Big chains dropped for dock­side food quar­ter

Western Daily Press - - News - TOM GIBBON news@west­erndai­ly­

ANEW restau­rant quar­ter in Glouces­ter would be dom­i­nated by small, in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses in­stead of large chain restau­rants, ac­cord­ing to new plans re­vealed this week.

The area at Lady­bel­le­gate Square, next to the Sol­diers of Glouces­ter­shire Mu­seum, would be­come home to up to 15 in­dus­trial-style steel units de­signed specif­i­cally for re­gional, in­de­pen­dent food and drink op­er­a­tors.

It re­places the orig­i­nal plan for five full-scale restau­rants, which would most likely have been op­er­ated by larger chains, and which was given full per­mis­sion in the sum­mer of 2016. De­spite the build­ings there, in­clud­ing the for­mer home of Glouces­ter Yacht Club, be­ing boarded off, work has never started.

The new blue­prints now have to be signed off by Glouces­ter City Coun­cil and the de­vel­op­ment will be­come known as Glouces­ter Food Dock. Al­ready, it is claimed “sev­eral re­gional busi­nesses” are in “ad­vanced dis­cus­sions” about mov­ing in.

The site is owned by L&R Group, which de­scribed the plans as “con­tem­po­rary”, with mod­u­lar steel units at­tached to an ex­ten­sion of the ex­ist­ing Grade II-listed build­ings, giv­ing it an ur­ban, in­dus­trial feel with ter­races and views over the wa­ter.

A press state­ment on the plans said: “De­signed specif­i­cally for in­de­pen­dent, re­gional food op­er­a­tors, the scheme of­fers a va­ri­ety of sizes and styles for up to 15 new busi­nesses.

“Sev­eral lead­ing re­gional busi­nesses are al­ready in ad­vanced dis­cus­sions with own­ers L&R Group and prop­erty ad­vis­ers JLL about taking on space in this ex­cit­ing new food des­ti­na­tion.

“Sit­u­ated at the city end of the docks, Glouces­ter Food Dock will re­flect re­cent changes in peo­ple’s habits and pref­er­ences when it comes to eat­ing out, in­clud­ing an in­creas­ing em­pha­sis on smaller, in­de­pen­dent and one-off out­lets.”

Busi­nesses that have been at­tracted to the scheme so far in­clude ven­tures spe­cial­is­ing in Asian street food, char­coal grilled meats, cof­fee roast­ers, bak­eries, craft beer and fish and chips.

L&R de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Ken El­liott said: “The food and bev­er­age market has moved on from the large brands that have dom­i­nated many town cen­tres and this pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for Glouces­ter and the re­gion to do some­thing new and to cel­e­brate the best of its bril­liant range of quality, in­de­pen­dent food busi­nesses – which we are de­lighted to be gather­ing to­gether at Glouces­ter Food Dock.”

Un­der the plans, it is hoped the site will fur­ther im­prove con­nec­tions be­tween the city and the Quays and pro­vide an ad­di­tional ac­cess stair­way to the dock­side be­tween the ex­ist­ing build­ings.

L&R op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Sarah Mans­field said: “We are bring­ing to­gether a group of en­er­getic, creative and ded­i­cated re­gional food busi­nesses which share our vi­sion to cre­ate an ex­cit­ing new water­front food hub spe­cial­is­ing in tasty, in­de­pen­dently pro­duced food. Some will be very new and oth­ers more es­tab­lished, but they will be cho­sen be­cause they com­ple­ment each other, are ded­i­cated to pro­duc­ing fan­tas­tic food and have a sense of the­atre.”

Daniel Mil­ford, se­nior sur­veyor for prop­erty con­sul­tants JLL, added: “It will bring a whole new of­fer to the city and ex­actly the link we’ve long been wait­ing for be­tween the docks and the city cen­tre.”

New plans for the Food Dock at Lady­bel­le­gate Square in Glouces­ter have been re­vealed

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