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Gloucestershire Business News

Major investment for Cheltenham High Street

Major investment has been given the go-ahead for a Cheltenham shopping centre after it overturned a council decision.

Planners at the borough council originally refused the plans for a £500,000 facelift of the frontage of Regent Arcade, claiming it would "spoil the high street".

The shopping centre's owners, Canada Life, appealed the decision, and while it is celebrating its success in overturning the ruling the management of Regent Aracade is not gloating.

"That is not something we proactively do. We value our strong working relationship with the council so we would never gloat when this sort of thing occurs, their job is hard enough as it is," said Scott Lahive, centre manager for Regent Arcade.

"We appreciate the difficult job the council has in protecting the identity of the town and the conservation area.

"We believe the new facia will be in keeping with the recent developments on the high street and ensure the high street continues to re-purpose itself."

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There had been something of a step-change in perspective, he said, since plans were first filed, with everyone now understanding how much town centres had to change and how hard they had to work to continue to attract customers.

"All of this will tie in with the other work we have in the pipeline and will ensure the centre is modern and bright throughout," said Mr Lahive.

That other work includes, not least, the exciting plans for a cinema at the other end of the centre, fronting Regent Street, as well as the new leisure facility due to open later this year.

Other developments are also afoot for new brands to enter the frame, but he was not able to give us any details on the record just yet.

"We are in a very good position. We have just started to refurbish some of our vacant units with a view to announcing new occupiers. All being well we should be able to do that in the next two to three months," added Mr Lahive.

Planning Inspectorate JP Roberts granted permission for the scheme on appeal agreeing with Canada Life that it would help "bring commercial benefits" to Cheltenham.

Read more: Cheltenham restaurant's shock closure 

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