THE first plans of how the new King’s Quarter will look have been revealed exclusively to the Citizen.
The plans include:
- A reduced number of retail units from 30 to 22 to reflect the economy
- City centre living on upper floors
- A smaller but streamlined bus station
- Restaurants and a small cinema
The current King’s Square will become triangular shaped with a new building in front of The Regal, for shops and a cinema.
A second square will be created on Market Parade, in front of Tesco and Subway. New units home to designer retailers will open around that square, including an anchor tenant.
A planning application will be submitted by developers Stanhope, who have just opened a similar development in Hereford, by the end of the year.
On Tuesday an extra £3million of funding for the new bus station is expected to be approved, which will be the final funding needed to secure the new development.
Aviva own much of the land needed for King’s Quarter. Land transfer negotiations with the firm have now also reached ‘an advanced stage’ according to Gloucester City Council leader Paul James.
Archaeological digs will take place over an eight week period, starting at the end of May, firstly in King’s Square to find the city wall and secondly at the bus station to search for Whitefriars Priory. A temporary museum, exhibiting whatever is found, will open in the former Arkwright’s sweet shop.
After the digs, the Paint Jam street art festival will take place in August.
New paving outside the King’s Square shops may be delayed until after Christmas so that Aviva can re-clad the lower King’s Square shops first in a bid to make the building look more attractive.
Councillor Paul James said: “The reality is that 22 units will be more achievable. Many retailers are expanding abroad and online so it still remains challenging.
“The empty units in the city centre are too small for the kind of retailers we want to attract for King’s Quarter but we have got more chance of filling them if we can get King’s Quarter developed and a bigger footfall in the city centre.”
Attracting the retailers will become easier when planning permission is granted, added Mr James. He said: “Stanhope need to sign up the retailers but they will be in a much better position to do so when they have a firm scheme that has passed through the planning system.”
A ‘detailed’ public consultation will also take place. Mr James added: “When people have waited so long for something it is only right that the public have a chance to shape the plans.”
Barry Leach, chairman of the Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership, said: “I see it as a good starting point. It is a much reduced scheme but it clearly ticks all the boxes that we hoped that it would in terms of delivering more quality shops and more accommodation above.
“The new bus station looks like it has a simpler approach too.
“Now they need to talk to the people in the city and have a firmer view as to the timing of things.”