RADICAL plans to redevelop a key area of Gloucester have been revealed in Parliament and include hopes for a new five-star hotel.
Speaking today, Richard Graham MP, outlined a vision for Greater Blackfriars, including 2,000 new city centre homes, offices for 1,500 people, a new civic centre, magistrates and crown courts and five star hotel.
The land ripe for redevelopment includes the former prison, the former Barbican car park, the police station, magistrates’ court and the 1970s part of Shire Hall.
“This is a unique opportunity for a masterplan of regeneration,” Mr Graham told a handful of MPs yesterday.
He added: “This would radically transform the impression of what Gloucester is all about. It will be the link from the Quays, through the Docks, one of our country’s masterpieces.”
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said it could become a reality because much of the land is in public ownership. He added: “It is a huge chunk of the city centre and it has been dormant for a long time. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it is definitely going to happen but there is an achievable scheme here.”
He warned that it would take “several years to achieve” and that while housing the two councils together would be considered, it would have to be “cost neutral”.
Mr Graham revealed that the prison site is almost ready to be sold.
Speculation has been mounting in recent days that a buyer has been found for Gloucester Prison after Mr James confirmed there had been “genuine interest” in the 222-year-old site.
On the market since February and believed to be worth between £1.5million and £3million, it was previously revealed that there were 30 serious expressions of interest.
“What we have been told by the agents is that there is genuine interest,” said Mr James. “What we do not want is to see a buyer from an off-shore fund purchasing the site and sitting on it for a decade. We want someone who will develop something that can be a catalyst for the rest of the area.”
The deadline for offers has been extended to April 30.