A SCHEME to regenerate the heart of Cirencester has attracted praise from some of the town’s leading figures.
Cirencester’s town centre could be given a drastic facelift that would give it the look of a more traditional Cotswold market place, if a planning application is approved by Cotswold District Council.
Cirencester mayor Joe Harris has given the plan his full support and described the proposed regeneration scheme as “great”.
He said: “We [Cirencester Town Council] had a successful consultation period and gathered over 1,000 responses with the majority of people wanting to see some form of redevelopment.
“Of course, there are people who are doubters of the scheme but we have clear goals on what we want. We want to make sure the town is economically viable for the future.”
The new plans will see kerbs, clutter and traffic eradicated in favour of getting priority to pedestrians in a controversial “shared space” strategy.
Traffic will also be reduced to a single carriageway on the south side of the road to open up a pedestrianised zone in front of Cirencester Parish Church.
A number of bicycle racks and benches have also been added to Cirencester Town Council’s final design.
Anthony Flynn, president of the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce, told the Standard that the redevelopment is one project the organisation is keen to be involved with.
He said: “We recognise that this is a significant issue for Cirencester and that there are strongly held views for and against.
“I will be asking members to make their view known through a vote, so that when we formally enter the debate we are genuinely representing the views of our membership. Either way, the Chamber is keen to see progress.”
Peter Grace, a local historian and trustee of the Living Memory Historical Association, said that while he had reservations about the “shared space” strategy, the proposal should be welcomed.
He said: “I’m all for doing up the Market Place. I don’t think we need something like an Italian piazza but it will be good to have a designated place for the market so we can carry on doing what we’ve done for donkey’s years.”
The application will now be sent to Cotswold District Council’s planning committee where a final decision will be made.