Publication: Pre-Submission Gloucester City Plan

Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy B4: Development within and adjacent to Gloucester Docks and Canal


Development proposals within, or adjacent to the docks and canal that facilitate accessibility and recreational use of the historic docks, waterspace and the wider canal network will be supported where they satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The development will not infill or reduce the depth of water of docks/canal waterspaces to the extent where it would limit the range of boats and other craft that could safely navigate and/or operate within the waterspaces; and
  2. The development would not adversely affect, and where possible enhances the historic built character, features and setting of the open waterspaces; and
  3. There will be no significant adverse impact on the environmental amenity of local residents, visitors, workers or other recreational users of the waterspace; and
  4. The development will not adversely affect existing, and where possible makes appropriate provision for future management and maintenance of public realm, movement routes, waterspaces and quaysides, moorings or waterway infrastructure and utilities. Where appropriate, opportunities should be taken to improve or reinstate the canal towpath; and
  5. Development provides net biodiversity gain and facilitate its role as multifunctional green and blue infrastructure (including water quality).

Where development could have an impact on internationally designated sites a Habitats Regulations Assessment is required.

3.2.21 Gloucester Docks and the canal side is a major cultural and historic asset for the city, and already represents a major tourist attraction with the National Waterways Museum, Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and various festivals and events. However, the waterspace is generally underutilized and represent an opportunity to attract further investment, generate footfall within the city centre and encourage physical activity and improved health and wellbeing. The Canal and River Trust has prepared a Waterspace Strategy for Gloucester Docks, which aims to increase the recreational use of the Docks and canal.

3.2.22 The whole of the Docks and part of the Gloucester & Sharpness canal is located within conservation areas, and within the main Docks basin, there are 14 Listed warehouses. Furthermore, the city's successful regeneration programme over recent years has resulted in the creation of a new residential and business community within the docks and wider area. It is important that increased use of the waterspaces does not lead to a significant adverse impact on local amenity or lead to an erosion of the special historic character within the area.

3.2.23 It is also important that land-based development does not have an adverse impact on or prevent the use of the waterspace and that new water-based activities do not impede the use of the waterspaces by boats, water craft and vessels.

3.2.24 Development that could come forward to support greater use of waterspaces includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Floating pontoons for canal boat mooring, boat hire, water taxis and buses;
  • The provision of utilities and services to the quayside edge to enable/facilitate recreational activity (and reduce the reliance on generators, petrol engines, dock vehicular traffic etc).
  • Installation of stepped dockside structures to gain access at water level;
  • Feature lighting installations that assist in animating the dock and quaysides (waterspaces should remain dark);
  • Proposals that enhance the interpretation of the cultural heritage and archaeology of the historic dockland environment; and
  • Water sports activities.

3.2.25 Applicants are encouraged to discuss proposals with the Canal and River Trust at the earliest possible opportunity.