Railway Triangle's £34m revamp gets green light
A £34MILLION transformation is on its way to Gloucester's eyesore Railway Triangle.
The site, off Metz Way, has been derelict for 20 years but will now be home to a new Morrisons supermarket and petrol station after the plans were granted full permission.
A pub, restaurant, takeaways, car showroom and other business units will follow, but detailed plans for them are yet to be heard.
The new supermarket development is welcomed by many as a chance to improve the site, but for others, it kills off any hope of the city getting a new railway station on the site.
Gloucester City Council's planning committee called a special meeting on Thursday night, outside its normal schedule, to discuss the proposals.
Nick Alford, property manager of LXB Properties – the developer behind the plans, said: "We are very excited about this opportunity. It will assist in the revitalisation and regeneration of the wasteland that is the Metz Way triangle and develop a scheme of which we can all be proud."
He said 1,000 jobs will be created at the site and his vision is for a "vibrant business environment as opposed to an industrial trading estate".
Morrisons is set to be a food-only store, allaying fears that it could hit city centre retailers.
Councillor Mary Smith (Lab, Robinswood and Matson) said at the meeting: "The fact is it's going to cost millions and millions to put a railway station on that site – so much so that Network Rail have discounted the idea completely. I know it's not what people want to hear but they are saying categorically they are not interested in building a station there."
Coun Phil McLellan (Lib Dem, Barnwood) added: "Network Rail don't support a new station, the Office of Rail Regulation don't support it, the Department of Transport don't support it.
"I don't think we can whistle in the wind, hoping in a few years' time they will turn around and support it.
"Do I think this is a great application? No. I don't think it's wonderful. I want something impressive for the city. Morrisons won't bring that. But it will create jobs and will give a bit of competition to the other supermarkets."
The meeting heard from several Gloucester residents and campaigners wanting the 30-acre site to be used for a new station. Two petitions and 46 letters backing those calls had been sent to the council too.
Concerns about the impact on wildlife living there, including invertebrates and lizards, were also raised by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.
But councillors agreed to approve the plans unanimously, paving the way for work to begin as early as next spring.