Ambitious plans for £30m development at Downings Warehouse, Bakers Quay

The Downings Apartment Building at Gloucester Docks CGI

The southern gateway to Gloucester Quays could soon be home to Gloucester’s most energy efficient residential building. That’s the aspiration of Adrian Goodall, director of Rokeby Merchant Developments Ltd.

The area behind Gloucester Quays has been derelict for 25 years. Phase 1 of the Bakers Quay development, completed in 2018, brought a 104-bed Premier Inn, 47 apartments and a Costa drive-thru to the area.

Now plans have been revealed for a £30 million landmark building for Phase 2, to complete the development

Rokeby Merchant Developments Ltd has submitted plans to Gloucester City Council to partially demolish and restore the derelict Downings Malthouse and the High Orchard Street Warehouse, and build a 10-storey block of flats.
With a total of 117 apartments, ranging from studio to three bedrooms, the proposal is for Gloucester’s most energy efficient building.

Adrian Goodall said: “We’re conscious that there is a hole in the docks which needs to be filled. Once we achieve that, I think it will provide an overall uplift to the whole of the area – the gateway to the Quays and the rest of the city.”

Building a 10-storey apartment block is the only way to mitigate and spread the cost of the project. Without planning permission for the ambitious development, the derelict space is likely to remain for many years to come.

Mr Goodall continued: “The biggest challenge for us, is that we are looking to provide one of the first low energy low carbon buildings in Gloucester Docks. We have designed an energy strategy which minimises energy use and carbon emissions.

“We have achieved this through design-led low U-values (the rate of heat transfer), low air permeability, low energy usage and the use of air source heat pumps with passive heat recovery.

“We are proposing a specialist innovative design, using internal and external heat pumps working in tandem to provide heat for space heating and hot water. The space heating will have efficiencies of 400 per cent, meaning for every kWh of electricity used, 4kWh of heat energy will be transferred from external atmosphere into the building, for use as space heating. PV will be erected on the roof to provide power to the heat pumps.”

Apartment owners will have the opportunity to top up the heat further and will also benefit from HMVR heat exchangers, stripping heat out of the kitchen and bathrooms.”

Mr Goodhall continued: “Based upon current electric costs, we estimate the owner of a two-bedroom apartment could save up to £1,800 per year in electric costs. This represents a 50 per cent fuel cost saving compared to a direct electric system and also avoids the use of fossil fuels.

“We are also aiming for a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions per apartment, compared to a direct electric system, and up to 80 per cent reduction compared to a gas system.”

The development will also have EV charging facilities in all car parking spaces, both in the basement and externally.
Mr Goodhall said: “We have responded to not just the energy crisis, but also to lockdown. The building will have an ‘electronic backbone’, so wherever you go in the building, it will still be contactable on the Wi-Fi. You’ll be able to programme delivery of internet shopping into lockers in the building.

“We’ve tried to make this a very intelligent building. There will be allocated work zones in each apartment and provision of ground floor breakout space in each building.”

The proposals, designed by Gloucester-based Roberts Limbrick architects, are for the restoration of Downings Malthouse to provide 49 flats and breakout and cafe floorspace on the ground floor.

The new Downings Tower building will comprise a basement, ground and nine upper floors, and will sit on the site of the former concrete silo and High Orchard Street Kiln.

With construction costs continuing to rise, the aim is to mitigate the final asking price for buyers through economies of scale – constructing a taller building with more apartments.

Mr Goodall said prices will be finalised next year but is hoping they will start from around £159,000.
Subject to planning approval, works are expected to start in March or April 2023, with an 80-week build schedule.


Further information
Tel: 07860 128039