Why Gloucester is closer than ever before to a new city centre
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, on the bright future for Gloucester city centre:
So it is finally happening – we are signing a contract today with Stanhope Plc for them to deliver, in partnership with us, the £60million redevelopment of King's Quarter.
There is, of course, a long way still to go on this journey.
This is the legal framework – or what has been colloquially termed our 'marriage contract.' Public consultation will take place, a planning application will need to be approved and the land package has to be put together before work can begin on the ground.
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So we still need to be patient. It will probably take some time before the bulldozers move in.
This aside, we have never been as close as we are now to seeing the heart of our historic city transformed.
This shows our commitment to improving the city centre – something which residents viewed as a high priority in the recent City Vision consultation.
In Stanhope we have a company with 25 years worth of development experience and which has delivered more than £10billion worth of projects around the country.
The project for King's Quarter will see a mix of exciting new shops, restaurants, public squares and a new bus station.
Over recent years more than £500million has been invested by developers in the city and there is a further £200million in the pipeline.
By continuing to attract investment on this scale, Gloucester is bucking the national trend.
Martyn Chase, a director of Stanhope's, said: "We are delighted to be working with Gloucester in the delivery of this key project for the city.
"On the back of the positive progress on the scheme to date, this agreement will enable us to move forward with confidence, and we look forward to developing our ideas with the local community, retailers and other key City stakeholders to ensure that King's Quarter further enhances the City"
Stanhope's commitment to this scheme and their willingness to work with us as a city council is evidence that they believe in Gloucester.
In the last two years alone more than 300 businesses have chosen to start up, relocate or expand their existing operations in the city.
They have all done their homework and made decisions based on sound commercial logic.
We have a great location, excellent educational facilities, a young growing population and a great workforce.
These are just a few of the things that attract businesses to Gloucester.
There are many others.
A lot of hard work still lies ahead to deliver King's Quarter successfully, but this latest step represents a significant milestone.
This project has been a tough nut to crack, but the fact we have got further now than ever before only strengthens our determination to make it happen.
* THE King’s Quarter will have 200,000 sq ft of retail development, 30 new shops, restaurants, new public squares and a new bus station.
In recent years there has been £500million worth of private sector investment in the city with a further £200million in the pipeline.
Gloucester is one of the UK’s top 10 historic destinations with 5.9 million annual visitor trips.
Those tourists spend £207 million a year.