GREAT Malvern residents are being urged to support their town centres in the run-up to Christmas.

The call, from Malvern Hills District Council, comes after a number of shop-front properties in the town centre have fallen vacant in recent times.

These include two estate agents’ offices next-door to each other in Worcester Road, a shop on Belle Vue terrace, and premises in Church Street, including a former travel agency and Claremont House Pharmacy, which has moved to Barnards Green.

But one of the estate agent’s premises in Worcester Road is set to re-open as a beauty salon, while the former newsagent on the corner of Church Street and Church Walk is to become an independent deli and coffe shop called Faun.

Simon Smith, economic development manager for Malvern Hills District Council, said: “There has always been natural churn in occupation on the high street and the recent rise in vacancies in Great Malvern is to an extent an example of that.

“The good news is we have a number of new businesses who have taken on these premises and are open, or opening shortly.

“Town centres across the country are going through a transition as retailers adapt to changes in shopping habits. There is no doubt our town centres will look different and be used in a different way in future.

“Our economy policy development panel is working on a vision for all the district’s town centres.

“The public have a big part to play though and with Christmas coming up I would urge everyone to show their high street some love this festive season and go out into our town centres and shop local.

“We have fantastic local retailers, and shopping locally supports jobs, ensures more money is kept in the local economy and has environmental benefits too.”