Summary of the Budget announcements relating to High Streets.

Business rate reduction
Business rates for retailers with a rateable value of up to £51,000 will be cut by one third for the next two years, potentially benefitting almost 500,000 businesses and saving them around £900 million. Local Authorities will be fully compensated for the loss of income. The cut takes effect immediately in England but will need to be agreed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
High Street Fund
A £675m Future High Streets Fund was announced to support local areas in England to prepare long term strategies for their high streets and town centres and then co-fund investment in town centre infrastructure, including to increase access to high streets and support redevelopment and densification around high streets through allowing investment in land assembly. The Fund will also support the regeneration of heritage high streets (up to £55m of the overall Fund). The expectation is that local authorities will partner with the private sector to develop proposals. The Fund is for High Street change not for adding additional retail space. Full details of the Fund will be announced by the year end but further information is available in a Department fact sheet

High Street Taskforce
The Fund will also support a new High Streets Taskforce that will support local leadership, providing high streets and town centres expert advice to adapt and thrive. This will provide hands-on support to local areas to develop data-driven innovative strategies and connect local areas to relevant experts. This will be launched early next year.
Planning consultation
A planning consultation opened yesterday to help support change on the high street. It is for England only and runs until 14 January 2019. This aims to make it easier for high streets to adapt for the future, with a wider range of retail, residential and other uses, looking at conversion of retail space to homes or offices and the potential for mixed use schemes. A second consultation will be published soon, including how to support the more effective use of tools such as Compulsory Purchase Orders and Local Development Orders.
Commercial property register
A register of empty commercial properties to support wider regeneration of our high streets and town centres is to be piloted.
Community use pilot
An ‘Open Doors’ pilot in five town centres to bring empty properties back into use by matching landlords of vacant premises with local community groups looking for space will be launched.
Public toilets
Standalone public toilets, however owned, will be no longer pay business rates. This covers 3,500 premises but will need legislation to introduce.
Transforming city fund
This has been increased to £2.4 billion and includes an extra £90 million for on demand buses
Belfast recovery
£2 million allocated to Belfast to help recovery from the Primark fire.
Digital Services Tax

Comes into force in April 2020 and expected to raise £400 million and only applies to companies generating more than £500 million per annum through the taxable business lines. This would include Amazon and other online marketplaces.
Immediate highway activities

£420 million made immediately available to local authorities for pothole repair, bridge repairs and other minor works. To be spent this year.

Beer, cider and spirit duty have been frozen in a move to support pubs, which are an important feature of many high streets. The British Beer and Pub Association has welcomed the announcement saying: “An early Christmas for pubs and pub goers, saving the trade more than £100 million and securing thousands of jobs.”

Note, all information taken from Institute of Place Management

Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival starts this weekend


The Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival (Saturday 21 – Sunday 29 July) takes over the city for a jam-packed festival of live music with nearly 70 live performances in the city’s pubs and cafes over nine days. The long-running festival opens with a special preview night (9pm Friday) at the Dick Whittington with the D. B. Smith Band. Then on Saturday, the festival kicks into overdrive with seven gigs including a performance from Blues supergroup Hipkiss, fronted by the 2012 British Blues Award-winning saxophonist, Patsy Gamble, and Muddy Manninen (ex-Wishbone Ash).

Highlights include former European Blues Challenge winners Max and Veronica from Milan, Innes Sibun Band, Buzzin’ Hornets, Oliver Darling And The Dirty Robbers, Storm Warning and the critically acclaimed Elles Bailey Band whose 2017 debut album ‘Wildfire’ earned rave reviews. Maverick Magazine gave ‘Wildfire’ top marks (5/5) calling every song ‘Fresh & Original’ and Blues In Britain reminding us that ‘It’s a fact that very few make it to the big stage but Elles Bailey has the necessary talent, the drive, and now the product.’ She has been nominated for this year’s Best Female Act at the European Blues Awards and has scooped another 4 nominations at the British Blues Awards.

On Wednesday 25 July, The Cross Keys Inn hosts the official Blues Festival Open Mic hosted by Mark Cole. Expect a few surprise guests popping in to play with the Sons of the Delta front man. On the closing weekend, both the Dick Whittington and Café Rene will have outdoor stages. The venues involved are:

  • Angie’s Bar – Bull Lane
  • Café René – Southgate Street
  • Cross Keys Inn – Cross Keys Lane
  • Dick Whittington – Westgate Street
  • The Fountain Inn – Westgate Street
  • Gloucester Brewery – Gloucester Docks
  • The Old Bell – Southgate Street
  • Peppers Café – Bull Lane
  • The Tall Ship – Southgate Street
  • Tank – Gloucester Docks


Gloucester Rhythm & Blues is a mainstay of Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts & Culture and is organised by Marketing Gloucester in association with Tim Porter and supported by Gloucester City Council.


The full schedule can be found at

Last chance to enter this weekend’s WSP Art In City as Gloucester becomes giant art space

jackjaninaAmateur and professional artists hoping to compete for cash prizes are urged to sign up to this weekend’s WSP Art In City competitions before time runs out. WSP Art in the City celebrates creativity inspired by Gloucester’s history and heritage, its picturesque surroundings and its people. Easels and palettes will be dotted around Gloucester Cathedral and the historic Docks as promising Pablo Picassos and fledgling Frida Kahlos will be competing in the ‘Plein Air’ outdoor painting competition on Saturday 14 July. In the Open Art competition, artists will be displaying past work inside the Cathedral’s ornate cloisters for the judges’ consideration. Both contests are offering a first prize of £1,000, £500 for runners up and £250 for the student prize. There is also a family competition where a whole clan can collaborate on a piece of art! The judging panel includes art historian and BBC broadcaster, Dr Janina Ramirez; WSP Art In the City artistic director, Russell Haines; and Stroud-based abstract artist, Ed Swarez.


There are citywide artists’ exhibitions including one from former England cricketer, Jack Russell MBE (celebrating his 30th anniversary as a professional artist), in St Michael’s Tower; a group exhibition in Debenhams, and many more in Gloucester’s shopping centres, churches and public buildings. Visit for the full list of artists and locations.

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To keep the children happy, there are free art workshops taking place Saturday and Sunday at 38 Westgate Street (on the corner of College Court) where you can learn a whole range of artistic crafts. All workshops are free and do not require any booking – just turn up! A fabulous Artisan Street Market will pitch up in the Gate Street and feature arts, crafts, food and drink on both days.

Artistic director of the festival, Russell Haines, said: “This year’s WSP Art in the City will see Gloucester turned into one huge art space with exhibitions, competitions and workshops for everyone. I hope many people will come out in the beautiful weather (perfect light for painting!) and take part in the competitions and workshops, perhaps producing a masterpiece of this magnificent city.”

WSP Art in the City is sponsored by WSP Solicitors and organised by Marketing Gloucester as part of SoMAC – Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts and Culture.


Contestants can register at

For more information on artists involved, exhibitions, workshops and the market visit


For more information, please contact





Everything you need to know about Art In The City



Whether it’s iconic landmarks such as the magnificent Gloucester Cathedral, the picturesque Victorian Docks, or street scenes of everyday life, artists will be competing in this exciting event for all to see.

The finished pieces will be displayed in an exhibition with judges awarding prizes to the best work for each category. Contestants’ artwork will be judged by the panel on the evening of Saturday 14 July 2018. The judges will be looking at which artworks best capture the spirit of the city.


Winner £1000

Runner up £500

Student £250



Anybody can enter this competition and each artist can submit up to 3 entries, as long as they have been completed within the last 3 years. The pieces can be any theme or medium and all submissions will be displayed in Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters and Cloister Gardens, depending on the weather.


Winner £1000

Runner Up £500

Student £250



All new for WSP Art In The City 2018, an exciting new category – the family category. It invites families to participate in the creation of a piece of art, contestants can either create one piece between the whole family or each individual family member can create their own piece and the pieces will be judged collectively. There will be prizes of £25 Gift Cards for the 10 best entries.



Another exciting new category for this year is the Community Group Competition – a chance for 15 community groups to create an artwork with the theme “My Community”

They have been given FREE materials courtesy of Gloucester City Council, Marketing Gloucester and Jackson’s Art Supplies and will compete to win the £500 prize for the best entry.

Cllr Jennie Watkins, who came up with the idea, will announce the winner on the evening Saturday 14th July at the Ivor Gurney Hall (Kings School).



A full list and a map can be found in the accompanying leaflet.

Preparing for Full Fibre, Scoping Study commissioned for Gloucestershire Joint Core Strategy Area

imagesThe Fastershire project is seeking the services of a suitably qualified consultant to help crystallise an understanding of the need, demand, opportunity, and potential for pervasive full fibre connectivity within the urban localities of Gloucestershire. The study will need to identify the needs of and available infrastructure assets owned by public sector partners including local councils, the NHS and emergency services as well as the education sector. Additionally it will need to investigate and assess the appetite of various private sector organisations to leverage the demand and assets of the public sector to generate full fibre connectivity more widely. In the first instance to key business parks, regeneration zones, GPs Surgeries and student accommodation but potentially further providing all pervasive residential and business access to full fibre access across the Study Area.

Want to know the answers to the important questions? Friday is the opportunity

Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast – 1st June 2018

Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall will play host to the next Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast on Friday 1st June 2018.

Hosted by former editor of The Gloucester Citizen, Ian Mean, the breakfast will bring together Gloucestershire businesses large and small; what’s more it’s open to both members and non-members of Gloucestershire Chamber, so you’ll always find new connections!

In addition to unrivalled networking opportunities, the breakfast will feature keynotes speeches by:

  • Sir Henry Elwes, former Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire;
  • Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester;
  • Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council; and
  • Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire.


7.30 am – arrival, tea, coffee and networking

8.00 am – welcome followed by presentations

8.30 am – breakfast served

9.30 am – event closes


Places are limited – you can secure yours by registering online here.

Opportunity to hear about future for Gloucestershire June 1st with Sir Henry Elwes, Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, and Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire


Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast – 1st June 2018

Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall will play host to the next Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce networking breakfast on Friday 1st June 2018.

Hosted by former editor of The Gloucester Citizen, Ian Mean, the breakfast will bring together Gloucestershire businesses large and small; what’s more it’s open to both members and non-members of Gloucestershire Chamber, so you’ll always find new connections!

In addition to unrivalled networking opportunities, the breakfast will feature keynotes speeches by:

  • Sir Henry Elwes, former Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire;
  • Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester;
  • Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council; and
  • Stephen Marston, Vice Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire.



7.30 am – arrival, tea, coffee and networking

8.00 am – welcome followed by presentations

8.30 am – breakfast served

9.30 am – event closes


Places are limited – you can secure yours by registering online here

Gloucester to hold big screen street party for Royal Wedding (and the FA Cup Final)

insider-harry-meghanWell-wishers in Gloucester are invited to attend a Royal Wedding street party in King’s Square in the city centre to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday 19 May. The ceremony will beamed live on to a big screen for members of the public to enjoy.  

Benches will be laid out in Kings Square for people to bring a picnic and enjoy the family friendly atmosphere. It’s also a great opportunity to support local cafes and bars in Kings Square who will be serving food and drink for people to enjoy on this historic occasion. People are also free to bring along their own seating. There will be free children’s activities, face painting, giant inflatable games including ‘human fussball’, and lots more. 

After the Royal Wedding, the big screen will stay in operation for a live broadcast of the FA Cup Final featuring Chelsea versus Manchester United. The big screen and street party has been organised by Gloucester Business Improvement District (Gloucester BID) in partnership with Gloucester City Council and Marketing Gloucester. 

Jason Smith, chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, said: “This is a great opportunity for the local community to come together and celebrate occasions of national importance such as a royal wedding. We hope that the people of Gloucester will have fun watching it on the big screen among other people and turn Kings Square into a right royal street party among the flags and bunting.” 

The big screen coverage of the Royal Wedding begins at 11am until 2pm. It will be followed by the build up to the FA Cup Final with the big match kicking off at 5.15pm.


For more information, contact




Notes for Editors


About Gloucester BID

Gloucester Business Improvement District is made up of 576 businesses in the city centre of Gloucester who voted in July 2017 to invest approximately £2.5 million back into the city.


City celebrates the life of Aethelflaed, Gloucester’s warrior queen

1426072349thefldGloucester will celebrate the life of Aethelflaed on 9 – 12 June 2018 thanks to joint Great Place funding from the Heritage Lottery and Arts Council, Gloucester City Council and Gloucester Business Improvement District; with events organised by Marketing Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester Civic Trust, Gloucester Culture Trust, Gloucester History Festival and the Museum of Gloucester.

Tuesday 12 June 2018 marks the 1100th anniversary of the death of Aethelflaed, one of the most pivotal women in English history, who ruled from and was buried in Gloucester. A fascinating and interactive programme of events along with a website has been launched to celebrate her life and achievements that had a profound impact on not only Gloucester but all across England. Exclusive talks BBC historians and regulars at the Gloucester History Festival, Dr Janina Ramirez and Tom Holland, and probably most excitingly a Saxon-inspired funeral procession through the ancient streets that she laid out, are among the undoubted highlights for visitors and history buffs this June.

As the ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, she laid the foundations of the England we know today. Gloucester’s connection to Aethelflaed is indeed a strong one as she refortified the former Roman settlement and defended it from the Vikings, she ruled from the Anglo Saxon Palace in Kingsholm, She built St Oswald’s Priory to house the sacred relics of one of England’s most devoutly Christian kings and she was buried beneath the same building.

There will be an Anglo-Saxon encampment at St Oswald’s Priory where members of the public will have the chance see what life was like in the tenth century and also take part in an archaeological study. The encampment will host specially commissioned music, drama and spoken word performances inspired by Aethelflaed. Members of the public can enjoy free Saxon Tours of Gloucester to help set the scene and a special exhibition will be held at the Museum of Gloucester over the summer. Gloucester Cathedral will hold a special Evensong dedicated to Aethelflaed on the actual anniversary, Tuesday 12 June.

Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester commented “After over four years of promoting the knowledge of one of the most important women in English History it is a real delight for us to see so many people and organisations involved in commemorating her achievements.  We are sure that the events planned will be memorable for all involved”

Nick Brookes, chair of Gloucester Business Improvement District, said: “Gloucester owes a great debt to Lady Aethelflaed. After the Romans, Aethelflaed played a hugely important role in laying the foundations of the Gloucester we see today. We hope that the public will join us in celebrating her life and achievements.”


The Programme is as follows:


Friday 8 June to Sunday 10 June – Living History at St Oswald’s Priory


Saturday 9 June – Saxon Funeral Procession (12pm from Gloucester Docks)


Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 June – Aethelflaed Commissioned Pieces

  • Spaces – George Moorey
  • Spaniel In The Works presents Ballad of Aethelflaed
  • Founding Mother on a Chessboard of Kings – Grove and JPDL
  • Interactive Storytelling – Shirley Halse


Sunday 10 June – Blackfriars Talks

  • Aethelflaed And Gloucester: The Golden Minster – Carolyn Heighway And Michael Hare
  • Women Warlords and Warrior Queens – Janina Ramirez
  • Aethelflaed: England’s Founding Mother – Tom Holland


The entire programme of events can be found at

For more information please contact

Event organisers invited to promote in this year’s Gloucester Summer of Music, Arts and Culture brochure

As Gloucester looks forward to another event-filled summer celebrating the city’s vibrant culture and musical scene, Marketing Gloucester invites event organisers to be included in this year’s SoMAC brochure.

Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts and Culture is the annual festival running throughout July and August, bringing together established events including the Gloucester Carnival, the Gloucester Rhythm & Blues Festival and Gloucester Goes Retro alongside newer events such as WSP Solicitors Art In The City and the Gloucester Classical Music Festival.

Marketing Gloucester will also promote other summer cultural events in Gloucester free of charge. Last year the Museum of Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, St Mary de Crypt Church, Gloucester Guildhall, King’s Theatre, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, the Gloucester 10K, and Gloucester Quays benefitted from the additional exposure as the brochure, banners, PR and social media reached an audience of more than 1.5 million over the summermonths.

If you are an event organiser and you think your event or festival would fit in with Gloucester’s Summer of Music, Arts and Culture and would benefit from being a part of the overall brand, contact Marketing Gloucester on with your event details byWednesday 9 May 2018.

Gloucester CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival returns 27 – 28 April

The 6th Gloucester CAMRA Beer & Cider Festival is taking place on 27-28 April and will once again be hosted in the historic Blackfriars Priory, off Southgate Street in Gloucester. We will have around 100 ales and 30 ciders, plus a selection of wine and prosecco. The magnificent Blackfriars building proves a perfect backdrop for the festival with a variety of rooms, including quiet rooms and the priory’s beautiful South Range, plus the (hopefully!) sunny courtyard. The cavernous main hall is ideal for keeping the beers and ciders at the perfect temperature.

Our 100 beers once again come from across the country – from as far Alexandria in Scotland to the north and Penzance in Cornwall to the South. We also have a wide range of local beers from around Gloucester, with the closest coming from Gloucester Brewery and the Brewhouse and Kitchen, just yards from the venue in Gloucester Docks, and the newest being from Clavell & Hind, recently opened at Birdlip.

For the enthusiasts we have a wide range of styles from bitter and IPAs to blonde, golden, pale and red ales. We’ve even got a green one. We’ve got porters, stouts and, for CAMRA’s ‘Mild Month’, a good selection of milds. We’ve got wheat beer, lager and, for the truly adventurous, a rhubarb and hibiscus Grisette. We’ve also sourced beers from microbreweries around the country that you’re unlikely to find in your local.

The festival is not just for beer lovers, we also have an equally interesting mix of ciders and perries. Many come from traditional cider areas around Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Somerset, but we also have some from Wales and Nottinghamshire. As well as the traditional sweet medium and dry, we have ciders made with sloeberries, oranges, blackcurrant, lemon & lime, strawberry, garlic & chilli, elderflower and rhubarb.

There is also wine and prosecco available and, as if all of that isn’t enough, we will once again have our popular selection of Gloucestershire cheeses, including varieties from  Charles Martel, Smarts, Crumps and Woefuldane. There will also be hot food available throughout the festival.

The festival isn’t just for die-hard beer and cider lovers. Being in the centre of town it attracts a wide range of customers of all ages and interests to come and have a fun, relaxing time. Of course Gloucester Rugby are playing at home to Bath on the Saturday, so we anticipate a fair few cherry and white shirts about the festival before and after the match as well, with the away supporters being equally welcome. We have beers from both Gloucester and Bath, so the friendly rivalry can continue!

There is entertainment on throughout the festival with a mix of bands and solo artists from around the county, including the ever-popular Tewkesbury Town Band on Saturday afternoon and some popular sing-along covers bands to bring the festival to a close each day. Each year we support a charity at the festival and our chosen charity this year is the James Hopkins Trust.

Entry price is just £6 – the same as last year – with tickets available on the door only. CAMRA members get a free pint with members card. People can join at the festival if they wish.


For more information visit