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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Plans for homes on prison site

Revised plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council for 202 homes on the former prison site.

Planning permission for the development was granted in 2018, but now City & Country Gloucester Ltd is going back to the council with proposed changes.

Redevelopment of the former HMP Gloucester site includes partial demolition and conversion of Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings to provide 38 apartments and 481sqm of flexible commercial/ community floorspace.

Permission has also been granted for demolition of non-listed structures and construction of seven new buildings of up to six storeys to accommodate 164 apartments, along with car parking, cycle parking, private and communal amenity space, landscaping, access and related infrastructure works.

City & Country acquired the site after the prison was decommissioned in 2013. The company has always said that the site represented a 'a considerable viability challenge', which would need to be addressed to ensure its long-term future use.

An independent viability assessment by the city council's advisors concluded that the development generates a financial deficit in the region of £7.7m. In bringing forward the proposed changes to the scheme, City & Country said: "It is essential that the viability deficit is addressed so that a residential development can come forward and new homes that GCC is relying upon being created on the site can be realised."

The aim of the proposed changes is to make the redevelopment more deliverable, with apartment sizes better tailored to the market.

The entire development will consist of 67 1-bed, 124 2-bed and 11 3-bed apartments. While the total number of apartments has stayed the same, the new plans have some small changes in the precise mix and location of the apartments to allow for better use of space and an increase in parking.

The proposed number of parking spaces is now 123, rather than the 114 granted in the original planning permission, so a greater number of apartments can be sold with a parking space to help address the financial deficit.

Richard Graham MP for Gloucester recently gave his support to the updated plans.

Changes are mainly proposed to Blocks G and H.

Proposed changes to Block G include removing all ground floor apartments to provide additional parking spaces, with amendments to the upper floor to accommodate the apartments removed from the ground floor, creating a revised accommodation mix with fewer larger apartments and more smaller apartments.

Proposed changes to Block H include removing ground floor parking to the open-air, to allow for ground floor residential accommodation and individual terraces for ground floor apartments.

Revised Block H floor plans have been altered to provide a changed accommodation mix overall, including a proposal to move three 3-bedroom units from Block G to Block H and the addition of an extra 3-bed unit. Other adjustments to apartment sizes are proposed, resulting in an overall reduction of two apartments in the building.

The revised plans also include some proposed changes to building materials, which the applicant said will 'enrich the architecture within the development but also to help the scheme become more deliverable'.

While brick remains the predominant material for the overall redevelopment, elements and limited buildings are now proposed in Hardieplank - a cement-based board with the look and feel of timber, but non-combustible and with low maintenance costs.

Prison history

The former HMP Gloucester site measures a total of 1.45 hectares. The prison opened as a county gaol in 1791 and was substantially rebuilt in 1840. In 1971, a new young offenders' wing was built at the prison.

The site is made up of several listed buildings and structures and is currently occupied by a mixture of former prison buildings of up to four storeys in height and hardstanding areas, including areas formerly used for recreation purposes for prison inmates. The site is enclosed by a perimeter wall which extends up to 4.5m in height, except in relation to the two-storey 1980s administration building fronting The Quay.

Since the prison closed in 2013, it has been used by a leisure operator under permission, to ensure the historic buildings are kept in use and are maintained whilst City & County focuses on finding ways to address the financial deficit so the residential redevelopment of the site can go ahead.

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