Published on 17th March 2022

Artist impression of the Clarence Fountain design showing the site viewed from Primark. The plinth has a long straight side with wooden benches set into it and planters filled with plants and trees.

New, accessible places to sit, relax and enjoy, with a boost to nature and removal of artificial grass.

Work to improve Clarence Fountain and create a ‘pocket park’ in the heart of Cheltenham town centre, begins this month.  Shoppers and visitors to the area will notice hoardings being installed, to provide safety while the work takes place.

The existing planter, bike rack and electric scooter bay have been moved temporarily to the end of the pedestrianised section of the Promenade, opposite Martin and Co jewellers. Part of the area next to the fountain will be cordoned off to pedestrians during the work. It is hoped the disruption to the area will be kept to a minimum.  

The enhancements to Clarence Fountain will create a focal point for everyone using the area with planting and re-using the existing trees, designed to increase biodiversity, improve air quality and visually improve the space.  The planting has been carefully selected in line with the council’s #CheltenhamZero ambitions and Habitat Cheltenham aspirations, which aim to create a network of biodiversity improvements across Cheltenham’s town centre.

The design includes improved seating, space for wheelchairs to make the area more inclusive, as well as a more attractive, durable and hard wearing resin bound finish with steel skirt.

Councillor Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate emergency said: “It’s great to see this work progressing on a project that will make a massive difference to the town centre.

“I’m one of the many people pleased to see the back of temporary artificial grass at the Clarence Fountain.  Replacing it with a new pocket park featuring accessible seating and new plants is an important step as we focus on continued town centre regeneration – especially following the difficulties that the pandemic has brought.”

The enhancements and renovation at the fountain forms part of a wider programme of activity by the council, alongside the work of the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force, which focuses on supporting the town’s economic recovery.

This includes a range of support measures for businesses, major new investments in the town including the arrival of big brands, Taco Bell, Decathlon, Mowgli, Brewdog and the Tivoli Cinema and some ‘firsts’ such as the hugely popular big screen and festive ice skating rink at Imperial Gardens.  Add to this, Cheltenham’s ambitions to become the cyber capital of the UK as part of the Golden Valley development, and the summer arrival of the Minster Exchange creating a vibrant town centre quarter, the town’s economy will thrive, creating jobs and even more support towards the high street.

Work to Clarence Fountain begins towards the end of March, following Gold Cup Week and is due to be complete by June.

Watch the short video from earlier this year, where Cllr Max Wilkinson talks through the planned changes.


For press enquiries contact: communications@cheltenham.gov.uk, 01242 264288.

Background

The plans for Clarence Fountain were agreed by cabinet in December 2021.

Following Gloucestershire County Council’s decision to re-open the junction of Clarence Street and High Street (known locally as Boots Corner) to all traffic following the trial temporary closure, Cheltenham Borough Council has led and invested in the development of more attractive and sustainable permanent improvements to the plinth surrounding the fountain.