£50,000 set aside by council to block Eastgate Street off to traffic
UP to £50,000 has been set aside to cover the cost of bollards to keep traffic out of Eastgate Street – if a six-month pedestrianisation trial is made permanent.
The six-month trial was due to begin this month, but is now likely to start sometime in December.
The pedestrianisation could become a permanent fixture at weekends from 11pm until 5am, if successful.
The city council has pledged the cash for bollards, blocking traffic overnight. The preferred option is manual bollards that are lifted in and out of holes in the ground, but all options are still being explored.
The closure's main opponents have been takeaways and private hire cab drivers. They worried they would lose out on trade.
Police have been assessing suitable areas for a replacement drop-off point and have come up with a development plan for Hampden Way car park.
PC Mark Mansfield, night-time economy enforcement officer, said adequate CCTV coverage of the drop-off point should be made a priority.
"It is about making life safer for people," he said.
"Several areas were considered, including Wellington Street, Albert Street and Nettleton Road, but Hampden Way was considered the most suitable."
But Andy Dancey, owner of John's Private Hire, believes the road should be left as it is. He said: "I don't see why they are changing it.
"All of those clubs kick out at the same time, and then everyone goes to the takeaways which is when the fights happen. That is what needs to be looked at."
After a three-week trial in April, a longer period is now needed to fully assess the knock-on effect to policing and businesses.
Jennie Dallimore, chairman of the city's Nightsafe group, said: "Improving the car park will benefit the wider community and not just Eastgate Street.
"More evening entertainment is also something we will be looking at to get more people, other than just clubbers, into the city at night."
Barry Hurley, from Places Trading, which manages The Registry and Elevation nightclubs, said: "Just by having live music there will draw more people in to the city at night.
"They can then decide for themselves which bar they want to go to. It would also bring more older people into Gloucester at night. That is the ultimate aim."