Hopes trial will help per­ma­nent plan as high street world changes

CHEL­TENHAM CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE take a closer look at the work around High Street

Gloucestershire Echo - - BUSINESS -

TRANS­FOR­MA­TIONAL work to Chel­tenham’s high street con­tin­ues at pace as the bor­ough and county coun­cil’s wider vi­sion to re­gen­er­ate the pub­lic realm is made a re­al­ity.

At the Chel­tenham Cham­ber of Com­merce, we sup­port the tem­po­rary changes to Boots Cor­ner as a nec­es­sary ex­per­i­ment to gather data.

Our hope is that this trial will help in­form a more per­ma­nent plan that ben­e­fits the high street, pub­lic safety, and lo­cal busi­nesses.

Ni­cola Inch­bald, lo­cal in­vestor, gave us her thoughts on the changes: “Chel­tine are ma­jor in­vestors and in cen­tral Chel­tenham.

“We re­ally feel we must ap­plaud both the bor­ough and the county coun­cils for their vi­sion for im­prov­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity and the re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence al­ready be­ing seen by the tem­po­rary changes at Boots Cor­ner.

“The area has been over dom­i­nated by ve­hi­cles and looked very sad for decades.

“It is great to see peo­ple us­ing the benches and cy­cle racks even be­fore the works were com­plete and the trees are a step in the right di­rec­tion to en­hanc­ing an oth­er­wise ter­ri­bly harsh land­scape.

“We hope that the county and bor­ough can over­come some of the lo­calised dif­fi­cul­ties be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by some re­tail­ers, whilst con­tin­u­ing with the ex­per­i­ment and lis­ten­ing to the voice of those re­tail­ers who are al­ready see­ing the ben­e­fits of the scheme.”

Along­side the changes made at Boots Cor­ner foun­tain area, the east of the high street will soon see the hoard­ings re­moved and the street’s nat­u­ral stone paving, new seat­ing and new trees and green­ery be­ing re­vealed.

Ni­cola con­tin­ued: “With the open­ing of John Lewis just weeks away, we will await the im­pact on foot­fall and vis­i­tor num­bers be­fore mak­ing any short term de­ci­sions.

“We feel that the em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence, once col­lated, will demon­strate the wider ben­e­fit for the high street and Prom­e­nade.”

Michael Ratcliffe, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Chel­tenham Cham­ber of Com­merce, added: “We are pleased some of Chel­tenham’s most in­flu­en­tial in­vestors recog­nise and are see­ing the wider ben­e­fits of both the tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent im­prove­ments made so far.

“The tone of the high street is chang- ing na­tion­ally and Chel­tenham is no ex­cep­tion with shop­pers de­mand­ing a wide re­tail and leisure of­fer. “The trial clo­sure of Clarence Street has en­gaged com­muters, busi­nesses and res­i­dents and we’re lis­ten­ing to their con­cerns work­ing with GCC to ad­dress as many as we can. “How­ever, the trial is just one el­e­ment to ad­dress the chang­ing face of the high street. “We have a com­pelling com­mer­cial of­fer and are see­ing real in­vest­ment and vi­brancy with the likes of the John Lewis con­cept store, In­dia Jane, Oliver Bonas, The Botanist and Ur­ban Out­fit­ters in­vest­ing in Chel­tenham.”

To find out more about the Chel­tenham Trans­port Plan and high street changes visit chel­tenham.gov.uk.

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