The future of Cheltenham from an architect’s perspective

The architects’ at Edge Design Workshop in Cheltenham have new ideas for the future of the town, with a new creative space for young designers and events, re-purposing empty buildings for housing, and whether they think that Cheltenham will be more eco-friendly in the future.

Edge Design have promoted ideas for an innovation hub which will include a creative work space and an area for year-round events. The hub will be built in a private car park next to Cheltenham Minster, formally known as St. Mary’s Church, and will be open in Summer 2020.

Car park next to Cheltenham minster
Cheltenham Minister – one of the oldest building in Cheltenham

Founding director of Edge Design, Jason Pritchard, explains his vision for Workshop Cheltenham.

“We felt that what the town really needed was an identifiable creative hub, a beating heart for the town, where all sorts of creative activities can happen. The innovation centre is based next to Cheltenham Minster, the oldest building in Cheltenham, and it’s going to include an economic working space for young design working companies [and] a tier-two growth hub.

There’s also going to be an event area which Cheltenham festivals will be running on our behalf, and that event space is really aimed at being able to provide year-round contemporary music and performance events, because at present the town just doesn’t have premises which are suitable. So hopefully those two things of creative work space and events will make it a destination for the town.”

Edge Design Instagram account promoting Workshop Cheltenham

Workshop Cheltenham will have a work space for young designers, as the architects at Edge Design are keen to persuade young people to stay in the town once they leave university.

“I think that there are three things that would make someone leaving university want to stay in the town, and that’s opportunities for them to work, economic places to live, but also from a cultural perspective I think that the town’s cultural offering has to improve significantly and be more orientated towards young people.”

In a recent survey, 69% of participants said that they wouldn’t live in Cheltenham in the future, and that a lack of career opportunities is one of the reasons why.

Housing is also something that Jason has new ideas for in Cheltenham in the future. In the video short below, he explains that there are lots of empty buildings appearing in the retail sector, and that they should be re-purposed.

Jason hopes that Cheltenham will become more eco-friendly in the near future, by re-purposing buildings and making them more sustainable.

“The town is spreading horizontally to the point where it probably can’t spread any more, so it’s about having a creative perspective and re-purposing buildings, but bringing them up to very high levels of performance in terms of the fabric of the building.

In terms of sustainability we have a fabric-first approach where it has to be very efficient, very low energy to heat it and then in addition if you want to put renewable energy into the building you can do but it’s not an absolute must.”

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