Construction and Infrastructure

Public to be consulted on plans for city centre campus to attract in 'digital companies with a global reach'

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 29 September 2020 7:58

It will be the London-headquartered developer’s first chance to get feedback from Gloucestrians on its plans for a ‘new social and digital campus’ it hopes will make up part of the £85m redevelopment of Kings Square. 

Reef Group is working in partnership with Gloucester City Council on the scheme, the latest offering in the long-running saga that is the much-mooted redevelopment of the city centre precinct. 

And it has now revealed the times and dates of its first official public consultation.

Councillor Richard Cook, leader of the city council, said: “The Forum is a hugely exciting opportunity to attract digital companies with a global reach right into Gloucester city centre. The scheme will also deliver benefits for residents and visitors, creating a new and attractive space.” 

Esther Croft, development director at Reef Group, said: “Our vision is to create one of the UK’s first truly integrated digital societies. We want to provide the space and the infrastructure to build a seamless link between city centre living and working, in a new social and digital hub – repositioning Gloucester for the digital age.” 

Reefs plans, depicted in artist’s impressions of a bright new city-scape which acknowledges the landmarks of historic Gloucester close by, are to “create a vibrant innovation hub for digital businesses, and act as a catalyst for an emerging digital and cyber sector”. 

Anyone who has been following business news for the county, not least on these pages over recent months, will have heard of the seeming tsunami of cyber-related jobs and development threatening to become add to the bedrock that is already here. 

Not least in the form of the £400 million Golden Valley Development planned for adjacent to GCHQ expected, which rather overshadows figures show more cyber-related businesses are already in the county than anywhere else except London. 

The Forum is described as” more than 125,000 sq ft of new versatile office space developed, alongside a shared workspace club”. 

It also includes a 116-bedroom four-star hotel, a 9,000 sq ft gym, restaurants, shops, bars and cathedral view apartments. 

The Forum’s wider, 400,000 sq ft masterplan features a multi-storey car park, and more than one acre of public realm and landscaping work. 

Reef’s design team will be available outside Costa Coffee in the Kings Walk Shopping Centre from 9am - 5pm, tomorrow (Wednesday, September 30), and Thursday, October 1, to talk to people about The Forum. The team will be fully compliant with current Covid-19 social distancing rules. 

People will also be able to view plans for the scheme, leave comments and ask questions online via The Forum’s website at https://www.forumdigital.co.uk/public-consultation.