MORE DETAILS have emerged over plans to transform Berkeley's town centre into an attractive town square.

The scheme was previously unveiled in February with the revamp including a new market area with improved pedestrian access, a lower speed limit, bike facilities, benches and flower beds. 

Organisers hope that once completed, the renovation will transform the town into a popular destination for tourists and residents, allowing local businesses to thrive.

The project is being led by Berkeley Town Council’s Improvement Planning Committee. 

Proposals also include adding a new pedestrian crossing point, widening footpaths, and changing traffic priority at the junction of Salter and Marybrook Street. 

Gloucestershire Highways has now completed additional surveys to consider accessibility and local public transport needs, according to the committee. 

The committee also say they plan to consult with residents in mid-2024 before any construction starts so any additional feedback can be incorporated. 

However, a dispute has now emerged between the area’s MP Siobhan Baillie and Stroud District Council, over Ms Baillie concerns over levelling up funding.

Stroud News and Journal: Google Maps

During a recent session in the House of Commons, she said: “Berkeley Town Council has created a much-needed regeneration plan that will make the town worthy of the tourist attractions nearby, such as Berkeley Castle and the Dr Jenner’s House Museum.

“But we have little faith that the Green and Labour-led district council will get any levelling-up bid over the line.

“It failed before and its local plan has also been recommended to be withdrawn. Will the minister meet me to discuss the issue?

In reply, levelling up minister Jacob Young said: “I look forward to meeting my honourable friend and visiting her constituency.”

Stroud News and Journal: Siobhan Baillie speaking in the House of Commons about the Berkeley regeneration plan on Monday, October 16Siobhan Baillie speaking in the House of Commons about the Berkeley regeneration plan on Monday, October 16 (Image: UK Parliament)

Stroud News and Journal: A concept plan showing regeneration proposals in Berkeley A concept plan showing regeneration proposals in Berkeley (Image: Berkeley Town Council)

Cllr Isaac Bamfield, chair of the Improvement Planning Committee, said: “The work of BTC and the committee to obtain support for this major regeneration scheme for Berkeley has been intense. 

“However, it's fantastic to see the momentum this is generating far and wide.  

“What is most exciting is seeing the community pulling together with its town, district and county councils as well as our MP to make something happen.  

“It builds the confidence and trust we have in our democratic systems.  

“We look forward to seeing the new Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young MP review our plans and his support in our next steps.”

Speaking afterwards Ms Baillie added: “I am pleased the minister will meet me and hopefully come to Berkeley to discuss these concerns. 

“I will work with anybody to ensure Berkeley receives the funds its excellent regeneration plan deserves.

“However, I do feel the council needs to up its game and work better in partnership if our towns and villages are going to be successful in government applications.”

Stroud District Council statement

A SDC spokesperson said: “Tourism is an important sector for the district and we work with partners including attractions and town and parish councils in various ways to help promote them and the district, and will continue to do so.

“While the inspectors have suggested that the council may wish to consider withdrawing our Local Plan, they have not recommended that we do so. 

"We continue to work with the planning inspectors on our request for a pause in the Local Plan process, while we address the concerns raised with the relevant lead agencies. 

“We would also like to point out that the Labour group has not been part of the ruling administration at SDC for more than a year.

“We have kept the MP updated on both these matters, among many.”