Ambitious plans to turn Gloucester and Cheltenham into a Super City capable of competing against regional hubs like Bristol and Cardiff have been applauded by commercial property specialists Bruton Knowles.
The 2050 vision unveiled to civic and business chiefs at a special presentation at Cheltenham Racecourse could fundamentally change the region’s identity, according to Land Development Partner Scott Winnard.
“2050 seems an impossibly distant date but in planning terms it’s closer than people might think.
“It has taken us 11 years to adopt our own Local Plans - and significant infrastructure and building blocks will need to be put in place in order to support this level of growth in the County.”
Scott said the biggest and most surprising proposal was the ‘Super City’ scheme to combine the resources and business strengths of Gloucester and Cheltenham.
“Proposals for an expanded international Cotswold Airport and the continued development of a National Cyber Security Park will also bring together and expand the Governmental, business and educational functions already in place.
“These activities would develop alongside new Regional Parks based on the Forest of Dean, the Severn Vale and the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Scott Winnard said: “Bruton Knowles is a national Property Consultancy which has been headquartered in Gloucester since its launch in 1862. The 2050 vision has to be the single most important scheme ever presented to the Gloucestershire public during that time.”
He went on: “The local authorities, the LEP and the Universities should be applauded for looking forward to how the County should be shaped in 2050.
“At the moment, Cheltenham and Gloucester are losing ground to larger vibrant cities such as Bristol and Cardiff and something dramatic needs to happen to close that gap.
“There is strength in numbers and a Super City would indeed attract more companies, employment, investment and opportunities, as well as helping retain and attract a younger generation.”
Scott said the proposals will also focus on creating further development up the A40 from Churchdown and possibly incorporating parts of the Airport.
“Connectivity is key between Cheltenham and Gloucester. Together with the motorway network and green corridors, a new growth zone could harness the strengths of Cheltenham with its strong cyber technology as an International centre, alongside Gloucester with its strong engineering and aviation core strengths.
“The Local Plans come to an end in 2031 and then significant new housing will have to be found in the next decade or two. It is right to start to plan for the future as the reality is that infrastructure and planning will be decades in the making.”