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Time for action at Gloucester's 'at risk' Bakers Quay

By citizenmike  |  Posted: April 19, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson, Public Affairs reporter

  • Provender Mill and the Malthouse Extension are 'buildings at risk'

  • The dereliction of Bakers Quay laid bare

  • Buildings have become an eyesore

  • Timber-cladding is falling off the bridge

Comments (9)

Derelict buildings near Gloucester Quays are in danger of being lost forever as their condition worsens.

Falling masonry, collapsed walls and rooftops buckling under rainwater damage are just some of the problems at the complex of 19th century warehouses at the privately-owned Bakers Quay.

Squatters have even created their own drug den in the Downing’s Malthouse Extension.

The Grade-II listed Provender Mill, the Malthouse Extension and a once-impressive timber-clad bridge between the two buildings are all on the ‘buildings at risk’ register kept by Gloucester City Council.

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The ‘at risk’ register warns: “There is considerable vegetation growth to the walls and high-level details due to defective rainwater goods. One bay of the vented roof ridge to the north range has collapsed. The timber-clad gallery bridge between the Malthouse and the Extension is in very poor condition.”

But owner Dick Bishop said the buildings are ‘dry and water tight’. He added: “If you didn’t maintain them the historic buildings lot would have me in court tomorrow morning. When you do try and repair the buildings they say you can’t do this, can’t do that.”

Mr Bishop said he had visited the site in the last week and regularly secures the buildings but they are repeatedly broken into by squatters.

Asked if there was any sign that the site would be developed he vowed there would be an announcement in ‘three or four weeks’.

Mr Bishop said: “It is all going on at the moment behind the scenes. When it does happen it won’t just be one customer, there will be 20 people on the table.

“The area has been ripe for development for the last 20 years but the country has been in a state. We have had so many developers, even the big ones, who want a miracle but haven’t got a ha’penny in their pockets. The customers are coming back now though.”

Mr Bishop previously revealed plans in March 2013 for a new Premier Inn hotel, a Costa coffee drive-thru and Brewers Fayre pub-restaurant along with apartments.

Baker’s Quay was constructed in the late 1830s by a group of businessmen led by Samuel Baker but the buildings fell into abandonment as industry at Gloucester Docks starting to wind up in the 1970s.

For several years developers Peel, owner of Gloucester Quays, have been trying to buy Bakers Quay from the Bishop family so that it can be redeveloped as part of the Quays shopping and leisure complex.

Jason Pullen, managing director of Peel Outlets, last night renewed his desire to see the site development by Peel. He said: “In June we will be seeking to renew the planning permission for the whole of the Gloucester Quays site which incorporates Bakers Quay and we still retain an interest in seeing a comprehensive development there.”

The eyesore site has even been criticised by the Queen during her visit to the city in 2009 to see the progress of Gloucester’s regeneration. Her Majesty looked at Bakers Quay and said: “You’ve still got some work to do then.”

Frustration at the rate of progress, continues today. Gloucester City Council leader Paul James said: “They maybe water tight but they buildings are going to deteriorate if substantial repairs are not carried out and it detracts from the area where we have got the biggest regeneration scheme that Gloucester has ever seen.

“The economy has improved and it will make getting a development started easier. There have been some lengthy discussions with Rokeby Developments so I have a renewed sense of optimism, although I have learnt not to count my chickens. I look forward to hearing an announcement in three or four weeks then.”

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9 comments

  • GlosVegas  |  April 23 2014, 2:10AM

    SULAcrew, you are of course right, but my issue with that is that we have had years. If we got underway and started doing something, as opposed to nothing, we may see some movement. If we had started the process years back, we may have ended or be nearing the end of it by now. We need to take some decisive action, and I still think we should kick start the process and show that we, as a city, mean business. At least that way in several years if the buildings are still undeveloped (and not totally collapsed) we will be well underway, rather than mourning the fact we didn't do something earlier. I know the Council hasn't got a magic pot of money, but I read that under Section 54 of the Planning Act 1990, Councils can carry out any works which appear to be urgently required for the preservation of a listed building in their area. Section 55 says they can recover costs. I think we should do the urgent holding works, bill the Bishops, slap them some Repairs Notices, get the CPO process underway, and show we really mean business!! Grrrrr! FED UP with people vandalising, knocking down or allowing OUR heritage to fall apart!

    |   3
  • SULAcrew  |  April 21 2014, 9:02AM

    I spoke with Paul James of the City Council about a year ago regarding a CPO but the problem is that the legal procedures could take years.. Clearly Mr Bishop knows this. So legal proceedings are unlikely. But maybe a public campaign might put pressure on him to move?

    |   5
  • GlosVegas  |  April 20 2014, 11:40PM

    jas37 I see your comments appearing on a regular basis regarding the redevelopment of Gloucester, and I think your comments are usually spot on. Just saying. ;-)

    |   3
  • GlosVegas  |  April 20 2014, 11:36PM

    The Council should compulsarily purchase these buildings to sell to Peel. In clearly deteriorating condition, they lack glazing, roof materials and rainwater goods, and parts of walls and cladding. The buildings provide a unique link with our past and are heritage buildings that should be secured for future generations. They can play a large part in the Regeneration of the City, and with several sites in the town itself are key to comprehensive regeneration. After the loss of so much historic fabric, these buildings should not be allowed o fall into such ruinous condition they have to be razed, and the Council should act now to protect our past and future.

    |   5
  • bargee70  |  April 20 2014, 12:34PM

    At least these building still have character, let Gloucester Quays have them they will be spoilt like the rest of the docks, Gloucester has become dull and stagnent around the docks, with imported events and shops that have no connection what so ever with the dock or canal.

    |   -26
  • bdbear  |  April 20 2014, 11:39AM

    Sorry not sure what happened . Just pull them down like the rest of Gloucester and put up really badly designed dull boring buildings like they are doing in the rest of the centre . Anyone remember the programe that was on a few years ago where they looked at Gloucester docks and what had not happened , there was some one on it saying that Gloucester was taking its time not to make mistakes well they have taken there time and got a really dull housing estate .

    |   -20
  • bdbear  |  April 20 2014, 11:33AM

    just pull them down like the rest of G

    |   -6
  • jas37  |  April 19 2014, 8:13PM

    The general consensus seems to be that Bishop's are stringing the City Council along and have no intention of redeveloping their premises at Baker's Quay and that they are purely sitting on the site as long as possible eventually hoping for an offer well over Market value. The Buildings can't be watertight and will probably be too far gone by the time Bishop's agree to sell. Somebody must surely take some action before it's too late but I suspect Bishop's are confident that the Authorities will not take the action that is required. Shameful behaviour.

    |   13
  • SULAcrew  |  April 19 2014, 10:20AM

    I think most people agree that we have seen enough promises and plans. It's a great tool to buy time and do nothing. It's time to DO something, not just lip-service. Either Mr Bishop STARTS the process (he came up with many plans, but always stopped at the planning-permission stage), or drag him to court NOW to maintain these beautiful historic buildings. I'm sure I speak for the vast majority of people in Gloucester when I say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    |   37

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