New paving in King’s Square and cladding for ugly shops have been announced in what is the first major step in delivering the King’s Quarter redevelopment.
One half of the square will not be developed on, while the other half will become shops and a small cinema.
The half that will not be developed – outside the row of shops such as Subway and Jane’s Pantry and in front of Costa and Iceland – will be re-paved.
Meanwhile, discussions are taking place with Aviva, who own the lower King’s Square units, to re-clad the eyesore building to give it a fresh new look in keeping with the rest of the planned redevelopment.
A £20,000 pot of money has been set aside by Gloucester City Council to carry out the improvement works. New seating, painted walls and the resurfacing of the square are all part of a fresh new look.
Council leader Paul James said: “We’re now making real progress. The Golden Egg has now gone, with the hoardings now removed from site and more improvements to King’s Square are planned.
“We are actively negotiating with landowners in the area to acquire the land we need for the scheme.
“Archeological test trenches will be dug shortly in King’s Square and the bus station ahead of the redevelopment.
“Assuming all of this goes to plan, Stanhope can move ahead with signing up tenants and have pledged to submit a planning application before the end of the year.
“The King’s Quarter scheme has been a long time coming and people are understandably sceptical. But this latest news is another significant step forward and real momentum is building behind it.”
Anthony Hodge, head of the city’s regeneration, said: “Works are scheduled to commence following the completion of the archaeological excavations.”
Mmulti-coloured resin could be put down on the ground in King’s Square to make the area look more attractive and modern.
New paving will be installed in front of shops such as Subway and Jane’s Pantry, up to River Island, and across in front of Costa and Iceland.
But more central parts of the square could be decorated with multi-coloured squares.
The idea is still up in the air because council leader Paul James does not want to ‘waste money’ on the resin if the area in question is later dug up to make way for new buildings as part of the King’s Square redevelopment.
But he said: “We have lots of different ideas of what we could do in the short term.
“However, we need to think about what is going to be dug up and where this might go.
“We have had resin in the square before but this has worn off over time through successive changes.
“One idea is that it could be multi-coloured and I have seen some designs, but we have certainly not made any decisions yet.”
Multi-coloured resin was used at the Olympics site in London in front of the main stadium.
Flower power has kept Carol West running her stall in King’s Square for 38 years through good times and bad.
Now she’s looking forward to seeing King’s Square redeveloped for the future.
One of the first steps on the road to making it happen is for Gloucester City Council and developers Stanhope to acquire all the land that they need from private owners.
Aviva is the principle landowner in the area and it was in the last year that Gloucester City Council purchased Carol’s flower hut and her neighbouring cafe from the firm.
She said: “We much prefer being with the city council. It gives us more security and they have been very good to us.”
Her husband Mike, who has run the business with her for the best part of four decades, is pleased to see the back of the Golden Egg.
“It’s remarkable actually. We noticed for the first time that we can see a reflection of the square in the shop window opposite us,” he said.”
The council is pushing ahead with more land purchases in the coming year.
It must do that before Stanhope can submit a planning application for the redevelopment.
It has already had success with some small landowners, but negotiations with Aviva have traditionally been a slow process. It took months before they agreed the sale of the Golden Egg site.