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Gloucestershire Business News

VIDEO: Gloucester reveals plans for new quarter to level up city

Gloucester City Council has announced a bid for £12.5 million of Levelling Up Funding for an ambitious new scheme.

The project would transform the area around the Eastgate Shopping Centre into a vibrant new garden quarter.

Plans for the Greyfriars Quarter will see part of the shopping centre, including the market hall, refurbished and repurposed and spaces constructed for community activities, a new market and food hall, as well as a park and gardens, all set within the grounds of the 13th century Greyfriars monastery.

If successful, the bid would enable the market hall to be relocated to another part of the Eastgate Shopping centre, with a contemporary new design that would see it open up onto a landscaped courtyard garden

The current market hall would be revamped to house a multi-purpose performance space for dance, music, fitness, cinema, community and leisure events.

It would be linked to a unique covered outdoor space, with an orangery and outdoor dining area, within the remains of the beautiful Greyfriars monastery.

The plan also includes a proposal to create serviced apartments, providing a unique place to stay, and new flexible workspaces within the refurbished 18th century house adjacent to the friary.

The exciting new scheme, supported by MP Richard Graham, would also see the construction of a new urban park, outdoor gym, play area and cycle hub.

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: "This additional opportunity is a clear statement of intent by the Government to help restore our city centres into great places to live in and visit.

"It's a great opportunity for us in Gloucester to re-imagine the Eastgate Market, re-roof and re-use Greyfriars creatively and bring both the Greyfriars Bowling Club and Addison's Folly back to life and public use, for the first time in a generation.

"Our bid will turn this under-appreciated corner of Gloucester into something to be proud of, for residents and visitors, with economic, job, health and environmental benefits. It cannot start early enough - and I will be doing all I can to persuade the Government of this bid's merits."

Speaking exclusively to Punchline-Gloucester.com, Richard Graham continued: "The reason why this project works so well, is because almost all the assets there are in city council ownership.

"I've had dreams about Greyfriars for a long time, turning it into what Blackfriars is now and bringing it back to life, and I knew this was going to cost a lot of money. The council is asset rich and cash poor, but now we've got an opportunity to do it."

Councillor Richard Cook, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "The Greyfriars Quarter would continue the council's commitment to regenerate Gloucester's city centre and would complement the multi-million pound regeneration projects already taking place across the city.

"Greyfriars is designed to bring the community back into the heart of the city while making the most of our beautiful heritage with a thoroughly modern design."

The bid follows the council's previous successful bid to the Government's Levelling Up fund last year, which saw it successfully granted £20 million.

It will enable the redevelopment of the University of Gloucestershire City Campus in the former Debenhams, the renovation of the Fleece Hotel and creation of The Forge, a digital hub aimed at the cyber and knowledge economy as part of the £107 million The Forum development. 

The city council will hear if the bid has been successful in the autumn, with work set to begin soon afterwards.

Richard Graham said: "With the Levelling Up Fund, you have to get your bid in quick, you get the money quick and you have to do the action quick. It all has to be done by about the end of 2024."

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