Published on 16th May 2011

Public consultation, 16 May to 24 June

Plans to regenerate Imperial Gardens are being unveiled today and are open for public consultation until 24 June.  The re-design will accommodate both the gardens and Cheltenham Festivals, to create a 'festival in garden' appearance. 

Under the proposals, an attractive paved area will be created to the front of the garden bar for tables and chairs.  Flowering varieties of trees will be planted and floral beds will be redesigned.  Existing shrubberies will be refurbished with sustainable forms of planting, for example roses. The formal gardens will stay and space will allow for festival marquees in both tiers of Imperial Gardens.  The entrance will be upgraded to accommodate additional festival vehicles which mean that marquees can be put up and taken down quickly and safely.

As part of the scheme, Skillicorne Gardens - an enclosed area to the back of the Town Hall - will also be revamped with cottage style planting and then reopened.

Members of the public can see the designs at the Municipal Offices throughout the consultation and they will also be available in the form of a leaflet at libraries and resource centres* throughout the borough.  They can also be viewed on the council's website. People will be able to complete comment cards or send their views by email.

Councillor Roger Whyborn, cabinet member for sustainability said:  ''Imperial Gardens are an iconic symbol of Cheltenham, enjoyed by many people everyday, especially during the summer months.  Likewise, the Festivals are an internationally recognised tourist attraction, firmly placing Cheltenham on the map.

''Holding Festival events in such a prominent and much loved location showcases how valued they are and it's vital that we do all we can to make sure that they stay here.  The investment to create a 'festival in garden' approach aims to balance the demands of local residents and the aspirations of the festivals. I hope that members of the public will take time to look at the plans and share their views.''

Dave Stennett, chair of the Friends of Imperial Square and Gardens said: ''First impressions of the plans are favourable. Councillor Roger Whyborn and the council's parks team have taken on board many of our concerns, and we hope that the wider consultation will satisfy us all.''

Following the consultation, full council will decide whether to take forward the proposals when they meet on 27 June 2011.

For media enquiries, contact: Katie Sandey, communications, telephone 01242 775050, email [email protected]

Editor's notes

* Consultation venues and dates

From 16 May throughout:
Municipal Offices reception area. Not manned, box for comment cards

From 19 May throughout:
Springbank Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Oakley Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Lower High St Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Hester's Way Neighbourhood Resource Centre
Local libraries  
The above will not manned, box for comment cards

19 & 23 May, 2-8pm and 2 June, 1-6pm
Sherborne Room, Muncipal Offices. These stands will be manned

26 May, 10am - 4.30pm and 3 June, 10am - 4.30pm
Regent Arcade.  These stands will be manned

At its meeting of 15 March 2011, the council's cabinet resolved that an outline design be drawn up for Imperial Gardens to accommodate increased marquee construction in connection with the Cheltenham Festivals.

Beginning in 2012 it is proposed that the Jazz Festival will take place in Montpellier Gardens in May, and the Science in Imperial Gardens in June. Starting this year the Literature Festival will take place in both Gardens. Until now all Cheltenham Festival Events have taken place in Imperial Gardens.

Cabinet has allocated £140,000 to undertake landscape improvements to Imperial Gardens and to upgrade its infrastructure in order to accommodate the increased marquee footprint. Modifications to the electricity, water and sewer supplies will also be needed in Montpellier Gardens in order to accommodate this and existing special event usage.
The marquee footprint (excluding gazebos and covered walkways) is to be kept to a maximum area of 2750m2. Both Imperial and Montpellier Gardens will not be subject to more than 75 days of special event usage, including setting up and taking down.