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Gloucestershire Business News

Building work well underway to restore Gloucester's Cathedral Quarter

Work on the £1.9million regeneration of The Cathedral Quarter is underway.

At least five buildings in Westgate Street  are covered by scaffolding with builders and conservationists toiling to restore their former glory but also make them fit for modern use.

The work has all been supported by the project which was launched last year after a successful bid by Gloucester City Council. It saw the area declared a Heritage Action Zone and awarded funding by Historic England.

It said Westgate's retail environment was "tired" with poor paving, inconsistent signage, and general clutter and it failed to attract locals or visitors.

The project is being carried out in partnership with Gloucester City Council, Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst LEP and Gloucester Cathedral.

A team of six have been working with local businesses and handing out grants and advice to help them uncover and preserve the beauty of their heritage and also generate more income from them.

The project also includes a public survey which has been completed and asked for ideas on restoring the area, grants for cultural events and the Westgate Stories drop-in sessions aimed at collecting first-person accounts of the area's past.

A call has now gone out for creatives to make use of the project hub in Westgate Street for exhibitions, workshops, and other events.

Claire Dovey-Evans, Cathedral Quarter project officer, told BBC Radio Gloucestershire: "We are inviting people to use the space. It's not huge but it's available for people to put up their work or do a workshop, have a book launch or a celebration evening.

"We are developing a real creative network in Westgate and we want more people to use this space to showcase what they are doing.

"Hopefully we will get a real variety of things happening over the next year."

Building projects which have been funded so far include:

-14 Westgate Street (Meeks Shoes) is a Grade II-listed building with a fine plaster work ceiling dating from the 17th century. The funding is being used to convert the upper floors of the property into flats and to conserve and restore the plasterwork.

-29 Westgate Street which is having a new shopfront installed drawing on Art Deco-style features in the upper windows to inform a period-appropriate design.

- 32-34 Westgate Street incorporate the remains of Gloucester's eighteenth-century Theatre Royal. First built in 1791, the theatre building was remodelled in 1922 when it was converted into a Woolworth's. More recently, it was home to Poundstretcher. Funding is being used to repair the roof and undertake an options appraisal to inform the future of the building.

-39 and 41 Westgate Street are early timber framed buildings, dating from the 16thC. Both have serious structural issues and are on the 'at risk' register. Owner Jake Etherton, of J Etherton Building Conservation, used the funding to consolidate the buildings, ensuring they are watertight and structurally sound. They are now being converted it into two apartments using original techniques such as stone dust mixed with hair, sourced from the barber shop below.

-88 Westgate Street, which sits on a prominent corner at Three Cocks Lane and represents a 'gap site' in the streetscape. The money is being used to give the modern, single-storey building a first storey and traditional shopfront in keeping with the rest of the street.

-99-103 Westgate Street which houses the Folk of Gloucester, formerly the Folk Museum. It is now being run by the Gloucester Civic Trust Ltd charity as a venue for exhibitions, events & activities. Funding is being used to increase accessibility in the community space and to repair and restore the 16/17th Century timber-framed facade.

-100 Westgate Street (The Dick Whittington) is an early timber framed building which had a Georgian façade added in the 1700s. Funding will be used to secure the façade, replacing modern, inappropriate materials with traditional ones, and re-purposing the upper floor as function rooms.

-The former Fleece Hotel is a Grade I-listed complex of buildings comprising a 12th Century undercroft, 15th Century timber-framed halls above, and other later buildings. Funding is being used to expose more of the medieval timbers allowing proper recording and conservation to take place prior to future regeneration efforts.

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