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Consultation on plans to revamp St George’s churchyard

Published on Tuesday, July 5, 2016

PEOPLE can have their say on plans to transform a 19th century churchyard located at the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter.

The city council is this week launching a public consultation on options to improve the area around the Grade II-listed Church of St George, and open up the churchyard onto Orton Square.

St George’s churchyard is one of the largest areas of green space in the city and provides a direct pedestrian route between the train station and the Cultural Quarter.

The city council is proposing a number of improvements to the churchyard that would help make it a much lighter, safer and more attractive place for people.

Footpaths through the churchyard would be reconstructed in high quality natural stone and resin-bound gravel and some of the railings at the entrances to the churchyard would be removed under the new plans. A new entrance directly in the courtyard of LCB Depot could also be created.

To help protect the church building and create lighter more welcoming entrances at Orton Square and Colton Square, between nine and 26 trees would be removed, with new smaller trees planted around the boundary of the churchyard.

The council is also considering relocating the ceramic mermaid panels from West Bridge into the revamped churchyard, bringing the artwork back closer to its original home. Until 1972, the decorative arch graced the entrance to the city’s wholesale market, where the Rutland Street NCP car park now stands.

Other options for the churchyard revamp include new architectural feature lighting on the church building and the installation of outdoor gym equipment within the churchyard.

The city council has worked with leaders of St George’s Serbian Orthodox Church, which has occupied the church since 1983, to develop the plans.

People will be asked for their views on the initial proposals, before detailed designs are drawn up and considered as part of the formal planning process.

Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor with responsibility for the Cultural Quarter, said: “St George’s Churchyard has the potential to be a really special place, a green oasis in the heart of the city’s Cultural Quarter.

“As it stands, it is a rather unwelcoming and gloomy area that has attracted anti-social behaviour. We know that people don’t necessarily feel safe to walk through the churchyard, which is a great shame.

“We want to address those concerns by making the area lighter and opening it up so that it feels like a natural extension of Orton Square. We want it to be a safe and attractive route into the Cultural Quarter, and for people to use it as a space to relax within this lively and thriving area.

“This a major part of our ambitious plans to help ensure that the Cultural Quarter continues to improve for residents, visitors and businesses over the next ten years.”

The consultation on the plans to revamp St George’s Churchyard will be launched on Wednesday, July 6, with a day-long event at LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street.

A consultation on a draft ten-year action for the St George’s Cultural Quarter will be launched to coincide.

People will have chance to view both plans and question the project teams at LCB Depot on Wednesday (Jul 6), from 11.45am until 7pm.

The St George’s Churchyard improvement plans will be on display until Monday, July 11. The depot is open on weekdays from 9.30am-5.30pm, and will also be open on Saturday (Jul 9) from 12noon-4pm.

People can also comment on the plans online at www.leicester.gov.uk/haveyoursay

Both consultations will run until Wednesday, August 3.