TWO big announcements have been made this week which should be warmly welcomed.
Firstly, there’s a £2million plan to redevelop Gloucester railway station and secondly there’s a £1.5million plan to create a new piazza at Gloucester Quays, which will also become home to a new TGI Friday’s diner.
This is tangible proof that Gloucester is being invested in and what a difference it will make.
On Tuesday evening a friend from London joined me here in the city and so it was the perfect opportunity to pick his brains on his first impressions of Gloucester.
There was a huge, overwhelming sense of disappointment with the area around the railway station.
This rings true with so many people that have visited Gloucester for first time and it is testament to the great need to get on with the redevelopment of the railway station, the bus station and delivering the wider King’s Quarter vision.
After that largely disappointing start, my friend walked through the city centre down Westgate Street, completely missing the Cathedral, and down by the prison toward Gloucester Docks.
Signposting tourists to our great attractions has been another burning issue to come out of this talk about a railway station revamp. It was only when I guided my friend to the Cathedral later that evening that he was able to see all its splendour.
So, he arrives at Gloucester Docks. My, oh my, how things change. He said that it looked smart, a nice place to be and had been heavily invested in. Above all ‘it gives you hope for Gloucester’.
A quick shop around the Quays for a discounted lasagne dish, a walk around the pleasant area and a meal and drinks in Dr Fosters ticked all the right boxes.
It is an undeniably nice place to hang out, to bring your friends, to show off Gloucester at it’s best. That’s why the arrival of TGI Friday’s, an unashamedly fun, family restaurant, will sit very comfortably at the Quays.
The plan to turn that ugly car park in front of the Waterways Museum into a stunning piazza with Spanish steps will pave the way for an idyllic cafe culture. I for one can’t wait to don a pair of shades and sip a latte in the pleasant surrounds (if the darned weather changes) or buzz around the glorious markets. Bring it on!