NEVER mind designer shops for King’s Square, people want to see the return of public toilets to the city.
Attentions are turning to the future of the square now that the Golden Egg building has been demolished.
But it is to the past that people were looking, when asked by the Citizen yesterday about what they wanted to see at a future King’s Square.
The return of public toilets – and even the fountains – were high on the agenda.
Several of those asked were vocal about the need for proper toilets in King’s Square, harking back to the halcyon days before the square’s redevelopment in the 1970s, when the old public toilets were clean, functional and would have Christmas decorations perched on top of them each year.
Christopher Tunely, 67, said: “Now that old concrete lump is gone it would be great to see some proper toilets in King’s Square.
"There’s nothing else around here – the nearest facilities are in the pub on the other side of the square.”
Andrew Green, 60, said: “It’s fantastic to see the egg come down. I don’t come into this part of the town all that often, but it makes a massive difference. I think it would great to have a focal point here, maybe a leisure centre? Something for younger kids.”
Heather Powe, 55, who works at a stall on King’s Square said: “We really do need toilets in the square. At the moment, we have to use the toilets in the bus station or the pub, which they don’t really like. We could also do with some seated areas where people can sit.”
Alan Piggott, 60, also thinks that the city needs more public toilets. He said: “It would be great to provide more facilities for visitors. I work at the Waterways museum, and there are always people popping in to use the loos. Perhaps some kind of visitor centre or something?”
King’s Square was redeveloped in the 1970s as part of the Jellicoe plan, which included the installation of concrete fountains. These were finally removed in 2001.
Market traders who run stalls at King’s Square have to trek to Gloucester Bus Station to use the toilets there.
But developers Stanhope plc, who have been tasked with making the King’s Quarter regeneration plans a reality, have very different ideas for the square.
The square would be built on with a range of new designer shops and a new square would be created beyond Subway where the road in front of Tesco now lies.
Vast swathes of buildings in that area would be demolished and, beyond that, the dilapidated bus station would make way for a new transport hub incorporating buses, taxis and cycling.
The scheme would be built and up and running by late 2017 – but Stanhope have not submitted any planning application to date.
In the first sign of activity, archaeological digs will begin in April on the square.
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “We are very keen that the archaeological dig is an event itself.
“We would like to use an empty shop in the King’s Walk shopping centre to showcase what is going on.”
But there are no plans for the return of the fountains just yet – the area where the Golden Egg once stood will instead be levelled out and re-paved.
General paint work and maintenance of the square will then follow to improve its appearance.
Months of silence from Stanhope were ended in January when director Martyn Chase spoke out at a planning committee meeting of the city council in a bid to thwart plans for a Home Bargains store at the Peel Centre, submitted by rival developers Peel Outlets.
At the meeting he said: “If you want a successful city centre you have to make a stand. You cannot have investment in your city and out of town at the same time. It simply will not happen.”
It is expected that Peel will appeal the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the change of use of two empty units at the Peel Centre to bring in Home Bargains.