BUDGET Breaking: Gloucester’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund Bid has been approved by the Chancellor.

Gloucester The Forum Phase Two – aerial visual

Gloucester’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund Bid has been approved by the Chancellor.

The funding will support the first transformation in the country of a former department store into a university teaching campus as the University of Gloucestershire reinvents the former Debenhams into a Health and Education Campus.

Funding will also go to The Forge, a new hi tech business centre, cyber proofed for tech incubator SMEs. It forms part of the overall £107m Reef plc and City Council Forum partnership project, alongside a 4 star hotel and new apartments.

The redevelopment of The Fleece Hotel also benefits from the new funding. With a Dowdeswell and City Council plan to create a striking new 4 star 60 bed boutique hotel and shops.

Welcoming the announcement Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: “Simply fantastic news for all our ambitions for the City Centre and Gloucester.”

Leader of the City Council, Cllr Richard Cook, said: ““This is excellent news for Gloucester and means that we can continue our regeneration programme at pace.”

Vice Chancellor of the University, Stephen Marston, said: “The University of Gloucestershire is delighted.  This funding means the University can now move ahead with even greater pace, confidence and determination with our major redevelopment of the Debenhams building to form our new City Campus.”

Development Director at Reef PLC, Esther Croft, said: ““These funds will accelerate the pace of Gloucester’s ongoing transformation, helping to bring forward The Forge at The Forum. This innovation hub will provide the ideal environment for emerging cyber businesses and other fledgling companies to grow, creating a wealth of new opportunities for the city and wider region. Securing this investment, adds further certainty that these opportunities will be delivered and that Gloucester is poised for real and positive change.”

Managing Director of Dowdeswell Group, Rod Jenner, said: “This is brilliant news. It was great to see all the projects come together on the bid with the same goal of making Gloucester the destination that it deserves. We can now restore the Fleece to its former glory and prepare it for the next stage in its life.”