£1m re­vamp Work is be­hind but it should fin­ish ‘in weeks’

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By ROBIN JENK­INS

IT is run­ning be­hind sched­ule but work on re­vamp­ing part of Chel­tenham’s High Street should be fin­ished in the next few weeks.

That is ac­cord­ing to the bor­ough coun­cil, which says nearly £1mil­lion has been spent on smarten­ing up the paved area out­side the new John Lewis shop.

The £23mil­lion de­part­ment store opened on Oc­to­ber 18 when not all of the work on the pave­ment had been com­pleted.

The coun­cil had pre­vi­ously said it ex­pected the work to be fin­ished in the time for the open­ing.

Coun­cil­lors were keen to see all the bro­ken paving slabs and patch­work sur­fac­ing re­placed with new slabs.

But when branch man­ager Martin Bundy and other staff de­clared it open, there were still two ar­eas of the pave­ment that did not have the new slabs on them.

They were tem­po­rar­ily cov­ered over and work is now con­tin­u­ing on cre­at­ing two large ar­eas that will hold trees and plants.

And while some coun­cil­lors may be ir­ri­tated that work­ers did not fin­ish the job in time for the much-an­tic­i­pated launch of the store, one of their lead­ers de­nied this was the case and sug­gested he was not dis­ap­pointed.

Coun­cil­lor An­drew Mckin­lay (LD, Up Hather­ley), the coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for de­vel­op­ment and safety, said: “We are now in the last phase of works for this part of High Street.

“We en­sured the area in front of John Lewis was ready by its open­ing date and we worked with Chel­tenham BID to sup­ply planters when the gran­ite ship­ment had been de­layed.

“Now we can see the per­ma­nent planters in­stalled and these will be filled with trees and peren­nial plants in the next few weeks which will be­come a great fea­ture in our High Street.

“Al­most a mil­lion pounds has been in­vested into this area and it’s a plea­sure to see our plans to re­vi­talise High Street come to fruition as we’ve seen new lo­cally sourced For­est of Dean paving, seat­ing and gran­ite planter­seat­ing be­ing put into the re­fur­bished street.”

An in­vest­ment of £929,000 was made by Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil and Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil with some ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial sup­port for sus­tain­able plant­ing be­ing pro­vided by the Eu­ro­pean Struc­tural and In­vest­ment Fund.

Although the re­vamp of High Street around the John Lewis store will soon be fin­ished, ques­tions re­main as to whether nearby Cam­bray Place will get the same treat­ment.

The pave­ment in the street, which is di­rectly off High Street, is a mix­ture of light-coloured paving slabs and a black in-fill ma­te­rial.

This has cre­ated an un­tidy patch­work ef­fect that had also blighted parts of High Street.

When asked whether the Cam­bray Place pave­ment would also be im­proved and if so when, Mr Mckin­lay said: “We’re look­ing to agree a fund­ing pack­age to im­prove the area around Cam­bray Place and con­tinue to work with our col­leagues at Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil to as­sess the im­pli­ca­tions of cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s ask to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to pause work on ‘shared space’ schemes whilst it re­views is­sues raised by equal­ity groups.” robin.jenk­ins@reach­plc.com

Pic­ture: Anna Lyth­goe

Work con­tin­ues on re­vamp­ing part of High Street

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