REDDITCH Borough Council has identified the historic town centre as being 'at risk' in a report.

A management plan of the Church Green conservation area highlighted areas for concern, including the 'poor state' of shopfronts, parking around St Stephen's Church and Unicorn Hill, as well as vacant units.

Historic England asks local authorities every year to assess whether listed buildings and conservation areas can be assessed as being ‘at risk’ using their assessment criteria.

The report was discussed at the council's executive committee meeting on Tuesday (December 8).

Some of the suggestions to improve the conservation area raised in the report includes encouraging shopkeepers to upgrade the front of their shops and introducing traffic orders to stop parking around the church.

The conservation area includes St Stephen’s Church, Market Place, Church Green West and Church Green East, as well as some buildings on Alcester Street. The area also extends partly along Church Road, William Street, Unicorn Hill, Bates Hill and Evesham Walk.

The area may become eligible for funding from historic England to address some of the issues raised if it is formally granted 'at risk' status.

Leader of Redditch Borough Council Matthew Dormer said in the meeting: “We need to protect the town centre and enhance it where we can, reduce the parking issues, reduce the traffic through the town centre as well.

“I think this will be key to help regenerate the town centre.”

Deputy leader Mike Rouse said: “There is a risk that the heritage and conservation zone could degrade over time. There is no danger of any buildings falling down.

“This is actually a positive thing to have this area listed at risk because it allows us to then go and seek investment which is much needed into this area.”