£7.5m bus station arrives on time – next stop King's Square
By Andrew Merrell | 14th May 2018
A pre-Dark Age ritual honoured the rebuilding of one of the landmark entrances to Gloucester.
Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, led a 'topping out' ceremony to celebrate what is an important milestone for the new £7.5 million bus station.
The ancient custom, which some believe can be traced as far back thousands of years, is said to bring good luck to a new building by appeasing spirits disturbed by the construction.
"Topping out goes back to ancient Persia. Back in those days we would have poured wine on the roof, but we won't be that because it will take too long to clean off. They would also have had a human sacrifice. We won't be doing that either, for precisely the same reason," jokes Ian Edwards, head of place at Gloucester City Council.
Representatives from the city council gathered with partners GFirst LEP, construction company Kier, representatives from architects BDP and dignitaries from Gloucestershire including Lord Lieutenant Dame Janet Trotter to mark the completion of the roof.
"You wait an age for a regeneration scheme to come along and then a whole load arrive at once," said Cllr James, listing projects including Blackfriars, Bakers Quay, Gloucester Quays, Gloucester Prison and Project Pilgrim at the Cathedral.
"Some said this project had to be scaled back radically. That is not the case.
"I will stick my neck out and say the next project will be King's Square. I am hoping for a planning application by the end of this summer."
Spades could be in the ground as early as next year on the much-awaited re-development of the city centre square.
Dean of Gloucester, the Very Reverend Stephen Lake, also chairman of the Gloucester Regeneration Advisory Board, said: "There have been years of talking in this city - but now we have so many projects coming together at the same time. There is an increasing sense of pride and confidence."
Ben Ramsey, operations direct for Kier, said: "This development is key for us and for Gloucester city centre. We are happy with how everything has gone and the feedback has been good."
David Owen, chief executive officer of GFirstLEP, which part funded the bus station scheme thanks all the partners involved.
"This is really important for us at the local enterprise partnership that the city has the right infrastructure and one it can be proud of.
"Also, as a local lad who travelled in and out of the old bus station as a boy there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing the old bus station disappear and the new one appear."
As for the topping out ceremony - duties were carried out to letter with a symbolic tying of a sprig of spruce to the highest point of the structure.
The £7.5m state of the art bus station funded by GFirst LEP and the city council, will serve as a new transport hub for Gloucester and is one of the first major regeneration projects on the north side of the city centre.
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