Cheltenham High Street East, Public Realm Improvement

26 04 2018

“Public realm embraces the external places in our towns and cities that are accessible to all; everyday spaces that we move through and linger within, the places where we live, work and play.” Anon

Cheltenham town centre is a popular regional shopping destination entertaining significant numbers of visitors throughout the year.  These numbers are further supplemented by tourists attending the many festivals and events, culminating in the annual Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Cheltenham Borough Council, supported by the local Highway Authority, Gloucestershire County Council, and with additional funding by the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF), proposed a major public realm improvement.

General Masterplan Visualisation

Overall Masterplan Visualisation (© Cheltenham Borough Council)

The main High Street shopping area has been a pedestrian zone since the 1980s.  Over the intervening period, some sections of the High Street have become dilapidated; damaged by heavy vehicles servicing the shop fronts, poor quality reinstatements to utility excavations, and with blocked or ineffective surface water drainage.

The Stilwell Partnership were pleased to be appointed to provide the professional civil engineering that would revive the tired townscape and create a quality environment. Our role was to interpret the conceptual designs to current technical standards and produce engineering drawings and specification for construction. Completion was programmed to coincide with the opening of Cheltenham’s new John Lewis flagship development in Autumn 2018.

The improvement would include high quality natural stone paving, efficient surface water drainage, additional public seating, and provide biodiversity by soft landscaping,  and an area for cultural events.


Phase 1 Visualisation (© Cheltenham Borough Council)

General Layout Phase 1

Appointed in December 2017 against a tight timescale, the detailed design was to be presented for Client approval in mid-February 2018, immediately followed by the (s278) technical submission to the Highway Authority.  Tender Documents for construction were to be issued shortly afterwards.

The Stilwell Partnership successfully met each of these key milestones, enabling the procurement process and legal agreements to progress on schedule for this first £700,000 section.

The Stilwell Partnership continues to play a key role working with the Project Managers & Quantity Surveyors, Faithful & Gould, and the Cheltenham Borough project team.

We will update the blog as construction progresses.

ESIF logo

All images are subject to copyright and are used with the kind permission of Cheltenham Borough Council.



Parish Councils and The Localism Act – Neighbourhood Planning, Community Right to Build and the Community Infrastructure Levy

28 03 2012

The Stilwell Partnership Consulting Civil Engineers
The Stilwell Partnership has been actively supporting Local Councils for 20 years. We continue to serve the local community groups including Residents Associations, Local Traders and Parish Councils. Our innovative approach combining sustainable solutions to Transport, Drainage and Energy has created safe and sustainable development for the benefit of the whole community.

Three Ways that The Stilwell Partnership can help your local community group:
Progressing the Neighbourhood Development Plan

  • We can quickly and cost-effectively give you technical advice, in support of your local consultation with clear and informative material

Bringing Improvements to your community

  • Discuss your conceptual proposals with us
  • Let us detail those ideas and help you bring the ideas to reality
  • An outline scheme and budget price will cost you less than you think

Creating places: Walton-on-Thames High Street improvement

Concerns about proposed developments affecting your community?

  • Call us and we will give you an impartial opinion

Stilwell Highway evidence leads to rejection of Lightwater Tesco Appeal.

Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)
Local communities will have genuine opportunities to influence the future of the places where they live. Neighbourhood Planning will allow communities to come together through a local parish council or “neighbourhood forum” and say where they think new houses, businesses and shops should go – and what they should look like.
The Localism Act introduces a new right for communities to draw up a “Neighbourhood Development Plan” (NDP). Communities will be able to use NDPs to set policies for development and use of land in their neighbourhoods and through the use of Neighbourhood Development Orders can permit development – in full or in outline. These NDPs could be very simple, or go into considerable detail as necessary.
Not all Planning decisions can be made at a neighbourhood or local level, such as those affecting environmental issues (like flooding), public transport networks or major new retail parks.

Community right to build
The Act gives groups of local people the power to deliver development that their local community wants. They may wish to build new homes, businesses, shops, playgrounds or meeting halls. Providing that they meet minimum criteria and can demonstrate local support through a local referendum, the scheme will be able to go ahead without requiring a separate traditional Planning Application.

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
The Act proposes changes to the CIL to make it more flexible. Some of the money raised from the levy may be directed towards neighbourhoods where the development is taking place. This will help ensure that the people who say “yes” to new development feel the benefit of that decision.
A new housing development, for example, might create extra traffic on existing local roads. Without mitigating measures, the development might produce too many strains on infrastructure and too many problems for local people to find acceptable. If, however, extra money available from the “new homes bonus” were to be invested in, say, a new roundabout and traffic calming measures, then the development might be acceptable.

NB Localism Bill details extracted from A plain English guide to the Localism Bill update; Published June 2011 by Department for Communities and Local Government