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Gloucestershire Business News

Some of the best Gloucestershire business stories from 2019

Our mission - if it is not too obvious to say so - is to tell the stories of Gloucestershire businesses, and this year there have been some exceptional tales.

A look back through what we have put on record yet again underlines just what an eclectic mix of companies we have here in Gloucestershire, what a range of sectors and how many exciting and newsworthy events are going on.

And while we were reminiscing we thought 'why not pull some of those takes together as a way of rounding off the year?'. Which is exactly what we've done.

January was indeed the bleak mid-winter for staff at Horizon Nuclear Power - the Gloucester-headquartered Japanese firm tipped to become a major player in the nation's energy market .

The year started with the much-anticipated news that the firm was to close, laying off all 380 staff and walking away from its plans to walk alongside EDF developing the next generation of nuclear power stations.

On a far lighter note, a story which seems to have caught many people's eye was the news that Gloucester-born Hollywood actor Simon Pegg had agreed to put his name behind the brilliant project to breath new life into the Olympus Theatre in the city. 

The law finally caught up with a gang who had been running a major criminal operation from the Forest of Dean dealing in stolen Land Rovers. 

In February Punchline pondered just who was behind the planned new offices above Gloucester Quays' Carluccio's restaurant, and broke the news that bridge-building giant Mabey Bridge had sold 45 acres of land not far from its Gloucestershire headquarters at Lydney for a 345-home development.

We followed the story of Mabey through the year as it was later sold to American rival Acrow - although the Lydney operation remains.

And there was the exciting news of a new climbing centre of Olympic proportions being planned by a Gloucestershire entrepreneur, right here in the county.

March opened with the happy news one of jewels of Gloucester Quays had been saved from administration, closely followed by the sad news that one of Cheltenham's most popular restaurants was to close and we broke the story of a huge new housing development proposed for Cheltenham.

In April Punchline revealed a new man at the top of one of Cheltenham's biggest employers, which bar had been crowned Camra's best pub in Gloucester and there was more development news.

That being the multi-million pound retail outlet centre planned for Tewkesbury involving both Robert Hitchins and Roberts Limbrick.

We also reported on the sale of well-known and respected Gloucestershire business Allcooper, which was sold to a Swedish security firm.

May saw Punchline reveal a planned new drive-thru for Gloucester, a Cotswold pub up for sale and the beginnings of the effects of a slow-down in international markets on Wotton-under-Edge headquartered Renishaw.

In June the protest against Gloucestershire County Council's incinerator revealed it was heading for the High Court, Gloucester businessman Reg Daldry revealed his plans for a new bar next to the mighty Gloucester Rugby in Kingsholm and we let you know of another 60-home development in Cheltenham.

In July 10 we revealed ten Gloucestershire pubs had been sold as part of a £1 billion deal, that a Cheltenham-based aerospace firm was to be sold in another £1 billion deal and we had brought you a peculiar video - a Boeing aeroplane going the wrong way around the A417 Air Balloon roundabout.

August brought good news for all connected with Babcock, which has a base in Tewkesbury, with the news it was likely to win the contract to build the new Royal Navy Type 31e frigates.

We revealed a Gloucester industrial unit had been sold for close to £2 million, speculated on a story reported elsewhere in the national media that Elon Musk (of Tesla fame and fortune) would be working with Sir David McMurtry, co-founder of Gloucestershire-based Renishaw.

And there was the sad news that tourist attraction and county family favourite Prinknash Bird and Deer Park was to close its gates for good.

In September we told you how the fastest growing franchise in the world was coming to Cheltenham high street, brought you the first images of the £60 million designer outlet village coming to the county, and revealed how Dowdeswell Estates had agreed terms to redevelop Gloucester's city centre Fleece Hotel site.

There was more good news when we learned Swan Mill Group had helped save 130 jobs at the Great British Card Company and there was a great story to tell about a Forest of Dean wonder house up for sale - built by a rather special county builder.

October started with breaking news that a Cheltenham supermarket was sold in a £60 million deal, Lidl got permission for a new store to be built by a county firm in Gloucester  and the excellent Cheltenham restaurant that is 288 Bar & Wok won an Observer food award .

And it was this month that news began to break about the major problems at Marketing Gloucester - the organisation charged by the city council with leading Gloucester's cultural renaissance.

Reports from the likes of Grant Thornton have since revealed all many of issues with its governance, but there is more to come.

November saw some good news for flood-battered Tewkesbury with plans revealed that might finally kickstart the regeneration of Tewkesbury Mill.

In the Forest of Dean we broke the news that 400 jobs could be created with the redevelopment of a former haulage firm's site into a business park, Gloucestershire County Council unveiled its plans for a £220 million all-ways M5 junction 10 and a famous county pub reopened after an extensive refurbishment.

And this month (December) - so far - we have been able to reveal how plans were hinting at the expansion of one of Cheltenham's biggest employers, the ever-innovative Highfield Garden Centre at Whitminster unveiled now just great results for 2019 but major investment plans which included a new restaurant.

A famous Stroud business called time after more than 30 years of trading and there has been an application to build 44 new homes on the site of a Gloucester chemicals factory.

And that is just a name but a few.

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