roman road that runs through the middle of the town, to Bordesley Abbey and on to its global role in the needle, fish hook and spring making industries.
Famously it was also the home of world famous motorcycle marque Royal Enfield and BSA – to name just two.
Hannah Webster, senior researcher at the RSA, said: “Heritage can be a real vehicle for economic growth and keeping money in the local economy – we’re hoping these areas take a look at the amazing heritage assets they have and use them as an opportunity to level up.
“Rethinking how we use our heritage is imperative if the industry is to thrive in the 21st century. The heritage sector, local authorities and others should be looking at how they can use their untapped assets, and how the sector can build back to a more inclusive vision of heritage.”
Redditch local history supporter Derek Coombes said: “Seeing Redditch third in the top 10 ranking in the RSA survey confirms what I, and many people in the town believe, we don’t do enough to promote the town’s long and illustrious history.
“This is why we have formed a new group to campaign for, and run, a Heritage Centre in the town and we are seeking Borough Council support by including history and heritage as a central theme in their ‘Unlocking Redditch’ plans.”
Castle Point in the Thames Estuary is put in first position for heritage potential, followed by Chorley, and then Redditch, ahead of areas like Gravesham, Rochford and Tower Hamlets.
To view trhe RSA report, visit thersa.org or see pride-in-place-rsa-heritage-index-2020.pdf