£1.9 million awarded to city council to bring high street back to former glory
By Sophie Ladd | 10th September 2021
Cathedral Quarter is a four-year heritage led regeneration project that Gloucester City Council (GCC) are running.
The council bid to Historic England for some funding for a project called "high street action zones", of which GCC was successful. There is £1.9 million in the pot to run the project.
Punchline editor Mark Owen spoke to project manager Claire Dovey-Evans about the project.
"It is all about regenerating the high street through its heritage. We are offering grants to property owners to convert their upper floors to residential or other uses to get those vacant floor spaces back into use." Claire said.
She continued: "Grants vary from business to business, but we are offering 50% to get vacant floor space back in use, and up to 75% for improvements to facades. There are quite a few shop fronts that don't fit the character of the street or the character of the building they sit in.
"We will be appointing architects in the next week, the project will pay for the architects to draw up the plans so there is no risk to the owners at all."
The first shop front to be changed is that of Meeks shoe shop. It is to be converted with flats above and a new front. Headmasters Barbershop is after that, then the empty one next to it.
Claire said: "Simon Cartlidge architects are working on returning the buildings to their timber frames. Headmasters had a Georgian front put on it, common of the time to go with the fashions, so we want to remove that and return the building to its former glory."
There is a street scene survey that members of the public can fill out, telling the council which aspects of the street they like and don't like. That can be found here and filled out until October 1 when results will be collated.
The Cathedral Quarter project is also running a community engagement project called Westgate stories: asking people for information, old photographs or deeds they may have of the street. This will give a flavour of the street in the past and what it could soon look like when shop fronts begin to look more traditional.
There is also a bid for a separate pot of money, the cultural programme, of which the Gloucester Culture Trust are leading. In the Cathedral Quarter office on Westgate Street, there will be an artist in residence, based there once a week in November. There will also be one person running the Westgate stories project one day a week.
Also, there are going to be consultants based in the office so when the street scene designs are being made, people will be able to come in and see and comment on them.
Claire is also part of a team bidding to the Government's Levelling up Fund and to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to match that to also improve and open up the Fleece Hotel on the street.
There is a lot going on on the gate streets of Gloucester, and it looks like the centre of Gloucester is on the up!
Claire spoke to Mark and walked him through the Cathedral Quarter office, delving into the behind the scenes of the beautiful building it sits in.
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