Exclusive: £2m for clean up of Southgate Street in Gloucester
MORE than £2million of lottery funding has been secured to give Southgate Street a facelift.
Nearly £1.2million has been secured to rejuvenate the city centre street, with a successful £897,400 Heritage Lottery Fund bid topped up by Gloucester City Council.
Wide-scale improvements are planned over the next five years, including sprucing up windows, doors, shop fronts, gates and railings, repairing buildings and raising awareness of the history behind the area.
Meanwhile, a separate bid by St Mary de Crypt Church, in Southgate Street, has secured just over £1million to transform the church and adjoining classroom into a heritage and educational venue.
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Ian Spencer, who runs the Oasis Cafe in Southgate Street, said: “It’s brilliant. This part of the street needs some work done to it.
“The problem is a lot of building owners sim- ply can’t afford to do them up. It should, hopefully improve business, too.
“People often walk by with their heads down, but if there is something for them to look at, they may well be inclined to pop in.”
Shopper Karen Prosser said: “I hear about quite a lot of investment in the city centre and it’s all good news. Anything which improves the look of the city centre has to be welcomed.”
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “Southgate Street is a key route into the city and an important link between Gloucester Quays and the city centre and it is important that we make a collective effort to improve its appearance. These grants are good for business. They can improve access to shops, help with window improvements, so goods can be displayed more effectively and make a major difference to the overall environment of the area.”
Barry Leach, chairman of Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership, one of the council’s partners, said: “This is fantastic news. Over the next five years this investment will not only improve the appearance and environment of the Southgate Street area but will help build a stronger sense of community among the residents and businesses.”
They have been waiting for the results of the bid since winter 2011.
Meanwhile, Nikki Arthy, rector of St Mary de Crypt Church (which dates from 1140) was delighted to hear the news. She said: “This will enable us to move forward with this very significant building.”
Nerys Watts, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “This wonderful building, that’s packed to the rafters with history, has taken an important first step to being conserved and transformed into a multi-purpose venue for the local community.”
The project, which is known as the Southgate Street Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), is set to be launched in the next few months.