Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda item

Workshop Cheltenham

Report of the Cabinet Member Finance


The report was presented by the Cabinet Member Finance.

She reported that recent research indicated that Cheltenham’s 1,027 creative businesses constituted nearly 11% of the town’s businesses, but currently employed only 4.5% of its workforce and contributed just 6% of its gross value added (GVA). Cheltenham’s creative sector was significantly underperforming in comparison to towns of equivalent size. Intervention was therefore needed, with an example being support for the Workshop Cheltenham project. Workshop Cheltenham offered low cost start-up space for the creative industries and an economic growth hub, housed in remodelled shipping containers.

The site identified for Workshop Cheltenham was Chester Walk car park, situated behind Cheltenham’s central library building and adjacent to St Mary’s churchyard. The car park is under the ownership of Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and currently used for parking by key social services staff working out of GCC’s St George’s Road offices in Cheltenham. The council has been working with Workshop Cheltenham, GCC and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to find a solution to accessing Chester Walk car park in order to facilitate the delivery of the proposal in this location. Following lengthy dialogue with GCC, CBC were proposing a land swap between Chester Walk car park and part of St George’s Road car park in order to release the Chester Walk site. CBC would then enter into a lease with Workshop Cheltenham in order to allow them access to Chester Walk to construct the Workshop facility. The proposed land swap offered a further benefit of enabling the upgrade of the St George’s Road car park to a higher quality.

The Leader of the Council endorsed the proposal as an example of expanding the Business Advice Network. The proposal would be considered at the County Council Cabinet on 9th October.




  1. the proposal for facilitating the Workshop Cheltenham project, including a tier 2 growth hub, on Chester Walk car park, be approved;
  2. the freehold disposal of that part of St George’s Road car park (shown edged red on Plan 1) to Gloucestershire County Council as consideration for the acquisition of land at Chester Walk (shown edged on Plan 2) be approved;
  3. authority be delegated to the Director of Corporate Projects, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Finance and Assets and the Head of Property and Asset Management, to settle Heads of Terms for the exchange of land referred to in recommendation 2) above and for the grant of a lease, not exceeding 10 years from the date of grant, at a rent representing the best consideration that can reasonably be achieved;
  4. the Borough Solicitor be authorised to enter into any legal agreements considered necessary or desirable for the Council to put into effect the recommendations in this report;
  5. the necessary capital expenditure on works at St George’s Road car park pursuant to the land swap be approved, as per paragraph 5.2 and delegates’ authority to the Head of Property and Asset Management to agree and implement the works with GCC.

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