REGENERATION experts believe Gloucester prison could be turned in to a hotel – but only if the economic climate is right.
Oxford's former jail has been turned in to a swanky £300+ a night Malmaison hotel and leading city architect Jeff Roberts said it's possible to do the same here.
"Whether Gloucester could support a boutique, niche hotel is a stumbling block, but it depends on the economic climate," said Mr Roberts, of Roberts Limbrick architects.
"It could also be used for a museum, or a pub or restaurant, or it may be that residential use is an option.
"There would need to be a feasibility study first. It's a fantastic opportunity if you can get the right use to fit."
City council leader Paul James said: "I feel sorry for the people who work there but this is an opportunity to link the future use of the prison with the wider regeneration of the greater Blackfriars area.
"Other prisons have been successfully converted to hotels. It's a bit early to come up with detail about future use - there is a lot of potential there, particularly with the Quayside site."
High Worsnip, of Gloucester Civic Trust, added: "We would like to see it converted into a pub or hotel. It's a historic building in a key site."
Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company boss Chris Oldershaw said it has looked at what's been done with the old Oxford jail.
"It seems to work fairly well there and it is something we have looked at. We have also been looking at the Crown and Magistrates' Courts, which are fairly poor buildings. They could go in a new building with a police office at Blackfriars."
The Blackfriars priory is being primed to become a jewel in Gloucester's historic crown, with the language immersion centre alongside.
"The land surrounding Blackfriars is all publicly owned in some way, which raises a lot of possibilities."
Many parts of the prison are Grade II-listed. The Debtors' Prison became a cell block on the west side and is Grade II*-listed, meaning the interior is protected too. The oldest part, which retains features from the 1791 prison, is also Grade II Listed.