Cheltenham Civic Society is an independent charitable organisation whose aim is to maintain the special architectural qualities of Cheltenham and its environment, and to encourage good design in new developments.
With the active voluntary support of its members it:
Cheltenham Civic Society is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), registered with the Charity Commission, No. 1166580. It operates in accordance with the provisions of the Charities Act 2011. Its charitable objects include the promoting of high standards of planning and architecture locally; the preservation, protection, development and care of features of historic or public interest; and educating the public on such topics. This is set out in more detail in the society's constitution, which can be seen here.
The Society is managed by up to 12 Trustees, elected by members and operating as an Executive Committee, who hold office for terms governed by the constitution. The current Chair is Maxine Melling. Membership is open to anyone interested in furthering the aims of the Society.
Minutes of Executive Committee Meetings can be seen here.
The first Cheltenham Civic Society was founded in 1925, but by the end of the 1930's had ceased to meet. In 1950 a Regency Society was formed from the remaining members of the Civic Society and the Cheltenham branch of the local Georgian Group, but this too was short-lived.
It was the 1955 publication of architectural critic, Ian Nairn's article Outrage in the Architectural Review, in which he coined the term 'Subtopia' to describe the post-war spoiling of our towns and cities by a failed planning system, that raised awareness across the country of poor design, traffic planning and street clutter.
The Society has since flourished, and in 1964 Lord Parmoor gifted the Society his house at 13 Lypiatt Terrace:
'… that the Society should have a headquarters from which it can pursue its activities and use every endeavour to influence the future development of the town so that its character may, as far as possible, be preserved and its beauty enhanced.'
13 Lypiatt Terrace, re-named Parmoor House in honour of Lord Parmoor, dates from 1862 and is a Grade II listed building. S W Daukes began building Lypiatt Terrace in an exceptional Italianate-style in 1847.
Parmoor House is the headquarters of the Cheltenham Civic Society, and is used for meetings, events and a regular programme of lectures.
The ground and first floor meeting rooms are available for hire and are used by many other local organisations who value the quiet, period charm of this conveniently situated house, just a few minutes from the busy Montpellier area.
Some of Cheltenham’s leading business and professional organisations are corporate members of the Society, and are valued for the broader representation and support that they bring.
Cheltenham Civic Society is affiliated to Civic Voice, which is the national organisation for the civic movement in England.
Griff Rhys Jones is President of Civic Voice and our own Freddie Gick is Chairman. For further information, visit the Civic Voice website.