Gloucester City Council plans to use a £1.9 million Heritage Action Zone Grant to redevelop Westgate Street – one of the oldest and best preserved areas of the city – with the hope of attracting more people to live and work there.
The money, which was awarded to Gloucester City Council in September 2020, will be used to make improvements and repairs to the many historic buildings on Westgate Street, including the 15th century timber-framed Fleece Inn which is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register.
The inn and its vaulted cellars is now earmarked for redevelopment by Cheltenham-based Dowdeswell Estates building firm which has brought to life many of county businessman Julian Dunkerton’s Lucky Onion hotel projects.
The council will also invest some of the grant money to convert vacant upper floors for new uses and offer advice and support for businesses in historic properties.
Westgate Street is one of four original Roman routes, but according to Heritage England, is perceived in a negative way by residents and has become tired, with ‘poor paving, inconsistent signage and general clutter’.
Many of the independent businesses which embraced Westgate Street’s historic buildings have left, leaving retail units empty.
The £1.9 million investment forms part of Gloucester High Street Heritage Action Zone, which the council hopes will boost Westgate Street’s ‘untapped potential’ by increasing the number of people living and working in the area, while also attracting the thousands of visitors that head to Gloucester Cathedral.