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Gloucestershire Business News

£30m city development on knife edge

The ambitious £30m development for Gloucester's Bakers Quay goes to planning committee next week (April 4).

Council officers have recommended planning permission for the project at the gateway of Gloucester Quays be granted, despite objections from a number of sources.

The proposal is for a 10-storey block of flats - with a total of 117 apartments, ranging from studio to three bedrooms, to create Gloucester's most energy efficient building, whilst also restoring the heritage of the site.

Rokeby Merchant Developments Ltd is seeking planning permission for listed building consent for the alteration, including partial demolition, restoration, development and extension of Downings Malthouse and the High Orchard Street Warehouse, plus the creation of a new basement level in Downings Malthouse accessed from Merchants Road to provide car parking, together with an extension and bridge link to Downings Malthouse Extension.

Plans include 60 sq m of commercial floorspace on the ground floor and basement car parking.

The proposed apartments will have space heating with efficiencies of 400 per cent, meaning for every kWh of electricity used, 4kWh of heat energy will be transferred from external atmosphere into the building, for use as space heating. Solar panels on the roof will provide power to the heat pumps.

Based on current electric costs, Rokeby estimates the owner of a two-bedroom apartment could save up to £1,800 per year in electric costs. This represents a 50 per cent fuel cost saving compared to a direct electric system and avoids the use of fossil fuels.

The developer is aiming for a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per apartment, compared to a direct electric system, and up to 80 per cent reduction compared to a gas system.

The proposed development will also have EV charging facilities in all car parking spaces, both in the basement and externally.

Speaking to earlier this year, Adrian Goodall of Rokeby Merchant Developments said that building a 10-storey apartment block is the only way to mitigate and spread the cost of the project. Without planning permission for the ambitious development, the derelict space is likely to remain for many years to come.

Punchline said: "This is a big meeting for the future of city. The gateway project has been in planning for far too long. At the moment, it looks like a derelict wasteland. The only way to get this project off the ground in the current financial climate is by building 10 storeys. The proposal also fits the bill for a greener future for the city.

"Now we await the decision from the planning committee. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Gloucester. It would be disastrous for the city if permission wasn't granted, Rokeby walks away and the project doesn't go ahead.

"As it stands, the current site is a blot on the landscape and an embarrassment to the city, when so much excellent work is currently being done by the council with the multimillion pound The Forum development on the other side of the city."

The area behind Gloucester Quays has been derelict for 25 years. Phase 1 of the Bakers Quay development, completed in 2018, brought a 104-bed Premier Inn, 47 apartments and a Costa drive-thru to the area.

Punchline approached representatives of Rokeby for a new comment, but they declined.

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