Outdoor bar planned for Fleece revival
By Rob Freeman | 26th February 2021
Gloucester's historic Fleece Hotel could welcome back customers to an outdoor area after a planning application was lodged with the city council.
Developers Dowdeswell Estates have submitted the application for what it said would be an "outdoor cafe, bar, artisan food outlet and community space".
Prepared alongside Cheltenham's Outdoor Inn, the area on a courtyard within the hotel grounds on the corner of Bull Lane and Cross Keys Lane would be used for up to three years.
Speculation on the future of the Fleece has increased in recent months with Dowdeswell, who reached an agreement with the council to develop the site in 2019, but this is the first concrete evidence of their plans.
Earlier this week, council leader Councillor Richard Cook told Punchline-Gloucester.com he expected the company to submit a planning application for a boutique hotel in Gloucester Docks later this year.
The plan describes the outdoor area as the first phase in "the desperately need restoration and rejuvenation of this most important site"
It said more "carefully planned phases" would follow.
"For now, it is considered crucial to create fresh activity at the site and this proposal will enable this to happen swiftly," the plan said
"It is the first and important stage in this desperately needed restoration and reinvention of this property."
Occupying a prime position on Westgate Street, The Fleece opened in 1497 as one of three major inns in the city to house pilgrims visiting the tomb of King Edward II.
The vaulted 12th Century undercroft of a previous merchant's house on the site known as the Monks Retreat was incorporated into the building when it became a hotel.
After years of lying vacant it was purchased by Gloucester City Council in 2011 with the aim of bringing it back to life.
Work had started on waterproofing and repairs before a fire in 2017 caused extensive damage and saw the pause button pressed.
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