Buoyant hair salon owner Ryan Fortey says he loves a £1million piazza plan for Gloucester Docks.
Mr Fortey, who runs Head Kandy, said the plans by Peel, owners of Gloucester Quays, to create the new Orchard Square outside his salon and the Waterways Museum, is a promising sign for the future.
The plans, which were revealed by the Citizen two months ago, have this week been submitted to planners at Gloucester City Council and councillors will soon be expected to pass judgement on them.
The site of the planned square is currently a car park but it was yesterday being transformed for the Quays’ annual Home and Garden Party, which runs for four days from Good Friday until Easter Monday.
It is hoped in the comings months that the car park will be redeveloped. The wall running along Llanthony Road will be removed and replaced with Spanish steps leading down into the piazza which is likely to be used as a ‘fanzone’ when the Rugby World Cup comes to Gloucester in September 2015.
Mr Fortey, who was one of the first businesses to open in the Docks seven years ago, before Gloucester Quays took off, said: “A real turning point in the fortunes of this area has been the arrival of all the new restaurants.
“The plans to turn the car park into a new public square look fantastic. They are currently setting up the stalls for the Home and Garden Party and I know that once again there will be a real buzz and the atmosphere will be great.
“I’ve have had people sat in my chair bemoaning the fact that the city centre has not had the same regeneration as what has happened at the Docks but I tell them that this has all been private investment by Peel. They are a big developer and they have taken a knocking over the years but we need to get behind them because they are investing serious money into our city.
“Gloucester is lucky to have Peel. If people get behind projects like this we could turn our city around in just a few years.”
Mr Fortey has been given permission to put seating outside his salon, which means customers will be able to wait outside in the sunshine if they wish.
Simon Metcalf, associate director of planning consultants WYG, who are representing Peel’s planning application, said: “The provision of a high quality square, designed to improve the public realm and enhance the ability of the space to host events is something that is that will benefit the city as a whole.
“The proposals will enhance the existing site providing a more attractive focal point and meeting place in the area.”