To mark Civic Day 2018, we participated in the national Street Pride Campaign (under the auspices of Civic Voice) with an ‘audit’ of the street furniture in the High Street.
Thirty volunteers, armed with checklists, cameras and numbered cards set off at 11.30 for an hour’s worth of noting the worst offenders of broken, dirty, unnecessary barriers, bollards, cycle racks, litter bins etc.
The results will be sent to the relevant authorities (which are aware of the exercise) who, we hope, will facilitate early correction of the ‘low hanging fruit’.
Andrew Mills, John Lewis Project Manager, and Maxine Melling, Civic Society Chair, take questions from the floor
A packed Bache Room at Parmoor House was fascinated to hear the talk by Andrew Mills, Estates Project Manager for John Lewis, explaining the inception of the new Cheltenham John Lewis store in 2014 to its planned opening on 18 October 2018. Quoting John Lewis founder, John Spedan Lewis who said "happiness of our members" is the principal driving force behind this unique company, Andrew went on to elucidate the detailed research that went into its decision to locate a "Small Full Line Department Store" in Cheltenham's High Street, the examination of alternative sites, and not least the very high 41% demographic of its customers in the Cheltenham area. The new store fills a gap in the southwest, and to emphasise the strong commitment to Cheltenham, John Lewis have taken a 25 year lease from the site owner, Black Rock.
With the use of informative images, Andrew gave a detailed analysis of the architectural design and development of the new High Street facade. Designed to create a unified and distinctly John Lewis identity, it has also used Regency motifs in the detailing of the metalwork, although the huge increase in scale makes this difficult to perceive without explanation.
Lots of interesting questions followed, particularly those wanting to know how the new store will operate in conjunction with the existing Waitrose. Clearly the new John Lewis has generated much local support and an eagerly awaited opening.
About 200 people have shared their views about the kind of county they want Gloucestershire to be in 2050.
If you haven't already, find out what the idea of a Super City really means and tell us your thoughts at Glos2050.com. You can also take a look at the comments that others have been making.
Bernice Thomson, Cheltenham West End Partnership
The talk on Tuesday 8 May by Bernice Thomson about the Lower High Street and other poorer areas of Cheltenham was sobering and stimulating at the same time. Amongst her insights into why the High Street from upper to lower ends is so unsatisfactory were that five borough council wards end on one or other side of the street and there is no 'joined up' thinking; the business owners don't live above the shop and vote elsewhere (if they vote); and many residents are transient and/or less well off (and also don't vote). She also stressed the need for housing that working class people can afford or have access to, and that we should not forget that Cheltenham's manufacturing industries were crucial to the survival of the town after its 'Regency' attractions had faded. And, not least, the High Street is the oldest part of town with architectural merit.
Photographs of Lower High Street © Peter Sayers
Applications discussed at the
4 May Planning Forum meeting