£20 million of Levelling Up Fund cash would be ‘a shot in the arm for the Gloucester’

Business leaders and political masters behind three transformational projects in Gloucester have called on the government to back them with £20 million of funding.

A united voice of business and political leaders has called on the government to send £20 million of Levelling Up Fund cash Gloucester’s way to supercharge the transformation of the city.

The money is not to ensure the three transformation projects happen, it is to speed them along, with progress on the Fleece Hotel, King’s Quarter’s The Forum and arrival of the University of Gloucestershire in the former Debenhams building all but guaranteed already.

‘It feels like it is Gloucester’s time,’ said Rod Jenner, echoing the positive vibes, despite the rain, at a launch event in the entrance to the Debenhams former department store off Northgate Street.

Mr Jenner’s Cheltenham-based Dowdeswell Group is the developer looking to transform the historic former Fleece Hotel off Westgate Street – and has already helped the Outdoor Inn open a new bar in its grounds.

‘I always measure how busy things are in a city by the number of cranes in the sky and building projects going on. There is a lot going on here,’ he said.

‘It is giving people confidence they should come to Gloucester. It is not just about these projects, where they are complete it will transform the types of retail businesses you have here too.’

Addressing those who gathered for the launch – which included a song courtesy of Maisie Gaffney from The Music Works, Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: ‘The combination of 4,700 university students, a 60-bed boutique hotel and a cluster of cyber secure start-ups will be good for jobs, education, growth and culture.

‘The three projects should bring 1,500 jobs into the city centre and contribute over £105 million per annum. It’s now my task to convince government this bid will indeed enable us to Build Back Better.’

Stephen Marston, the vice chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, said: ‘We already own the former Debenham’s building. We will move in anyway, but with the money – and this project would take at least £10 million of that total – we can make it happen not just quicker but better too.’

Esther Croft, of Reef Group, the firm leading The Forum development for the city council, said: ‘Things are already moving along significantly, the levelling up funds would just provide even more certainly and momentum.’

Richard Cooke, leader of the now overwhelmingly Conservative city council, said: ‘The university’s project will bring 4,700 students into Gloucester.

‘Jointly the projects will result in 6,000 more people coming into Gloucester on a daily basis.

‘If we get this money, it will be a shot in the arm of adrenaline for the city.’

By Andrew Merrell


Follow SoGlos on LinkedIn and sign-up to the weekly SoGlos business newsletter for the very latest Gloucestershire business news stories.

© SoGlos
Friday 18 June 2021

More news you might like...

Discover a winter haven at Cowley Manor this Christmas 2021, with the return of its festive afternoon teas.

Cowley Manor unveils Christmas get-togethers and festive afternoon teas

All decked out for the season, experience Christmas at Cowley Manor with the return of its decadent afternoon teas, festive...

Expect the Minster Exchange (MX) building in Cheltenham town centre to take shape quickly, after all hurdles were removed for the project to go ahead.

Building work to start on Cheltenham Minster Exchange

Work is due to start on Cheltenham Minster Exchange, a significant new business centre and also headquarters for Cheltenham...

Sir David McMurtry, executive chairman and co-founder of Renishaw, which has 4,400 worldwide and 2,200 at five sites in Gloucestershire

Renishaw engineers strong recovery with 146 per cent increase in profits

Global engineering success story, and major Gloucestershire employer, Renishaw has revealed a strong recovery from the impact...

The winners of the 2021 SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards were revealed at a spectacular event at Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards 2021 winners revealed

Representing the best of the best Gloucestershire lifestyle businesses, from live entertainment venues and family days out...

Regent Arcade’s latest grand reveal – the addition of sports giant Decathlon to its Cheltenham town centre destination.

Second major sports retailer to open in Regent Arcade

Another huge global sports retailer – a first for the south west – is due to open in Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade, following...

Don’t miss

Unmissable highlights