Should Gloucester become a Royal city?

Gloucester City Council is asking members of the public and local businesses to have their say on whether Gloucester should petition to be granted ‘Royal City’ status.

‘Royal City’ status could help attract more visitors and tourists by drawing attention to the city’s history and heritage.

If granted, Gloucester would become “The Royal City of Gloucester”, like the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and most recently, Royal Wotton Bassett.

The cost of changing the status of the city would be minimal as signage and branding would only be updated as and when items need replacing. The only cost would be the time taken to put the bid together.

Cllr Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council and cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said: “It’s really important that we hear from as many local residents and businesses as possible on this consultation.”

“A petition for ‘Royal City’ status could really help transform the city’s image and status, to complement the ongoing regeneration of Gloucester. Gloucester has so many historical royal connections that I believe we could put forward a strong case.  There is, however, no guarantee that a petition would be successful and we would only want to do it if people in the city are behind the idea.”

The consultation will begin on Friday 18th August 2017 and end on Saturday 30th September 2017. An online version is available on the city council website www.gloucester.gov.uk/consultations

Hard copies can be collected from council buildings, local libraries and key locations across the city.

Blues bonanza takes over city venues for jam packed festival of live music

An incredible 77 gigs will be taking place during the Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival starting this Saturday. Always a highlight of the summer calendar, Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival returns with a packed line up filled with talented musicians from within the county as well as national and international stars. Eleven venues play host to this truly citywide event that everyone can enjoy. Whether you are a hardened blues fan or have never listened to any before there will be plenty to discover.

One act that is certain to draw a crowd is Hamilton Loomis. A protégé of blues icon, the late Bo Diddley, Loomis met the icon backstage at the age of 16 at Houston’s famed venue,  Rockerfeller’s. Before the night was over, Loomis was onstage playing guitar with the legend. Diddley quickly became friend, mentor, collaborator and supporter.

Other highlights include, Gallon Proof and the Steve Browning Band at The Dick Whittington plus 13 more gigs at this unique venue. There will also be a stage at Café Rene on Greyfriars Green on the last weekend of the festival that is always a hit with an outside bar so you don’t miss a moment of the action! The full list of venues involved is:

  • Angie’s Bar – Bull Lane
  • Café René – Southgate Street
  • Cross Keys Inn – Cross Keys Lane
  • Dick Whittington – Westgate Street
  • The Fountain Inn – Westgate Street
  • Gloucester Brewery – Gloucester Docks
  • The New Inn – Northgate Street
  • The Old Bell – Southgate Street
  • Peppers Café – Bull Lane
  • The Tall Ship – Southgate Street
  • Tank – Gloucester Docks

Councillor Lise Noakes, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure said: “This is a highlight of my summer.  There is always a variety of styles of Rhythm and Blues so you are sure to find something you like even if you don’t know what to expect.”

Jason Smith, Chief Executive at Marketing Gloucester commented: “The Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival is a shining long term example of how successful partnership working can deliver a great cultural event that brings life to the city and economic benefits. It sets a great model for future events.”

Gloucester Rhythm & Blues is a mainstay of Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts & Culture and is organised by Marketing Gloucester in association with Tim Porter and supported by Gloucester City Council.

The full schedule can be found at: gloucesterblues.com

First steps towards a more efficient city council

Next week Gloucester City Council customer service office will be reducing its opening hours and taking the next steps towards an online service, making it easier for residents. 

As part of the Together Gloucester project which saw the city council assess its structure, customer services will be gradually changing to an appointment based model.

The first step towards an online service is reducing the ‘drop in’ times at the Herbert Warehouse reception for certain enquiries.

As of Wednesday 14th June the reception will remain open 9am – 5pm for deliveries, payments and visitors. However, ‘drop in’ times for services will change to 10am – 4pm during the working week, which is the busiest time for the reception area.

The second phase of this transition will allow members of the public to book dedicated appointments with trained members of staff who can deal with their specific needs, thereby reducing waiting times.

In order to respond to customers quicker, the city council is also talking with its partners to discuss how the customer can go straight to them.

By effectively cutting out the city council as the ‘middle man’, residents will be able to speak directly to the service that they need. In turn, reducing the amount of time they have to wait for help.

Staff at the city council are currently being trained so that they can deal with all general customer enquires. By having multi-skilled people on the frontline, residents who do require customer services will have their queries answered first time.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for performance and resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “Our customers are very important to us. The council’s priority is to maximise access to our services so we are now working on improving electronic access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That will enable us to focus resources on the small number of people who need face to face help . And because we will be delivering this face to face service to a smaller group of our more vulnerable customers we can do this better between 10-4pm, rather than stretching it over a longer day.

“The structure of our customer services hasn’t been changed for many years. It was time for us to take a step back and look at the way we work with our customers.

“This is the first step in our journey to transform our frontline support. We are also talking with our partners to ensure residents get answers first time which will mean residents won’t have to speak with several people before finding the help they’re looking for.”

£1.5million cash injection into Gloucester’s culture scene

Gloucester has secured £1,489,300 funding from the Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund’s Great Place Scheme to help put art and culture at the heart of the city. 

This grant will support an ambitious project led by Gloucester City Council. It’s purpose is to make the city a great place to live, work, play and visit by promoting health and wellbeing, developing civic pride and making the most of the area’s rich heritage.

The funding will be used to address some key social and economic challenges in the city, notably the need to provide opportunities for young people and ensure no one is left behind.

A focus for this funding will be to make sure that communities are at the core of the projects. The public will be asked what activities they’d like to see happen in the city, making sure they follow their cultural interests, passions and vocations.

Cllr Lise Noakes, cabinet member for arts and culture at Gloucester City Council, said: “Gloucester is proud of its past and ambitious for its future and this fantastic vote of confidence from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Historic England is a real boost.

“There is a huge amount of popular, creative and innovative work going on in Gloucester – artistic, cultural and heritage-focussed – this significant grant will help us do more, do it better and do it quicker than we ever hoped when we launched the City’s Cultural Vision and Strategy a year ago.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: ‘This is a brilliant result for Gloucester’s cultural, community and civic organisations.

“It is well-deserved recognition for their determination to transform their individual offers into a powerful shared voice that will help make a step change in how they work together in order that arts, culture and heritage contribute more to meeting local, social and economic objectives.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “Full of historic landmarks, beautiful spaces and creative communities, Gloucester’s culture is an integral part of everyday life. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the city’s proud past is set to inspire a strong and ambitious future for economies and tourism and open up opportunities for people of all ages to improve their wellbeing, prospects and sense of place.”

Gloucester is one of 16 places across England to receive a grant from the Great Place Scheme, a £20 million initiative inspired by the Government’s Culture White Paper.

Public encouraged to have their say on changes to Joint Core Strategy

Members of the public are invited to have their say on changes to the draft Joint Core Strategy.

The Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy (JCS) is now at the stage of main modifications, and is out for public consultation until the end of the day on Monday, 10 April 2017.

The new version of the strategy includes proposed land at Twigworth for 995 houses and the removal of the site at MoD Ashchurch, following an announcement by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in October 2016 that it would need a significant portion of the land for at least 10 years.

It also includes plans for a site at West Cheltenham to support 45 hectares of employment land for jobs in cyber security and related high technology industries and 1,100 new homes. In addition, an allocation of 620 homes at Winnycroft in Gloucester is identified as an urban extension to the city.

All comments received by the deadline will be forwarded to the JCS Inspector and further hearings are scheduled for the summer (dates to be confirmed) to discuss these changes.

To access the consultation and supporting information, please visit www.gct-jcs.org

Hard copies have also been made available at all three council receptions and all local libraries.  A full list of locations is available on the website.

In addition, the Joint Core Strategy team is holding public open events at the following locations (reflecting the new sites which are part of the main modifications) where officers will be available to answer your questions.

Date / Time Location
Tuesday 7 March

Open 1pm – Close 5pm

Gloucester City Council Offices – Reception

Herbert Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EQ

Saturday 11 March

Open 10am – Close 3pm

Cheltenham Regents Arcade, High Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1JZ – (joint event with the Cheltenham Local Plan Consultation)
Monday 13 March

Open 3pm – Close 7pm

Norton Village Hall, Norton, GL2 9LI
Tuesday 14 March

Open 3pm – Close 7pm

Hesters Way Community Resource Centre, Cassin Drive, Cheltenham, GL51 7SU (1st Floor) (joint event with the Cheltenham Local Plan Consultation)
Monday 20 March

Open 3pm – Close 7pm

Tewkesbury Town Hall, High Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5AL

 

Gloucester Scouts have a District Commissioner Vacancy

the closing date is 31st March

Have your say on the Gloucester City Plan

On January 16th 2017 Gloucester City Council is launching a public conversation on its ‘city plan’.

The city council is asking members of the public to have their say on what areas in the city have potential for development, what the developments should be for and what criteria they would need to meet.

The draft ‘Gloucester City Plan’ delivers the Joint Core Strategy at a local level and sets out draft policies that reflect local issues and opportunities in the city.

The plan looks at areas in the Gloucester that would be appropriate for development and growth to ensure that the council grows the city.  A possible 23 sites across Gloucester that would be suitable for development are outlined in the plan.

A further 70 policies that protect the environment and make sure that new developments help our communities and support what they want.

The council is asking its partners, businesses and local residents what they think of the possible sites and policies in the plan and if there are any others that could be considered.

The consultation is six weeks long, ending on 27th February 2017. An online version is available on the city council website www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan.

Hard copies can be collected from council buildings and local libraries and five public events are being held.

Cllr Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “It’s really important that we hear from as many people as possible on this consultation. Council officers will also be travelling around the city asking local communities to talk to us.

“Development is essential to the growth of the city, but it should also serve the needs of the community.”

The Best Bar None awards are back

For the second year in a row, pubs, bars and clubs in Gloucester are competing to receive national recognition for their commitment to improving the city’s nightlife experience.

After winning the ‘National Best New Scheme’ award in 2016, Gloucester is hosting the Best Bar None awards for the second time.

On Tuesday 17th January Gloucester City Council, and its partners in Safer Gloucester, is hosting its nationally recognised awards ceremony at Kingsholm Stadium.

The black tie event is starting at 7pm and will see pubs, bars and clubs in Gloucester compete to receive recognition for their work to make the city a safer place at night.

Applications for the awards opened in July and more than 18 submission were made. Safer Gloucester officers assessed each application to see which ones reached the accredited standards set by the national best bar none association.

The categories within the awards include, best chain pub, best independent pub, and the best small local pub. A full list can be found here: www.safergloucester.co.uk

In order to win its category, each establishment must have demonstrated how it has gone above and beyond to comply with the licensing regulations, support public safety and prevent crime and disorder in Gloucester over the past year.

Best Bar None is a nationally recognised award scheme which aims to reduce alcohol related crime and disorder, help licensed traders to build relationships between themselves, the police and local authorities, and to recognise good practice.

Last year, Safer Gloucester initiated Best Bar None as part of the NightSafe commitment to improving nightlife in the city centre.

Cllr Jennie Watkins, deputy leader of Gloucester City Council and chairman of NightSafe Committee, said: “The Best Bar None awards were a great success last year and I was thrilled to see so much interest from local businesses again this year. It really does go to show we’re all pulling together to make the city an even safer place to be at night time.

“We are delighted that our licensed premises in the city have a responsible attitude to safe and sensible drinking. It’s fantastic that Best Bar None will reward them for their efforts.”

The Safer Gloucester Partnership formed the NightSafe in 2012 and includes representatives from Gloucester City Council’s community safety, licensing and city centre teams, Gloucestershire Constabulary; Gloucestershire County Council, councillors, local universities, Licensed Victuallers Association and taxi trade.

Gloucester’s got a brand new bag for New Year

Gloucester City Council wants to remind residents that from the middle of January people will be able to recycle corrugated cardboard, perfect for getting rid of present packaging.

Gloucester residents will be able to recycle corrugated cardboard at home for the first time from January 2017. New reusable blue recycling sacks are being delivered to homes during the first two weeks of January, on collection day and will be placed in green recycling boxes, so it is important boxes are put out during this time.

The new blue sacks can be used from 16th January. Collection day calendars were sent out in November advising residents that their collection day may have changed.

The new and improved recycling scheme means residents will now be able to recycle corrugated cardboard, mixed plastics, textiles and shoes, including pizza boxes, packing boxes, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs, plastic fruit and vegetable trays and old clothing which is not suitable for charity shops. This is in addition to the current collection of glass, cans, paper, batteries, cartons, aerosols, plastic bottles and food waste. The change is as a result of a public consultation with residents earlier this year when Gloucester City Council asked what people would like to change about waste and recycling in the city.

Recycling collections, including food waste, will continue to be collected weekly, but residents should double check their calendars as their collection day may have changed.

If residents live in a flat that has communal recycling bins, the way their recycling is collected won’t change at the moment, but the day their collection is done may have changed and they should check their collection calendar.

Households who feel that an additional recycling box is needed can order it online at https://forms.gloucester.gov.uk/recyclingbox/. For any other container orders or enquiries please e-mail heretohelp@gloucester.gov.uk.

Cllr Richard Cook, cabinet member for the environment at Gloucester City Council, said: “We are continually looking at ways to work more efficiently, look after the environment and reduce the amount of waste Gloucester sends to landfill.

“I am really pleased that soon homes will be able to recycle even more and I would urge everyone to get involved, especially those that may struggle with overflowing waste bins.”

Gloucester bus station hub – update

Gloucester’s new bus station hub is continuing to take shape this month as demolition of buildings has been completed and the archaeological dig begins.  

Gloucester City Council is currently on schedule for the build of its new bus station hub in the city centre. Since the necessary demolition has been completed, the resulting rubble has now almost been cleared.  

New scaffolding is being erected so that the exposed end wall of Grosvenor House can be weather proofed with new cladding. The remainder of Grosvenor House and Bentinck House are due to be demolished in a later phase of the Kings Quarter plans, on which public consultation will take place this summer.

The archaeological dig, which will be done by Cotswold Archaeology, will begin from 27th June. Cotswold Archaeology has a history of working with the City Council including at Blackfriars. Depending on the amount of rainfall, the dig should only take between two to three weeks.

Cllr Paul James, Leader of Gloucester City Council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Ahead of the archaeological dig beginning, I am really pleased to see how much progress has been made on site so far.

“The regeneration of our city centre is a key priority for the city council and something I feel passionately about. The bus station is a hugely important part of this, and I hope it will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the heart of our city.”

The City Council secured £6.4 million of grant funding from central government through GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucestershire Local Transport Board towards the cost of building the new bus station. Plans for the new hub include a modern fully enclosed concourse, 12 bus bays, a manned ticket office, electronic timetable displays, a new cafe and CCTV.  

Whilst the construction work is being carried out, the existing bus station will remain fully functioning and existing bus routes and stops are not expected to change. 

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