A NEW memorial to one of the pioneers of Malvern's water cure is set to be created close to the town centre.

The memorial, to Dr James Wilson, is proposed for the junction of Abbey Road and Priory Road, according to a new planning application submitted to Malvern Hills District Council.

And if the application is approved, it is hoped the monument will be erected by the autumn.

Dr Wilson was one of the first medical men to bring the water cure, or 'hydropathy' to Malvern, thus putting the town on the map in the 19th century.

The project is a joint venture involving the civic society, Malvern Hills District Council, Malvern Spa Association and the county highways department.

Denise Preston of the civic society said: "Wilson was one of the two pioneer hydropathic doctors who set up the Malvern water cure in what was then the village of Great Malvern. Malvern became the town we know today as a direct consequence of the water cure."

The new memorial will occupy the same site as an elaborate Victorian memorial to Dr Wilson, that was erected in 1877 but demolished in 1948 after becoming dilapidated.

The old memorial, shaped like a spire and containing a water source, reminded many onlookers of a smaller version of the famous Albert Memorial in London

However, the proposed new memorial is more modest: a slab of stone with two embossed metal plaques, one bearing an image of the original monument, and the second with the text from that monument.

The cost, about £10,000, is being met out of Section 106 money paid to MHDC by developer Laing when it built the nearby Croftdown Court.

The plan also envisages tidying up the area with new low-maintenance planting and bench seats. The existing horse chestnut tree will remain. Malvern Town Council has agreed to maintain the monument and its surrounding area.