Work on a £55million redevelopment of Bakers Quay in Gloucester could begin within months as progress on plans took another step forward.
Legal agreements between Gloucester City Council and developer Rokeby Merchant have been signed, meaning work to redevelop the site is making progress.
It is hoped the first phase of the work to build a 104-bed Premier Inn hotel, Brewers Fayre restaurant, Costa Coffee drive through and a re-build of the Provender Mill warehouse creating 46 new apartments could begin before Christmas.
Adrian Goodall, director of Rokeby Merchant (Gloucester) Ltd, said a lot of work needed to be done before construction begins, but said this is ‘not far away.’
He said: “Everyone needs to buy into trying to get onto the site in that timescale. We’re just trying to get everything sorted to enable us to do that. We hope to get going ahead of Christmas.
“We’re trying to get this to work and trying to get on site. There’s a lot to do, and there are a lot of people working very hard to ensure that happens.”
Rokeby now has to submit reserved matters applications to the council, giving more details of the elevations and external appearance of the proposed buildings. It is expected that this will take up to eight weeks.
The Bakers Quay redevelopment is seen as the last piece in the jigsaw of the regeneration of Gloucester Quays, but Mr Goodall hopes it will also act as a catalyst for a wider regeneration of the whole city.
He said: “The redevelopment is significant because it sends out a strong message to the world outside of Gloucester.
“It’s just the start of a wider regeneration challenge for the city. Bakers Quay gives everyone a morale boost that the wider strategy is achievable. That’s the next thing the city should be targeting.
Historical recording of the existing buildings on the site are currently taking place. Gloucester firm Barnwood Construction have been chosen to carry out the first phase of the work.
Jason Pullen, managing director of Peel Outlets which runs the Gloucester Quays shopping centre nearby, welcomed the progress.
He said: “We’re massively supportive and hugely encouraged that the three and a half acre site is coming forward. We believe it will make a positive impact on Gloucester and the wider canal corridor.”
The plans have come forward around 10 months after a fire devastated the 150-year-old Provender Mill. Two teenagers admitted and were jailed for arson after the fire.
Rob Ellis, Kingsholm resident and chartered planning consultant at Cheltenham-based SF Planning, welcomed the speed at which the planning agreements were signed.
He said: “They can take a long time, but this has taken a few months. That’s quite good for a development of this size.”
Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council (C, Longlevens), said the development had taken a step forward. He said: “But it’s a very complex development and there will be a lot of challenges as it comes forward.
“It’s a very significant redevelopment because it’s a site that has been derelict for the best part of 20 years. It’s come with its challenges- the fire was certainly one of them But the developers and funders deserve praise for sticking with it.”