PLANS to relocate the tourist information centre have been put on hold, according to the new district council leader.

Malvern Hills District Council intended to demolish Priory Lodge, in Avenue Road, and replace it with a new building to house the centre.

But Cllr David Chambers, the new council leader, said this move has been delayed due to the building being listed.

Locals have previously called for the centre to remain in its present location in Church Street, Malvern.

Cllr Chambers said: "A listed building status was placed on Priory Lodge Council Chamber.

"Right now we are back at square one. Any plans to relocate have been put on hold because of the decision regarding Priory Lodge with it being a listed building.

"Priory Lodge would have been demolished and a new single-storey building would have been linked to the current Council House.

"That was what council approved and that was the plan that would have served Malvern so well."

Cllr Chambers said Priory Lodge was of 'little historical significance' and in a poor state of repair, with a future lifespan of 10 years.

He said the listing was the only reason work had not progressed on demolishing the building.

The councillor added that the council has not yet decided whether to challenge the listing.

Roger Sutton, vice chairman of Malvern Civic Society, said: "Because they can't demolish Priory Lodge Hall it means they can't move the tourist information centre.

"They are very embarrassed about the whole thing. The whole thing was approved on Tuesday, September 20.

"The idea was to renovate Council House, demolish Priory Lodge and build a £1.5m building.

"For a council worried about austerity to consider spending £1.5m on a new building is a questionable decision."

Mr Sutton said the Priory Lodge aspect of this plan has been thwarted.

Locals have opposed the plans to move the centre and a petition started by a business owner has reached 2,500 signatures.

Rodney Randle, aged 71, set up the petition after hearing locals complain about plans to move the centre.

Mr Randle, the owner of Malvern Goldsmiths, has given forms to shops and hotels around Malvern.

Malvern Hills District Council plans to move the centre from its present location, in Church Street, to a new community building in Avenue Road.

Mr Randle said: "No one wants to see it moved. I've spoken to two people who said it will be alright down the bottom.

"That's two people out of about 2,500. Local people are definitely incensed about it. If you stop someone in the street they will say it's stupid.

"It is in the centre of Malvern and from almost every direction it can be seen. It's the obvious place for it.

"Malvern is a tourist town and I would think it's the single biggest industry in Malvern. They are closing down the shop window."

The business owner suggested that some district councillors voted to move the centre because they represented areas outside of the town, which would be unaffected by the move.

Mr Randle said one of his employees counted 2,560 signatures after collecting petition sheets from nine local shops and two hotels.

He added that he had not even taken forms down to businesses in Barnards Green and Malvern Link.

Mr Randle intends to stop collecting signatures at the end of June and will then deliver the petition to the head of Malvern Hills District Council.

The district council made the decision to move the centre in a bid to find £1.45m in savings by 2020/21.

A spokesman said the centre costs £100,000 a year to run and that the move would bring it closer to the town's public car parks, theatre and railway station.

The town council is also against the move and has set up an online petition, which has 567 signatures.

To sign the town council's petition visit

UPDATE (19/05): The building was listed as a Grade II property by Historic England on Tuesday, January 24. 

The body said Priory Lodge is a good example of an early 20th century school gym built for educational purposes. 

They added that the building has survived relatively unaltered and has a historical link with Council House.

Priory Lodge was built in 1919 as a gymnasium for the school in Council House, and became a council chamber after 1974.

To read more about the listing click here.