A GOVERNMENT minister recently visited Berkeley to discuss regeneration plans for the town.

Jacob Young MP - who is a Levelling Up Minister - visited the area with Siobhan Baillie MP on Thursday, November 9. 

He spoke with community leaders from Berkeley Town Council and also toured Berkeley Castle, Dr Jenner's House and the High Street. 

Revamp proposals include creating a new market area with improved pedestrian access, lower speed limits plus more parking, as well as new bike facilities and benches.

Organisers say they expect to carry out the design in 2023/2024 with work starting in 2024/2025 depending on funding and permission approvals.

The tour also included a visit to Berkeley Castle's new walled kitchen garden, which includes a brand new coffee shop and ticket office set to open in time for the 2024 season.

Gazette Series: Berkeley market place could be transformed into an attractive town squareBerkeley market place could be transformed into an attractive town square (Image: Google Maps / Berkeley Town Council)

Mr Young said: “It was fantastic to visit Berkeley Castle and Dr Jenner’s House and the key role that it has to play in the role of vaccination which is obviously relevant post-pandemic too. 

“I was pleased to visit Berkeley High Street and see the fantastic regeneration plans the town council has there. 

“Siobhan is a fantastic champion for Berkeley and the wider Stroud district. 

“From our perspective we want to do everything we can to help Berkeley feel levelled up, so I will take away some of the conversations we’ve had today to see what’s available for Berkeley and how we can unlock its potential.”

Gazette Series: Berkeley mayor Peter Hall, Siobhan Baillie MP and Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young outside Berkeley Castle Berkeley mayor Peter Hall, Siobhan Baillie MP and Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young outside Berkeley Castle (Image: Berkeley Town Council)

Ms Baillie said: “I really appreciated the minister coming to Berkeley after I raised this issue in Parliament.  

“It is important to have the government looking at the plans and seeing first hand the potential the town has.

“The town council has come up with great ideas to regenerate. 

“Berkeley Castle is also doing some extremely exciting things with their new visitor centre area and I would love to have a go at supporting getting Dr Jenner’s Museum designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.  

"I will continue banging the drum for local projects up in Westminster.”

Cllr Isaac Bamfield from Berkeley Town Council who chairs the town improvement project committee said: “The work of BTC and the TIP Committee to obtain support for this major regeneration scheme for Berkeley have been intense. 

“It’s now fantastic to see the momentum this is generating far and wide.  

“What is most exciting is seeing the community pulling together with its town, district and county councils as well as our MP to make something happen.

“It builds the confidence and trust we have in our democratic systems.  

“We look forward to the new Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young MP review our plans and his support in our next steps.”

The committee also say they plan to consult with residents in mid-2024 before any construction starts so any additional feedback can be incorporated.