Gloucester city centre could soon be rebranded ‘The Four Gates’ in a bid to attracts tourists in their droves.
The city will play on its historic Roman gate streets in the same way that York promotes The Shambles as a top tourist destination.
It is hoped the move will boost the economy of the city’s gate streets and put a buzz back into the centre.
‘Gloucester Central’ had been dreamt up as a possible new name for the city centre by council chiefs but the idea was dropped by council leader Paul James who said it was ‘more akin to a railway station’.
Instead The Four Gates will revel in the historic hub of modern Gloucester, built on 2,000 years of history dating back to the old Roman city of Glevum.
Mr James said: “We want an identity for our city centre and we’d like to consult on that. The Four Gates would be quite an attractive name.
“Gloucester Central had been suggested but to me that seems more akin to a railway station.”
A cultural master plan has been drawn up to make the offer in the city’s gate streets more attractive. It includes:
- £150,000 to improve the city’s ugliest buildings including Longsmith Street multi-storey car park and Kings Walk car park
- A new busking programme on Saturdays leading up to Christmas to bring streets to life with live music.
- The return of the Mummers Festival to the city.
- A new street art festival in August.
- Residents Weekend in March to give free entry to venues and discounts in shops across the city.
- ‘Gloucester, a Great Day Out’ campaign on buses in other towns and cities.
- Re-opening the King’s Bastion chamber beneath the King’s Walk shopping centre.
- Converting St Nicholas Church, in Westgate Street, into a community arts centre.
- Opening a new Tourist Information Centre in a historic Westgate Street building.
The city council has said that it wants to make Gloucester ‘the south west’s most happening place to live, work and play’.
Councillor Jennie Dallimore, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “This make us realise just what a cultural city we have. There is a great mix of things going on. There are a lot of people working together to achieve that and it is very exciting.”
Fellow councillor Fred Wood added: “People are not just investing in our city’s infrastructure, but our rich culture too.”
John Redfearn, owner of the Crow’s Nest cafe, in Westgate Street, said: “We should focus on something tangible. We are a medieval city and the council should put on events that celebrate that.”
Steve Mercer, merchandiser for the Citizen on the Cross, said: “The Four Gates has a certain ring to it. But they need to push the heritage to go along with that.”
Dee Power, from E-Vapor, in Westgate Street, said: “As someone in a listed building, I think this is an amazing idea. Bring it on and celebrate what we’ve got.”
Alan Myatt, town crier, said: “It is fitting for the ancient and noble cathedral city of Gloucester – the fortified bastion of history, hospitality and entertainment.”
ONE STOP SHOP FOR EVENTS ORGANISING
Tourism bosses at Marketing Gloucester are to take charge of planning all of the city’s events for the first time.
Gloucester City Council is to hand over its events planning responsibilities to the company, which is headed up by new chief executive and Gloucester man Jason Smith.
But councillors stopped short of handing over the mayor’s civic diary to the organisation.
It already co-ordinates hugely successful events such as the Tall Ships Festival, which last year attracted some 150,000 people over four days.
They will also take over some responsibilities currently held by the Guildhall such as event bookings in the hope of creating a ‘one stop shop’ for event organisers.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday at which the plan was approved, Councillor Fred Wood, cabinet member for resources, said: “We’ve got several major events coming up, not least the Rugby World Cup, and it makes sense to consolidate our limited resources to maximise them.”