Business expert: Delivering employment sites in Gloucestershire
5th June 2019
The Joint Core Strategy adopted by Gloucester City, Cheltenham Borough and Tewkesbury District Councils outlines the need for improved infrastructure and well-located and functional employment sites across Gloucestershire.
Liz Shield, a planning consultant for SF Planning, takes a look at where and, more importantly, when that work will be taking place.
In March 2019, Gloucestershire County Council made a Bid to Homes England for funding to upgrade junction 10 of the M5 motorway to allow all-routes access into and out of Cheltenham.
The proposed junction and upgrades to the A4019 would ease the pressure on smaller roads around the town, alleviate commuter traffic and provide new access to identified employment land around the north and west of Cheltenham.
It is part of a number of necessary highways upgrades all of which will hopefully reduce congestion to the west of the town. If the bid succeeds, the work is set to be completed by 2024.
But that's not the only significant news around the county.
In February, an appeal was allowed for a large-scale office development on land at Grovefield Way in Hatherley, one that would see a new nursery and Aldi supermarket being built.
The inspector focused on the "longstanding important objective of delivering a new business park development in Cheltenham," and placed significant emphasis on the pressing need for office space, in light of the "critical shortage" of suitable sites.
The decision also noted the fact that the rate of job growth is exceeding the national average and is forecast to be strong over the next 20 years.
Elsewhere in Cheltenham, look out for the continuation of works at Dowdeswell Park, to transform the utilitarian buildings into a well-designed hub for artisan food producers and creative industries.
Also, this year, we are likely to see a detailed application for the early phases of development at the Cheltenham Cyber Park, close to GCHQ.
The site is intended to be a centre for cyber security companies. It forms part of an allocation in the JCS (which also included housing) and there are policies in the emerging Cheltenham Plan to support the growing cyber security sector.
The Cheltenham plan inspector recently said that the plan "could be found sound subject to modifications". We await further information as to what that means in practice.
Meanwhile in Gloucester, there are a number of approved employment sites awaiting completion including the new G-TEM facility at Gloucester Business Park, which we advised on in 2018.
This will provide space for around 150 new employees. Unfortunately, there is no news yet on the commencement of works at Kings Quarter, but that is definitely one to watch out for, as office space is included within that scheme.
During the next few years, the completion of several large developments, in conjunction with infrastructure upgrades, looks to increase the number of job opportunities in the area and boost investment, in line with development plan objectives.
Overall, it's clear to see that progress is being made towards delivering suitable, accessible employment sites in Gloucestershire.
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