Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, has voiced his opposition to the latest plan to convert parts of the Eagle Tower into luxury flats, calling it ’a backwards step for jobs and opportunity in Cheltenham’. The tower, which is home to a wide variety of local businesses and provides 1.3ha of commercial space, is subject to a planning application from the building’s owners, who want to convert the top three floors into flats. This application follows another application earlier this year aimed at converting the lower floors into residential accommodation.
Following strong opposition from Mr Chalk and other local stakeholders, a speculative application to convert the whole tower was withdrawn. However, with a number of existing businesses at the Tower reportedly being given notice to vacate their offices, the issue has now re-surfaced.
Cheltenham’s man in Westminster has made clear his opposition to the loss of this significant element of the town’s business space, which he believes is vital to securing the town’s economic future.
Speaking following the submission of the latest application, Mr Chalk said ’Losing yet more commercial space is not what our town needs. The Eagle Tower is home to some of Cheltenham’s most vibrant and successful businesses. They need high-quality commercial space to thrive, and generate jobs and opportunity for local people. Cheltenham has lost large swathes of commercial space over recent years, from the Kraft HQ to Chelsea Building Society. We really don’t need to lose any more.’
Mr Chalk has also written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP, seeking a meeting to discuss ways to protect Cheltenham business space.