I was fortunate last week when a customer of mine came for a photoshoot, for some corporate headshots, to be able to take advantage of the weather and capture some photographs outside at Gloucester Docks, which is just a stones throw from my studio. It was only whilst we were discussing how much Gloucester had changed since his last visit, some 20 or so years ago, that I realised just quite how passionate and knowledgeable I have become about the city that I now call home.
We ended up having a mini tour of the area's that are being regenerated over the next few years around the Docks. Being both Liverpool FC supporters, we discussed how the regeneration in the Docks at Liverpool has done so much for the local area and he could see that the same is happening here.
Below is the small marina, further down the canal, that not many people realise is there. This marina is going to be revitalised when the next phase of housing is undertaken by Peel.
Whilst I don't necessarily agree with all of the planning decisions that are made locally and in particular the length of time some of them take to go through, after being rejected first then having to appeal and then succeed, I must say that the work undertaken by the local authority in the main, in getting developers onboard to regenerate the area has been fantastic.
Just to the left of this photograph, below is where four new high end glass fronted restaurants are going to be, making use of some buildings that have been empty for a very long time. Hopefully they will be independently owned and enjoy the success of the other two restaurants have opened recently in the docks, Greek On the Docks and Grillshed, which is a Californian eatery, as well as the long established Dr Foster's Waterfront Bar & Restaurant which has recently undergone a refurbishment.
Work seems to be really gathering pace at Bakers Quay now that the land ownership issues have been resolved and the mixed scheme use of residential and waterfront restaurants and a hotel along with the new Next retail flagship store with a waterfront Cafe, where the old Cineworld site was, along with the refurbishment of the Peel Centre, will really finish this end of town quite nicely and people approaching Gloucester from the M5 will have a much better first impression on entering the city.
I didn't want to push my luck as the temperature was dropping, so that's where our little tour of the regeneration work finished but he has now vowed to bring his family back to one of the great festivals that are held in the docks this year or perhaps even return for the fantastic Tall Ships Festival, when the docks really comes alive.
Speaking of returning visits, perhaps the Queen will also pay the city another visit, after all she did say when she visited in 2009 that she would return when the development of Bakers Quay was complete.