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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester Quays opening gateway to "investable city"

"Gloucester is an investable city" - the words of Jason Pullen, managing director of Lifestyle Outlets which owns Gloucester Quays and the Peel Centre.

And, talking exclusively to Punchline-Gloucester.com, he outlined plans to develop the area around the Quays further to create a gateway to the city.

While retail has taken a big hit over the last few months beset by the coronavirus pandemic - high street clothing sales between February and August were down 15.7 per cent across the UK - Gloucester Quays saw a 2.5 per cent rise in sales over the same period.

And Mr Pullen believes this is partly down to the Quays' position at the Docks, close to the city centre.

He said: "We've taken what is traditionally an out of town use (retail park/ outlet shopping) and driven it into the city.

"It's part of what is a much bigger regeneration of the city which is still going on with £125million investment on the waterfront at Monks Meadow by Crest Nicholson."

He continued: "As a developer, we want to see more public space and more people living and enjoying those spaces.

"Gloucester is a great city - it's such a walkable city. You can walk from the Quays to the Cathedral and the city centre in a comfortable 10 minutes and that's really important.

"That connectivity is to the benefit of all the businesses. The more people the Quays brings in from Cheltenham, Birmingham and Bristol, the more they go into the city centre to shop and to visit the Cathedral."

He believes the Docks, the Quays and the regeneration of Monks Meadow and Hempsted are as important to the regeneration of Gloucester as plans for King's Square.

"As a city, Gloucester has a real passion to get going with the cultural initiatives and the proactive regeneration process with the county and city councils," he said. "Our MP Richard Graham deserves a lot of credit in trying to drive that forward."

But just because the Quays is performing well - new tenants Tommy Hilfiger, Molton Brown, Beauty Outlet and Neon Sheep replacing some of those who have left - it does not mean Lifestyle Outlets is resting on its laurels.

The next stage is to look at the Peel Centre, the canal corridor and the Madleaze Industrial Estate, part of the 25 acres of brownfield land owned by the company

"The Peel Centre will be going through a rebranding and becoming part of Gloucester Quays," said Mr Pullen. "It is a really important strategic site, it's aligned to the city centre.

"It's suffered for a number of years because of the retail demand issue which pushed a lot of retail out to Eastern Avenue and even beyond that.

"We think the Peel Centre is a fantastic opportunity and Gloucester is a completely investable city."

He continued: "We're looking beyond Covid, and we're not sure exactly when that will be, but we're looking to a potential second phase of investment on our estate.

"Part of that will be looking at the Peel Centre and its purpose. How can it better serve and link with the city? Do we need a bit less retail on there? Is there an opportunity to enliven the canal corridor? Could additional residential work along the waterfront to get people living closer to the city with all the benefits that brings?

"The Madleaze Industrial Estate is important, because every job is important, especially now.

"We're not talking about closing any businesses down, but we're looking at the natural asset of the canal corridor and we just want to work with the city to examine how investable it is."

Lifestyle Outlets' plans are still at the feasibility stage, but changes are coming to this part of the city.

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