Big chains dropped for dockside food quarter
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