The historic Blackfriars area of Gloucester is in one of the 10% most economically disadvantaged wards in the country, with a history of failed development and a legacy of urban deprivation. Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company (GHURC), a local regeneration agency working in conjunction with local stakeholders identified the potential for investment in this city centre site and made Blackfriars a key component in a city-wide regeneration masterplan.
FCB Studios won the invited competition to masterplan the area, an entire city quarter incorporating the Scheduled Monument and listed buildings of Blackfriars Priory, and deliver a number of individual building projects to create a new education and cultural quarter.
Within the masterplan, which was subsequently adopted as SPD, we have completed an award-winning new build specialist language school for secondary schools in the county, and the adaptive re-use of the Priory buildings to provide a new performance venue and conference centre.
There were multiple clients for the project: Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Council, English Heritage, Southwest RDA, GHURC and the alliance of participating schools in the language programme. Divergent aspirations, differing funding and programme priorities and political differences all offered significant challenges to the development of the masterplan, but through clear and rigorous consultation, coordination and management of high quality designs by FCBS as lead consultants, all phases were successfully delivered on time and on budget.
The work at Gloucester Blackfriars has been an exemplar of conservation and consultation-led regeneration, and the site is now a key part of the visitor offer for a revitalised City of Gloucester, boosting local economic performance through the availability of an entirely unique set of venues.
Greater Blackfriars Masterplan, Gloucester
Client: South West Regional Development Agency
Completion: October 2012