Cafes in Cheltenham
Cafes in Cheltenham

Cheltenham town centre - open for business

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many challenges and reshaped how we all live and work. As we work towards recovery, it’s vital that we consider the changing role that our town centre can and will need to play in facilitating adaptation, development, bringing communities together and fostering innovation and creativity.

Our vision for Cheltenham is that we have a town centre that is thriving, that responds to the need to support retail whilst also bringing community into the heart of the town alongside other mixed uses.

Cheltenham has a rich history that has shaped our town today. There is an opportunity to build upon this whilst also reimagining a town centre that responds to the exciting cyber growth sector being delivered through the Golden Valley Development and Minster Exchange alongside others.

However, there is a perception that the current planning system is negative and is a barrier to flexibility and innovation in town centres. On the contrary, national and our own local policies are encouraging of a wide variety of uses in town centres as long as they contribute to the vitality of their location.

That’s why we have produced a new Open For Business summary aimed at businesses, landlords and developers to think again about new opportunities in Cheltenham – and to encourage interested parties to come forward and talk to us and our colleagues in the Planning Department about your ideas.

Open for business

new flexibilities

Royal Town Planning Institute Awards for Planning Excellence 2021

Recent changes to permitted development rights have made it easier for businesses and landlords to gain flexibility of use. Equally, in direct response to the impact of Covid-19, Cheltenham Borough Council were amongst the first in the country to recognise the need to assist businesses to create more physical space to accommodate social distancing and safer operations.

The planning department’s swift and agile response to the pandemic was recognised with a national award from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). These new relaxations have now been extended to 1 January 2022.

talk to us about your ideas

Cheltenham Borough Council logo

contact the planners

In Cheltenham, we will offer forward thinking, creative partners out there looking to invest in Cheltenham help and support to aide the town centre’s transformation. We pledge to provide business friendly planning and access to regulatory services and hand holding where necessary.

We are interested in speaking to developers therefore who can work with the Council and Cheltenham’s Economic Recovery Task Force in bringing forward plans for individual opportunity sites or as a package. We are looking to create a long lasting legacy for Cheltenham Town Centre.

For further information on these new flexibilities, change of use or any planning related queries, go to Cheltenham Borough Council’s Planning Portal at or contact us at

To find out more about the Cheltenham Economic Recovery Task Force and sign-up to receive regular updates, see here.

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