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Two new locations for Eastgate Market eyed up by Gloucester City Council to pave way for TK Maxx arrival

By citizenmike  |  Posted: November 29, 2013

  • Eastgate Market

Comments (8)

Two new locations for Eastgate Market are on the cards as plans to move the traders out to make way for TK Maxx gather pace.

The market traders were told recently that a plan is afoot to move them out – as discount clothing retailer TK Maxx prepare to move in.

A suggested move to the upstairs food court in The Eastgate shopping centre has been widely criticised.

But city council leader Paul James has revealed that he is eyeing up two other possible places to set up the market.

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He would not say where the locations are but he has ruled out the asbestos-filled former Marks and Spencer store, in Northgate Street.

But, at a council meeting on Thursday night, he said: “It is not easy to find an alternative because it needs a big floor space. I do have a couple of other places in mind but it would not be wise to reveal them now.”

One idea being touted is to turn the Fleece Hotel site, off Westgate Street and currently in the city council’s ownership, into a complex of market stall shops similar to The Shambles, in York, which is a popular tourist attraction.

It could be paid for by selling the hotel, which is currently on the market.

Ivan Taylor, chairman of the Westgate Traders Association, said: “It would certainly be a real attraction and help to bring us into the 21st century. Unless you are going to spend some serious money it is going to be difficult to find something large enough.

“There are a number of empty units in the city but whether there is something of the right size I’m not sure, unless of course it was a new build.”

Mr James has said that the market must move if it is to survive because costly repair jobs are mounting up.

Rival councillors have attacked the plan which is being drawn up in conjunction with Rockspring, the owners of the shopping complex.

Councillor Kate Haigh, Labour group leader, questioned why the council had not been looking for a suitable new home sooner if the repair jobs had become so apparent.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “If TK Maxx has to go into the market area then we really need to find somewhere more suitable. The first floor is somewhere that independent traders have already failed in.”

Pensioner Jo Dobson, from Hucclecote, said: “They’ve done it in the East End of London. It won’t work. They don’t think of the elderly.”

The market last moved in 1972 from its original home at The Eastgate entrance, in Eastgate Street.

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  December 02 2013, 12:38PM

    Who will be paying to move the market entrance to the new site? Glosvegas I think you will find the stairs and steps of the Fleece Hotel would put pay to that idea.

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  • jas37  |  December 01 2013, 7:11PM

    I agree with every word GlosVegas, would be nice to see it happen though!

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  • GlosVegas  |  December 01 2013, 6:24PM

    The Fleece Hotel sounds like it could be a good idea. Westgate Street is unique and hosts a number of independent shops, on the street itself, and in side streets leading off Westgate. The redevelopment of the Hotel as a shambles style' marketplace would create a visitor attraction, and add to the historic and individual nature of Westgate Street. It would ensure a large portion of the historic building can be seen by the public, rather than if it were wholly used as residential accommodation, for instance. It would also help draw visitors to Gloucester from the Docks and into town, giving people a reason to visit Gloucester and the docks, rather than just the docks. The Council has completed stabilisation work on the building, which is in it's ownership, including structural repairs, demolition of unwanted and non historic fabric, and weather proofing. However, I'm sure conversions of listed buildings into visitor friendly market/tourist attraction don't come cheaply, and a private developer may consider the cost too high against return (even if the upper floors were converted and sold as residential accommodation), so although a good idea, key questions are who will pay for it, and would it actually suit the needs of the market traders.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  November 30 2013, 2:30PM

    Spindles, the 'waste ground' in Ladybellegate Street is earmarked for development in the Blackfriars Quarter. That's why the city council recently bought Barbican House, to make sure that as much as possible of the Greater Blackfriars area is in public ownership ahead of the massive redevelopment. I can't really see them wanting the indoor market there. The Fleece Hotel or unused units in the Eastgate Shopping Centre would be better alternatives.

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  • jas37  |  November 30 2013, 10:32AM

    spindles12- I see your point regarding delivery to the Fleece site but I don't think it would rule this site out The Council own the Fleece, it would clearly be an expensive project, maybe due to the builings historic status other funding streams may be available. The 2 empty units at Eastgate are much too small, these units would be likely to be filled quickly if T K Maxx were to move into the Shopping Centre(as would any other vacant units in Eastgate) As for building a new Market building, where's the money going to come from?

  • spindles12  |  November 30 2013, 9:55AM

    Regarding the idea for the Fleece Hotel, wouldn't it be a nightmare when the lorries turn up to deliver to the market traders? Aren't there two shops that have just become empty in Eastgate Street, right by the entrance to the market, perhaps they might be big enough if knocked into one? Not all the stalls are occupied in the market, well, they weren't the last time I went in there, so maybe not as much space is needed as there is now. How about building a new market, nothing fancy to keep the costs down, but placed on the waste ground off Ladybellgate Street, on the prison side of the road? There is a park and ride bus stop right by there, a large car park in the street and it will be close to the Docks. The huge piece of waste ground is also accessed along Barbican Way coming from The Quay for another entrance to it where cars and lorries could enter, straight off the main road. How about using the "new" bit of Gloucester Prison that overlooks the river? There are so many other places that could be used other than shoving all the market stalls upstairs.

  • jas37  |  November 30 2013, 9:38AM

    The Fleece could be a great location for the Market, but I'm not sure how the building works would be funded. This location could give the Market much more character- maybe similar to Camden Market.

  • Glos_Lad34  |  November 30 2013, 9:18AM

    Hmm, 2 new places where it could go but if they chose Fleece Hotel wouldn't it change it's name to Westgate Market?

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