Opinion

What direction for Gloucester? The chamber wants you views

Written by: Gloucester Chamber of Commerce | Posted 17 June 2020 7:10

It was good to see on Monday (June 15) queues of shoppers outside Primark and the other stores that were open in Gloucester City Centre, it felt like some small semblance of normality was returning to the city. 

Unfortunately, you didn’t need to look far to see that, in fact, normality was far from returning. 

Something that is replicated across the county and the country. 

Many shops in Gloucester Quays and the city centre have still not reopened and pubs, restaurants and cafes have closed doors. 

It is probable that many businesses which closed their doors in March will never reopen. 

Yet in a city with two thousand years of history, it is perhaps possible to put all downturns in context, realising that history teaches us that the people and city of Gloucester can and will recover. 

In recent years Gloucester has been a shining example of success in growing the number of visitors to the city and has bucked the trend of decreased footfall and increased retail vacancy rates seen in many other cities up and down the country, however we must now face the reality that in the short term, more difficult times are ahead. 

Although this might seem daunting it gives us time to also look into the past successes and see how they can be built on in the future. 

Gloucester Chamber, has in the past had an important part in supporting the regeneration of the city and our Presidents have sat on the Regeneration Advisory Board, which was so influential in helping to inform the physical regeneration of the historic docks. 

Its successor, championed by Cllr Dawn Melvin and chaired by Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, Stephen Lake has aspirations to do the same. 

What will be important is that the plans devised for the future of the city are ambitious, deliverable and done at a pace that reflects the pressing needs of the city, its businesses and its citizens. 

It is probably time to take this out of the hands of the city council and once again follow the model of the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company which managed to cut through the red tape and take real action 

Gloucester Chamber is looking for your ideas as to what are the priorities for the city that will help it restart the excellent progress made to date. 

If you would like to contribute some thoughts please email us at info@gloucesterchamber.org.uk.