Chair of Malmesbury Town Team, Cllr Campbell Ritchie

Malmesbury Shop Owners and Councillors make plans to improve the High Street

Malmesbury Town Team and Malmesbury Town Council jointly hosted local business owners and town council members for a meeting titled 'Unpacking Your Place: Malmesbury' to build a strategy to keep the High Street healthy. 

An initial workshop last September provided council, business and community representatives with an opportunity to share ideas about how they could work together to make the town even better.

Last week’s “What happens next?” session was  chaired by town mayor Cllr Gavin Grant and led by Graham Soult FIPM – an expert on ‘place’ management. It  provided business owners and key town centre stakeholders the opportunity to plan and shape the future of Malmesbury High Street and its surrounding trading areas.

Over 30 attendees gathered to hear retail consultant Graham, well known for his expertise in revitalising high streets, present his comprehensive report on the future of Malmesbury High Street. 

Retailers who attended the workshop included David and Karen Drake (Caerbladon), Chris Brooks (Brooks Independent Funeral Directors), Jenny Brady (Bertie B’s) & Amanda Wallis (Barn Owl Books).

Graham praised the town saying: “We all know that Malmesbury is a lovely town with remarkable heritage, a delightful mix of independent shops, cafés, restaurants and other businesses, and a growing programme of events throughout the year. These assets are something to be celebrated.

“It was a pleasure to return to the town five months later for this first follow-up session, and to open up the conversation to a wider group of businesses.”

Attendees broke out into small groups to brainstorm and uncover key factors they could control locally. Findings included the importance of community-driven events in attracting footfall, improving sign-posting to key locations, working with owners and landlords to speed the reletting of vacant units, improving information to help decision making and welcome packs to new businesses and residents. 

Participants stressed the importance of engaging current town residents as well as tourists to support the longevity of Malmesbury's businesses.

A unanimous decision was reached: independent traders and business owners recognised the essential need for a business networking group for the town. 

Cllr Grant emphasised the necessity for volunteers from business owners to take the lead in bringing this vision to life.

He said “It is important that whatever the challenges we face as a town, we must work together so our high street continues to thrive. We would encourage retailers and other local businesses to come together to meet regularly to build relationships, share ideas and create collaborations with each other and with other organisations including the Town Team, the Town Council and others.”

Recognising the critical role of data in informing decision-making, attendees highlighted the  need to add to existing information to build more knowledge about  on consumer behaviour and preferences.

Chair of Malmesbury Town Team, Campbell Ritchie, said ‘We know from Wiltshire Council data that Malmesbury town centre is performing better than most other comparable town centres but it is important to collect and pool our local information so that our retailers, businesses the Town Council and the Town Team can make the best decisions on how to promote our town to residents, neighbouring communities and further afield. 

“This will be a priority and we are encouraged by the willingness of all participants at the workshop, including Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury Abbey, the Town Council and businesses themselves to work together on this objective. 

He continued. ‘This meeting was an important next step in developing an increased sense of shared business purpose across the town. More activity will follow and we will actively support all the additional networking and collaboration that will result.”

Anyone who wants to contribute an idea or be part of any High Street networking group should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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A wonderful place to visit with a wealth of attractions right on the doorstep.


MALMESBURY is a vibrant, market town, steeped in history going back to medieval times. Currently home to many famous & popular musical, cultural, and festival events throughout the year, visitors can browse the charming streets with independent retailers, or stop at one of the lively cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars.

Attractions to visit include the stunning 12th century Malmesbury Abbey, 15th century Market Cross and the Athelstan Museum with a painting of Malmesbury Abbey by JMW Turner. There are also lovely walks along the River Avon.



Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9BZ

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