Decision made on new Dockside food quarter
By Andrew Merrell and Matt Hall | 11th January 2019
Developers that wanted to radically change plans for a new waterfront food destination on the north side of Gloucester Docks have their answer.
Originally it was intended that five full scale restaurants would be built at the rear of listed buildings in Commercial Road on Ladybellegate Quay next to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
Then in November property owners L&R Group said it wanted to alter the plan to create "Gloucester Food Dock".
It described this as 15 much smaller food businesses in "contemporary, modular steel units attached to an extension of the existing Grade II listed buildings, giving it an urban, industrial feel with terraces and views over the water".
The plans submitted to Gloucester City Council for the complex were said to be designed specifically for independent, regional food operators, offering a variety of sizes and styles, and those plans have now been approved.
When complete the development is expected to create as many as 75 new jobs.
According to property advisers JLL, which has been working with L&R Group, several businesses are already in advanced discussions with L&R Group about taking on space in the new food destination.
Daniel Milford, senior surveyor for property consultants JLL, added: "The strong interest we've had from regional food operators already, plus recent successes of independent-focused food destinations, particularly in waterside locations, confirm that this is exactly the right way to go for Gloucester.
"It will bring a whole new offer to the city and exactly the link we've long been waiting for between the docks and the city-centre."
L&R Group said: "Gloucester Food Dock will reflect recent changes in people's habits and preferences when it comes to eating out, including an increasing emphasis on smaller, independent and one-off outlets.
"Businesses that have been attracted to the dockside location, heritage building and showstopping view so far encompass Asian street food, charcoal grilled meats, coffee roasters, bakeries, craft beer and fish and chips."
All of which would compliment the likes of award-winning independent restaurant Greek on the Docks, just a stone throw away from the site.
Sarah Mansfield, L&R operations director, said: "We are bringing together a group of energetic, creative and dedicated regional food businesses which share our vision to create an exciting new waterfront food hub specialising in tasty, independently produced food.
"Some will be very new and others more established, but they will be chosen because they complement each other, are dedicated to producing fantastic food and have a sense of theatre."
With the completion of the public space around Back Badge Square and the grand staircase at the north end of the docks, the new waterfront destination is seen as ideally suited to public events and performances, complementing venues and locations already in the city.
Comments on the plans were almost unanimously positive.
The urban design planners consulted said: "The proposed development of smaller restaurant units, with a focus on independent and local occupiers with a market character is well suited to this location and will be a positive addition to the area.
"The reduction in scale from the extant permission is welcome and more subservient to the listed building."
The city archaeologist called for "mitigation study" to be carried out on the side to avoid damage to any "archaeological remains of probable medieval date" which might be hiding there.
The go-ahead for the development comes after the city also welcomed its first major influx of students into the nearby new university halls of residents and saw two other planning application approved for student accommodation in the city.
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