As part of the Minster Exchange scheme, we're proposing that the closed churchyard of Cheltenham Minster – the town’s oldest building - will benefit from renovation and restoration works. The area will be known as Minster Gardens.
The Minster Gardens project is receiving up to £229,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The proposed investment is an exciting opportunity to transform the historic and cultural core of the town centre. People currently feel that the space is a dark and unwelcoming area that suffers from antisocial behaviour. The council’s aim is to create a vibrant, yet reflective atmosphere for the public and parishioners to enjoy spending time in. At the same time we will be restoring significant pieces of our cultural heritage and improving habitat for biodiversity.
The Minster Garden scheme was unanimously approved by Cheltenham Borough Council — as the local planning authority — in December 2021 and has received approval from the Diocese of Gloucester, supported by Historic England and Cheltenham’s Civic Society.
The plans include creation of more social space, additional paths and lighting across the gardens, and a range of seating so that everyone can enjoy the grounds of the Grade I Minster. Also included is a proposed additional path with a seating area that will link to the entrance of the new Minster Exchange (MX) building, being constructed next to the gardens behind the Children’s Library. Further details are also included with plans to carry out urgent conservation works on a number of the historically significant memorials.
Gloucestershire County Council are assisting the scheme by funding upgrades to existing paths and lighting, including the restoration of the five Grade II Listed Dragon and Onion Lamp posts situated within the churchyard.
The aim of the extensive planting scheme is to boost existing habitats and increase wildlife and biodiversity, whilst conserving the rich history of this site within the town’s conservation area. To complement the soft landscaping of new shrubs and plants, the designs look at raising the crowns of the trees to let in more light, encouraging the public to come and spend time in the biodiverse and habitat rich area.
Video walkthrough of the plans
When does work start?
Work is expected to commence on site at the beginning of April 2022 with a view to an early Autumn opening. Id Verde, who delivered the award winning scheme for Gloucester Cathedral, will undertake the works.
Minster Gardens showcase
The plans for the MX and Minster Gardens will be on show for two weeks inside the Minster from Monday 21 March 2022, Monday to Saturday: 11am - 1pm, Sunday: 12pm - 1pm.
You can also view a selection of images from the showcase in the Minster Gardens showcase gallery.