A major partnership project to transform Cirencester in the 21st Century was given the seal of approval by Cotswold District Council today.

A Vision for Cirencester aims to make the town of one the UK’s most attractive and economically viable market towns, befitting its role as the ‘Capital of the Cotswolds.’

CDC is working closely with Cirencester Town Council, Gloucestershire County Council, local organisations, businesses and the community to shape the Vision.

At a full Council meeting today (January 29), Cotswold District councillors endorsed the Vision document, which sets out five themes to be tackled: Character, Connectivity, Commerce, Choice and Culture.

Portfolio holder for Development Services Cllr John Birch said after the meeting: “This is an exciting time for Cirencester as all the projects and strategies under the Vision umbrella are being drawn together to help us plan for the future. It’s important to stress that Cotswold District Council is just one of a number of partners involved in helping to shape and deliver this Vision.”

Key points of the Vision include:

  • The redesign of parts of the town centre, including Market Place, Black Jack Street and Cricklade Street, to make it more pedestrian-friendly.
  • A review of parking, to provide more spaces, with the redevelopment of some existing car parks for other uses.
  • Improvements to road safety and the removal of buses from the Market Place following the development of a public transport interchange at South Way/The Forum
  • Encouraging more retailers, while keeping a balance between independent shops and national stores.
  • Improving the range and quality of leisure activities, especially for younger people
  • Establishing a ‘café culture’, with more choice of cafes, restaurants and bars to cater for different customers.
  • The development of a cinema of an appropriate scale for the town at a central location
  • Making more of the town’s Roman legacy, in particular the amphitheatre.

Cllr Birch added: “This is a first-class opportunity for us all to work together to make Cirencester somewhere that everyone who lives, works and visits here really wants to see. I am positive we can take Cirencester into the future and improve the town’s appearance without compromising its unique attractions.

“It is a very exciting time with a number of projects under way – including the restoration of the Parish Church, the redevelopment of the Kings Head Hotel and the Corn Hall and the major refurbishment of New Brewery Arts. Cirencester is already a very attractive market town, but is well on the way to becoming one of Britain’s finest.”

Cllr Birch said he was delighted that the Town Council had taken up an initiative suggested by CDC’s Cabinet to introduce two tourist walks around the town with display panels at key locations. Explanatory leaflets will be produced to guide visitors along these walks.

He said: “The walks will follow two routes – one Roman and one Medieval – and will both start and finish at the Corinium Museum, bringing more visitors.”

The community has helped shape the Vision for Cirencester, through local press campaigns and stakeholder events. The Vision document will be further publicised during February to provide an opportunity for residents to make comments.

Alongside the Vision, the draft Cirencester Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and four draft Cirencester Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plans (CAMPs) – were approved by Council and will be submitted for public consultation shortly.