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A P RIL 20 0 8

InMotion... MO V ING C H E LT E N H A M FOR WA R D

New look for town centre Civic Pride - what does it mean for you?


Contents The most beautiful town in England North Place Royal Well Boots Corner Where will the traffic go? The bigger picture Tell us what you think

page 4 page 6 page 8 page 10 page 11 page 12 page 14

Have your say!

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The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008

Welcome

Andrew North

Grahame Lewis

Chief executive

Strategic director, environment

Cheltenham Borough Council

Cheltenham Borough Council

Welcome to this special edition magazine, which concentrates on Civic Pride, a regeneration scheme that will dramatically change the way our town centre looks and feels over the next five to ten years. During the last eight years or so, we have been working with our partners, Gloucestershire County Council and South West Regional Development Agency, to put together a thorough set of proposals to refresh and regenerate Cheltenham’s town centre.

At first sight, Cheltenham might not appear to be in need of regeneration. Fine regency buildings and beautiful parks, great shopping, renowned festivals and the racecourse attract thousands of visitors every year. Dig a little deeper, however, and we see congested roads carrying high volumes of traffic through the centre, streets that look tired and cluttered, and a clear opportunity to revive the centre with improved public spaces and quality redevelopment.

Civic Pride has cross-party political support, and we have consulted with resident community groups and schools particularly where there are serious traffic issues - and interest groups, such as the Civic Society.

Regenerating Cheltenham goes beyond the development of the council’s three key sites - North Place, Royal Well and Boots’ corner. It means creating a town centre where it’s easy for people to get around. It means creating public spaces that are attractive and can be shared by all. It also puts us, the council, in a strong position to set an example for thinking and acting ‘green’.

This project has huge potential to draw in investment and economic opportunities, as well as to create a more attractive town centre for you, as a Cheltenham resident. I hope you will tell us what you think, so we can reflect your views in the proposals when they go to full council later this year.

We know it’s going to be complex and at times disruptive to local people. But our lasting goal is to create a town centre that is an exciting 21st Century destination.

Tell us what you think - see page 15 - or visit

www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride Deadline for comments is 14 April 2008

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InMotion

The most beautiful town in England It’s an ambitious aim that guides our urban design framework - for Cheltenham to be the most beautiful town in England. • New public squares created at Boots’ corner, North Place and Royal Well • High quality paving materials laid across the town centre • Hundreds of new trees planted • Bold new public art • New street signs, benches and litter bins • Less traffic • More people walking, cycling and using public transport When we talk about urban design, we mean the design of buildings, public spaces, landscapes and streets. Cheltenham’s urban design framework is an extensive piece of work that analyses transport, economic, environmental and land-use issues affecting the town. It will help to guide planning and development in the area, and looks specifically at the redevelopment of three council-owned sites: North Place car parks, Royal Well and Boots Corner. It also looks at ways to improve the town’s public spaces.

Getting the look right Our public realm strategy sets out how we want to bring together the look of the town centre in terms of, for example, signage, lighting, public art, street furniture and the materials we use. Signs should be clear and easy to read and well-positioned without dominating the streetscene. Street furniture includes seats, benches, bins, bollards, cycle racks, bus shelters and tree surrounds. Street furniture should not reflect any heritage style or imitate a point in history. The materials used should be durable

and vandal-proof. The designs should be simple, stylish, elegant and versatile. Well-designed lighting can create a clear sense of place and vibrancy, at the same time providing a safe environment for all users of the town centre. Used well, public art can set a coherent pattern to understand the town. Gateways - that is, well-recognised routes into and out of town - are possible places for public art, and lettering and paving materials can also be used. Decluttering is about removing unnecessary street furniture and signage to create a clean, uncluttered look.

“I have known Cheltenham all my life and see this project as an exciting opportunity to reinvigorate some of its less-loved streets and spaces. Having worked on the redesign of a number of main streets elsewhere, I want to use experience from home and abroad to create a series of vibrant and attractive places which are safe to be in and easy to move around.” Wilf Tomaney urban designer - Cheltenham Borough Council

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The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

Lighting at Finsbury Avenue Square, London

The aim of Civic Pride Our aim is to preserve the town’s regency heritage, and at the same time revitalise our street scene, including the buildings, roads and open spaces. The scheme will attract investment from the private sector to add more leading retailers, and other commercial users, as well as smaller independent traders to the vibrant mix of shops and services already present in the town.

Support from all political parties The work of the consultants has been watched closely by two different groups: an officer working group and a member steering group.

The officer working group is a multidisciplinary group of experts from Cheltenham Borough Council, South West RDA and Gloucestershire County Council. The member steering group consists of the leader of the council and an elected councillor from each of the four political parties in Cheltenham, and also the lead cabinet member for environment and community from Gloucestershire County Council.

GOOD PRACTICE - SHARED SPACE

Worcester

How much will it cost? Regeneration of the town centre has been estimated initially to cost around £10 million. Funding will come from the sale of council-owned land, including North Place and Royal Well. The money raised from the sites is being ploughed directly back into the town to improve its public realm (see page 4) and boost Cheltenham's economy. Gloucestershire County Council is providing £400,000 towards the delivery of Civic Pride. There is no expectation for council tax to be increased to pay for Civic Pride.

To find out more This magazine is a summary of the council’s ‘urban design framework supplementary planning document’. To read this in full, as well as the technical reports that go with it, please go to www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride. Here, you can also submit your feedback online.

Public art, Birmingham

“When masterplanning the three major development sites, we will ensure that all aspects of the transport implications are analysed and addressed. We want to reduce the impact of the private car, and encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport.” Simon Excell Regeneration & sustainable development manager - Gloucestershire County Council

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InMotion

North Place At the moment, the area of land either side of North Place is used as a public car park, with space for 300 cars. It’s a short walk to the High Street and Boots’ corner, at the heart of Cheltenham’s town centre. Access for public transport is good, with frequent bus services running along St Margaret’s Road and Portland Street. The existing bus station at Royal Well is 650 metres to the south. With any development, we have to be careful to protect our historical buildings. The aim here is to improve the site, and so we will involve English Heritage every step of the way, as well as call on our own conservation and planning experts.

A new gateway

Artists impression with Holy Trinity Church in the foreground

Many of the buildings surrounding the site are listed. These include St Margaret’s Terrace, a four storey grade II* listed terrace; grade II listed Portland Chapel, now been used as a health spa; and grade II listed Formosa House and grade II listed Clarence Court, both of which back onto the northern edge of the site. Dowty House, a residential home for the elderly,

is on the site boundary. Although it is not statutory listed it is on the council’s Index of Buildings of Local Importance. The tower of Dowty House is a visible landmark on St Margaret’s Road. Also nearby are the Brewery retail and leisure complex and the grade II* listed Holy Trinity Church on Portland Street.

“This is an exciting opportunity to build on Cheltenham’s enviable reputation for quality and culture and to improve the town centre environment for future generations. The strategy is now close to completion and I’m looking forward to working with our partners on its delivery.” Mike Redman assistant director built environment - Cheltenham Borough Council

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By developing the car park at North Place, we have an opportunity to create a new ‘gateway’ into the north side of Cheltenham. Our design brief will include an area of public space - a civic square to draw people in from the high street. We will be looking to include a mix of residential, office, retail and parking. There is an opportunity to create a new multi-purpose civic building: this could be used for borough and county council services, and possibly a police station and a library/learning centre.


The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

Getting around On foot The idea is to draw a line between Dowty House and Holy Trinity Church, with a pedestrian route to link the Brewery and High Street (see page 6). This makes the most of the views of the historic buildings. By road We want to avoid new access points onto St Margaret’s Road - which is busy already - so existing junctions will be used as far as possible. Portland Street would probably stay open to traffic, although North Place could be closed. We want to improve St Margaret’s Road, with junctions that will help pedestrians and ease traffic movement.

Parking We will need to provide 300 public car parking spaces*, and developers may be asked to consider two options for the car park: one underground and the other over ground. Parking for residents will be provided at an average of 0.8 spaces per household - on the assumption that not all residents will require a parking space. Limited parking will be provided for other commercial, retail and civic uses, for essential operational requirements only. Any office parking could be used at weekends for public parking. * The St Margaret’s supplementary planning guidance (adopted 1999) sets a target of 800 parking spaces for the north west portion of the town centre. As the

NCP and High Street car park offer 500 spaces, a further 300 are required for North Place/Portland Street.

Thinking ‘green’ A vital part of our design brief - developers must think ‘green’. For example, we want to see buildings in North Place making the most of passive solar gain - using the sun’s energy to power services to buildings - where possible. Other ways of eco-friendly development include planting on rooftops or walls - for example, green walls on a car park development can improve air quality as well as the appearance of otherwise drab walls. The development should aim to achieve Level 5 of the code for sustainable homes and ‘very good’ under the BREEAM environmental building standards.* * BREEAM (which stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a construction industry standard that measures the environmental impact of a building throughout its life.

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Have your say! page 15

“My normal job is vice principal of Gloucestershire College where I have been responsible for overseeing the college’s ambitious £55m accommodation strategy. This experience, and my links to a host of regeneration agencies, is being put to good use by the council which has seconded me part-time to help develop the next steps for Civic Pride - essentially, moving from the planning phase to the delivery of specific projects.” Jeremy Williamson special projects - Cheltenham Borough Council

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InMotion

Royal Well Royal Well is in a central position and its crescent, built between 1805 and 1810, is one of the country’s finest examples of regency architecture. At the moment, the area is used as a bus station and council car park, with the rear of the Municipal Offices running alongside. The busy inner-ring road carries large volumes of traffic straight through the site. With its impressive buildings, trees and green space, Royal Well is currently, however, a ‘hidden’ public space. A new public space To improve the setting of Royal Well, we are looking to close the inner ring road, giving priority to walkers, cyclists and public transport. The area will benefit from increased paving, seating, landmark features and public art. We believe that the two large London Plane trees should stay on Royal Well green. We also want to keep the impressive views of the Ladies College, Chapel and Royal Crescent. The new development will bring out the sweeping curve of the crescent and create an area that local people and visitors can enjoy.

“There are many complex legal issues involved in a regeneration project such as this. On a personal level, I was born and raised in Cheltenham so I am excited and privileged, as the lead solicitor for Civic Pride, to be involved with shaping the future of Cheltenham.” Donna McFarlane solicitor - Cheltenham Borough Council

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Shared space on Clarence Street will be considered, with pedestrians and public transport passing through. Crescent Place could also be pedestrianised, giving opportunity for displays of public art, street performance and café culture. Street trees may be planted to create a better link between the crescent and St Mary’s, as well as improving the local environment.


The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

Moving offices

Public transport

The possible relocation of council staff from the Municipal Offices will mean that the building could be, for example, an upmarket boutique hotel. A new building to the back of the Municipal Offices will overlook Royal Crescent and the green area which fronts it.

At the moment, various local and national coach services arrive and depart from Royal Well. Our consultants, Halcrow, have proposed that the coach drop off point remains at Royal Well but is given sensitive re-design treatment. However, three further options could be considered, but more work is required to see if they are feasible: • Coach station is moved to an alternative site • No specific coach station. Coaches drop off where appropriate; for example National Express on the Promenade and day trips outside the Town Hall • Coaches pick up and drop off at Park and Ride sites

Any other new developments will be of mixed use, to include leisure and retail outlets, with some houses or flats. These plans will involve English Heritage and will be subject to a conservation management plan, meaning that all developments will be sympathetic to the area and to individual historic buildings being affected by development proposals.

Getting around Our traffic impact assessment - (see page 11) - shows that with the removal of the ring road, Royal Well traffic will be evenly distributed across the existing town centre road network. Improvements to traffic management will be made with junction improvements in particular areas of the town centre.

Parking The current private parking along Crescent Place will continue. The public car park at Chapel Walk will be removed.

Thinking green In line with our sustainable transport policies, and our desire to encourage people to walk, cycle or take a bus, car parking within this area will not be encouraged. Underground parking is going to be impractical as the area is within the floodplain.

GOOD PRACTICE - GREAT NORTHERN SQUARE

Manchester

Flood risks The River Chelt culvert - which carries the flow of water across the borough runs along the edge of Royal Well. So that there is continued access to the culvert, no development is allowed above or within five metres either side of it. As parts of this area are considered a high risk flood zone, a site specific flood risk assessment will be required to truly understand the risk of flooding. This will guide our decision as to what can be built and where; for example residential properties could not be built on an area of flood risk.

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Have your say! page 15

“As a qualified and experienced architect, with extensive experience of historic buildings, my role within the Civic Pride project is to ensure that Cheltenham's unique architectural character is enhanced by all these proposals.’’ Karen Radford heritage and conservation manager - Cheltenham Borough Council

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InMotion

Boots’ corner Known locally as ‘Boots’ corner’, the junction between lower and upper High Street is cut through by Clarence Street and carries, every day on average, 10,000 cars, buses and lorries right through the heart of the town centre. Every day, around 20,000 people cross the street at this point. It is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the county. A ‘walk in’ town We want to create new and different ways to reach areas of the town, and look at ways for existing paths and routes to be opened up and improved. This will mean people can travel around town more easily - on foot, bike or public transport ideally, but allowing also for car use.

New public space At Boots’ corner, we want pedestrians to have priority and to create a new area of public space. This will provide a central point for people to meet, to gather for entertainment (such as street performance or outdoor events) and be laid out with attractive seating and perhaps public art for everyone to enjoy. This means, of course, that the vast majority of traffic will have to go elsewhere.

For more detailed information about our transport strategy, and the results of our traffic modelling studies, please go to www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

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Have your say! page 15

“My main role is to put forward the views of businesses in the private sector so that we can play a part in shaping the town’s future. Business people in Cheltenham look forward to seeing the development schemes become a reality.” Martin Quantock manager - Cheltenham Business Partnership

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The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

Where will the traffic go? Our consultants, Halcrow, have analysed in detail Cheltenham’s transport network. The two preferred schemes - known as Phase 1 and Phase 2 have been tested using computer modelling of the town’s road network and potential traffic flow. Phase 1 In Phase 1, vehicle traffic is removed from Boots Corner, Royal Well Road and North Street. These roads will remain open to public transport, cycles and taxis. The Saturn Traffic Model, used by Gloucestershire County Council, showed no significant build up of traffic in any particular road. There is a significant decrease of traffic in the town centre, with displaced traffic distributed evenly across the road network. With traffic management improvements on St Margaret’s Road and junction improvements on Albion Street, Phase 1 could work within the current road layout.

Phase 2 This is based on Phase 1, but also removes through traffic from the remaining part of the inner ring road formed by Bath Road and Oriel Road. The traffic currently using this route would be dispersed to other roads around the town centre.

The Saturn Traffic Model showed a greater reduction in town centre traffic than in Phase 1. There are, however, significant increases in traffic at peak times in certain parts of the road network. Extra road improvements will be needed at Lansdown Road/Montpellier Walk junction and Bath Road/Montpellier Terrace. These junction improvements would be very expensive.

Our preferred option Phase 1 is the most realistic transport option. With Cheltenham set to grow by 13,800 homes by 2026 (see page 13), more work - and funding - will be needed to make Phase 2 viable.

Putting the ‘public’ back into transport A crucial part of our transport strategy is to create a two-way public transport ‘spine’ running from north to south using Royal Well, Boots’ corner and North Street. This will give users more efficient routes

through the town centre, and give bus operators an opportunity to provide affordable, more frequent bus services.

Parking The town centre regeneration scheme depends on the development of the car parks in North Place. Although this will mean fewer car parking spaces in future years, detailed studies have shown that the council’s town centre car parks are significantly under-used. The view is that the demand for parking at this site can be managed in other ways. There are plans, for example, to increase the number of spaces at Arle Court Park and Ride, and to create new park and ride facilities at Uckington and Shurdington. For the time being, Cheltenham Racecourse will continue to be used as a park and ride facility. With Gloucestershire County Council, we are currently exploring the possibility of using the car parks of large local firms to provide temporary car parking during peak times.

“Traffic management is complicated, because any one change to the road network has a knock-on effect. Taking the through traffic out of Royal Well and Boots Corner will be managed as sensitively as possible. This will enable us to develop the remaining space for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, creating real alternatives for travel in and around the town.” Amanda Lawson-Smith principal transport planner, Gloucestershire County Council

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InMotion

The bigger picture Our plans for Cheltenham have to fit with the Local Development Framework (LDF) and the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). It’s important to understand how the Civic Pride proposals fit with the bigger picture. What is the LDF? The Local Development Framework is a folder of documents which sets out planning policy at local level, taking account of national planning policies, and will replace Cheltenham Borough’s Local Plan. The Local Development Framework must be in conformity with the policies within the Regional Spatial Strategy. The Council is responsible for the Local Development Framework, however it is produced together with other organisations, such as the County Council, the Primary Care Trust and Cheltenham Strategic Partnership.

Why is the LDF important? The Local Development Framework guides planning and decision making for the future of Cheltenham. It sets out the type of development needed to help people live and work in the area, including the future needs of new and existing communities over the next 15 years.

How does it affect Cheltenham? You can find out what’s planned for Cheltenham within the Local Development Scheme (LDS). This is a 3 year timetable for the Local Development Framework which states when we will produce the Local Development Documents. 12

See the LDS to find out when you can get involved at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/ldf

Where are we now? We are currently preparing the Core Strategy, which considers the best way to plan for new housing and new jobs, shops and schools, health facilities and recreational spaces and infrastructure - such as roads - all in ways which make Cheltenham prosperous and a pleasant place to live. This will be complicated and will require difficult decisions. This timetable may change, as we are discussing how we can work better with our neighbours, Tewkesbury and Gloucester.

How you can get involved Contact us at the address below or visit www.cheltenham.gov.uk/ldfconsultation To hear about news, consultations and events in the coming months, send your contact details to : Strategic Land Use Team Cheltenham Borough Council Municipal Offices, The Promenade Cheltenham GL50 1PP Tel: 01242 262626 ldf@cheltenham.gov.uk

Cheltenham’s central conservation area Running in parallel to the consultation period on Civic Pride, a six-week consultation is also taking place on Cheltenham’s central conservation area. This covers more than six hundred hectares. It has been divided into nineteen character areas: a ‘character appraisal’ and ‘management plan’ has been written for each area. You can comment on the draft management plans for sixteen of the character areas by going to www.cheltenham.gov.uk The plans can also be seen at local libraries and at the Municipal Offices.


The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

What is the RSS for the South West? This is a statutory and legal document which is part of the development plan, prepared at the regional level for the South West Regional Assembly. It sets out the strategy for the whole of the South West, up to 2026. The Regional Spatial Strategy includes factors such as how many homes are needed to meet the future needs of people in the region, how this is balanced with the number of jobs and how this can be managed in the most sustainable way. The draft Regional Spatial Strategy, approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was available for public consultation between 6 June 2006 and 30 August 2006. 14,786 comments together with statements submitted to an examination in public (held summer 2007) have been taken into account by an independent panel of inspectors appointed by the Government. The inspectors visited Cheltenham to consider the issues identified during

the public consultation. Further information can be found online at www.southwest-ra.gov.uk

The implications for Cheltenham The draft Regional Spatial Strategy proposed 12,500 new homes and 10,750 new jobs within and adjacent to Cheltenham Borough. The independent panel of inspectors has since recommended that the number of new homes should be increased to 13,800. They consider that focussing new development on the existing large towns and cities offers the most sustainable strategy in the long term. The inspectors’ recommendations, if accepted, will require Cheltenham, in co-ordination with Tewkesbury, to plan for: • 6,500 new homes within the existing built up area of Cheltenham • 5,000 new homes within a planned urban extension at north west Cheltenham

• 1,300 new homes with a planned urban extension at south Cheltenham • 1,000 new homes north of Bishops Cleeve Whatever the outcome of the Regional Spatial Strategy - Cheltenham will be required to make complicated and difficult decisions.

What happens next? The Secretary of State will consider the recommendations made by the panel of inspectors and make any changes which she feels are appropriate to the Regional Spatial Strategy. These modifications will be made available for public consultation for a period of 12 weeks. At this time comments can only be made on the modifications proposed and not on the principles of the strategy for the South West. This is expected to take place summer 2008. After consideration of all comments received, the final version of the Regional Spatial Strategy will be approved: this is expected autumn 2008.

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“With my team, I have been working on the long term development needs of Cheltenham - often looking to the horizon of 10, 15 and 20 years ahead. The proposals for Civic Pride will deliver development sites identified in Cheltenham’s local plan. It is exciting to be involved in an urban design led approach that will make huge improvements to the way the town centre functions.” Tracey Crews strategic land use manager - Cheltenham Borough Council

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InMotion

Tell us what you think We want you to tell us what you think about Civic Pride. You can do this by writing your comments on this form and posting it back to us, or by going to www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride and completing a form online. You can also write to us at the address below. All comments must reach us by 9.00am on 14 April 2008. To find out more

What happens next?

The contents of this magazine are based on a draft Supplementary Planning Document. You can read this, and other more detailed information, on our website at www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

All comments will be read carefully and summarised in a report. This report will go to a meeting of full council, when councillors will decide whether or not to approve the draft Supplementary Planning Document as it is, or to make any changes. Any changes will be included in a final document and published as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The adopted SPD will be used to guide our decisions about improving public spaces, how we use council land, and on design and transport issues.

Do my opinions count? Yes. And we will keep asking you for your views over the coming months - and years - as the various Civic Pride projects develop. To receive news and regular updates by email, please send your email address to civicpride@cheltenham.gov.uk

Please send your comments to: George Whalley Civic Pride project co-ordinator Cheltenham Borough Council Municipal Offices, Cheltenham GL50 1PP Tel: 01242 264101

email: civicpride@cheltenham.gov.uk

www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride “I was born and bred in Cheltenham and so I am passionate to ensure the town doesn’t fall behind its neighbours and continues to attract residents, shoppers and businesses. My job is to make sure that the project runs on time and to budget. And so far it has.” George Whalley Civic Pride project co-ordinator - Cheltenham Borough Council

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The Magazine for Cheltenham Borough Council / April 2008 www.cheltenham.gov.uk/civicpride

Water fountains in a civic space

Please write your comments here - this is about the future of your town, and your views count. What do you think about our proposals for: North Place

Royal Well

Boots’ corner

Traffic

Any other comments

Name Address Please send your comments to: George Whalley, Civic Pride project co-ordinator Cheltenham Borough Council, FREEPOST CM32, Municipal Offices, Cheltenham GL50 1PP Tel: 01242 264101. Email: civicpride@cheltenham.gov.uk

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Working together to create a great future for Cheltenham Cheltenham Borough Council Municipal Offices, Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1PP Tel: 01242 262626 www.cheltenham.gov.uk

This magazine has been printed on Forest Stewardship Council accredited paper from sustainably-managed forests.

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Design: www.touchmedia.uk.net • Photography: Nick Turner www.nickturnerphoto.com

If English is not your first language and you would like a translation or audio tape of this information, we can get one for you. Please contact the customer relations office on 01242 264200 or email: customerrelations@cheltenham.gov.uk


inmotion magazine - cheltenham borough council