Gloucester Place, Cheltenham


This project involved the demolition and asbestos removal of the complex known as Gloucester Place in Cheltenham town centre. It included the demolition of the former cinema, main dealer garage and independent local shops as part of the redevelopment of the area – in readiness for transforming it into luxury apartments.


Due to the location of the project, the volume of noise and the amount of dust produced, everything had to be closely controlled in order to prevent disturbing neighbours and pedestrians in the close vicinity. Care would have to be taken to prevent the ceilings collapsing as a result of the weight of the debris, this would have to be done in a controlled way at the early stages of the demolition. As a result of an asbestos survey, licenced asbestos was found in the cinema and non-licenced asbestos was found in both the cinema and the garage. Images of two ladies, entwined in celluloid on the front of the cinema, had to be removed in such away so that they could be salvaged and placed on display at another site.


The programme was created in conjunction with the client. Lawson Group’s method statements and construction phase health and safety plans were sent to the CDM co-ordinator for approval. When writing the methodology, the BS 6187:2000 was followed as a guideline to ensure that all codes of practice on various aspects of demolition were met.

Contacts were established with the local council and party wall surveyors throughout this project as both were interested in the work that was being carried out.

A strategic methodology was put in place to ensure that all safety precautions had been met. Working in a tight vicinity close to a pavement, road and houses emphasised the importance of making it clear to the public what the methodology of the project was. To clear any concerns they had on the safety of the project, Lawson Group produced leaflets for a letter drop prior to demolition, which explained the basics of what the project entailed.

Lawson Environmental (part of Lawson Group) were used to remove the asbestos from the premises in order to allow for a safe demolition to start. Demolition began with the old main dealer garage and the surrounding forecourt. The methodology was simple and tailored to suit the showroom building, the forecourt area and the collection car park.

Work on the old cinema began by initially using hand demolition to take down the entrance wall of the building to a safe level. This was part of the safety strategy so that in the event of a collapse, the wall would fall into the building rather than onto the road nearby. This was done by using our highly skilled operatives and adhering to the Working at Height Regulations 2005 which enabled our personnel to use safety harnesses and mechanical equipment to their full advantage and produce the necessary work.

The internal ceilings and walls were knocked though to leave the bare steel structure of the 1950’s building.

A Liebherr high reach excavator was used with a four-tonne scissor attachment to demolish the skeleton of the building. Work commenced at the back and worked forwards towards the front hand-demolished wall. Using this machine allowed for the demolition of the framework to be controlled, firstly breaking through the brick work to reveal the architecture of the large theatre.

Dustbosses were utilised within the demolition zone, in order to suppress dust during the construction phase. This was specifically necessary for this job due to the location of the project.


Following completion of the demolition works, which were completed on time and within budget, the site was left clear and ready for the main contractor to begin work creating the new flats. The images of the two entwined ladies were successfully removed in such a way that allowed them to be displayed for future generations.

To find out more on how Lawson Group can help with your next demolition or asbestos removal project, call 01793 782000, email