Council defends Kings Square redevelopment by | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/
Gloucester City Council has defended its £5m transformation of Kings Square after people criticised its design and questioned its cost.
The new design which is based on the Severn Bore, a tidal surge along the river, was unveiled on Saturday.
It features granite seating areas, water fountains and coloured lighting but it has not been to everyone’s liking with some people questioning its “marine” design. Others felt the £5m cost is too high.
But council leaders say the revamp is an important part of the Kings Quarter regeneration which includes the new Forum Development and new city centre University of Gloucestershire campus.
A council spokesperson said: “The design was created with extensive consultations held with local people by the city council and its development partners Reef.
“The final design of the revamped square has been based on the Severn Bore, the tidal surge along the River Severn, with sweeping granite seating areas, water fountains and atmospheric coloured lighting. The square will act as a vibrant events space throughout the year and an activities programme is currently being put together.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) is among those who are happy with the redevelopment. He said: “I am delighted that the work to complete the new Kings Square is nearing completion and that the square is officially opened.
“The construction work by Gloucester building company EG Carter is first class. The project to construct a new square has taken ten years. It has had all party involvement during this time.
“The first plan was a retail-led scheme that reduced the size of the square as retail units were to be constructed on it. The partners Stanhope failed to secure an anchor store for the Kings Quarter project and did not get a planning application in by the 2016 deadline. In early 2016 I called for it to be scrapped and a plan B to be developed.
“After a few months of denial by the leader of the council, Plan A was abandoned and Plan B commissioned, with the appointment in late 2016 of London-based LDA Design and a real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle. Liberal Democrats were keen that the new Kings Square became integrated into the Kings Quarter project as the main public open space providing a new square for open air events and gatherings. The new Kings Square should do that job handsomely.”
Council leader Richard Cook (C, Kingsway) said the square is going to be a new destination for Gloucester. He said it will become a hive of activity as the rest of King’s Quarter takes place bringing new businesses, bars, restaurants and a four-star hotel.
By Carmelo Garcia – Local Democracy Reporter
Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk