The Tale of Gloucester with Councillor Paul James

17th April 2019

On the evening of Wednesday 17th April 2019, we gathered at Gloucester City Council, located in the heart of Gloucester, to hear from Councillor Paul James on the regeneration of the city.  The Council Chamber on the top floor of North Warehouse, as can be seen from our photographs, provided the perfect setting for over 60 attendees to be reminded of the city’s architectural history and to look forward to changes ahead.

“It was a real pleasure to present to the Constructing Excellence group on the city’s regeneration. It is important that we work with our partners in the private sector to deliver projects and many of them have played a role in the city’s revival to date. I am sure that partnership will go from strength to strength as Gloucester’s regeneration gathers momentum.” – Paul James.

CE Glos members, and guests, seated at the beginning of Councillor Paul James' presentation on the regeneration of Gloucester.
Paul James, Kevin Harris and David Evans.

As a member of the Conservative party representing the ward of Longlevens, Paul James has been the leader of the council for 12 years and the leader of regeneration for 15.

After a few words from our Chair, Kevin Harris (Director of Operations, Bamboo Technology), Paul gave our members and guests, an overview of the reasons for regeneration, the progress made thus far and what the council plans to do in the future in regard to the development of Gloucester.

Following a period of development during the 1960s and 70s, Gloucester suffered a lack of investment and political consensus which led to it falling behind neighbouring towns and cities. In turn, this had a negative impact on the high street, the citizens of Gloucester and its visitors.

Fortunately, the city has evolved tremendously over the last decade and with over £700 million invested, the extensive regeneration of Gloucester is well underway.

Many attribute the regeneration programme’s success to the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company, which brought influential figures from the public, private and voluntary sectors together, thus, developing investor confidence and securing the government funding required to subsidise the private investment.

With this in mind, the City Council released a comprehensive 10-year strategy and vision for the city. This was adopted in 2012, following consultation with almost 2,000 individuals. The central part of this vision is “to deliver:

  • A flourishing economy and city centre
  • A vibrant evening community
  • A city which improves through regeneration and development”.

Following a period of development during the 1960s and 70s, Gloucester suffered a lack of investment and political consensus which led to it falling behind neighbouring towns and cities. In turn, this had a negative impact on the high street, the citizens of Gloucester and its visitors.

Fortunately, the city has evolved tremendously over the last decade and with over £700 million invested, the extensive regeneration of Gloucester is well underway.

This vision has already been implemented throughout Gloucester with significant completed projects including St Oswald’s retail park, Blackfriars Priory, Gloucester Docks and the Quays, supported by critical transport improvements with the completion of the Inner Ring Road and South West bypass. It is estimated that 1,000 new jobs have been produced and 700 new homes have been built.

Chair, Kevin Harris, and vice chair, Anna Wood at the event.
Gloucester Transport Hub
CE Glos members of businesses who have renewed their membership. From left to right: Vitruvius, RRA Architects, One Creative, BPE Solicitors, Bamboo Technology Group, SF Planning and Hanscomb.

Whilst developing new infrastructure, the Urban Regeneration Company also wants to preserve and maintain Gloucester’s brilliant heritage, in line with the city’s status as one of England’s most historic cities.

With a clear vision and comprehensive strategy, the future of Gloucester seems promising and the hard work of the council and its partners are being recognised.

Two of the regeneration projects have been nominated for prestigious awards, with both the Gloucester Transport Hub and King’s Walk attracting regional attention for their brilliant work in the local community.

Our evening at Gloucester City Council was excellent. It gave us a fantastic insight into not only the history of Gloucester but also its future.

We’d like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to Councillor Paul James, for delivering both fascinating and informative account of the regeneration of the city of Gloucester.  Huge thanks also to David Evans, City Growth and Delivery Manager (Gloucester City Council) and all those who were involved.

Our next event is our Annual General Meeting and Committee Elections, on 2nd May, at The Growth Hub on Oxstalls Campus, Longlevens. Following a networking breakfast, we will hear a report on club activities over the past 12 months and elect our new committee. This event is open to members only – please remember to renew your membership for 2019/20.  We look forward to seeing you there.

We are also looking forward to an open event on 22 May 2019 when Hazlewoods LLP will be talking to us about Reverse VAT.