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Cultural Quarter plans to be considered

Published on Monday, June 27, 2016

AN ambitious action plan to further develop and enhance Leicester’s Cultural Quarter will come under the gaze of a council scrutiny committee.

Members of the Economic Development, Transport and Tourism scrutiny commission will be asked to consider a report on the draft action plan on Monday, July 4, ahead of a public consultation due to begin on July 6.

The St George’s Cultural Quarter Action Plan sets out a range of proposals to help attract new investment into the area and strengthen its reputation as an exciting and creative place to live, work and do business.

Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor with responsibility for the Cultural Quarter, said: “In recent years, the St George’s area has undergone an impressive transformation into the lively and exciting Cultural Quarter that we now know.

“Curve and Phoenix are well-established and continue to grow their audiences. An eclectic mix of galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants is helping to attract new visitors into the Cultural Quarter, and more and more people are now choosing the area as a place to live.

“The success of workspaces at LCB Depot, Makers’ Yard and Phoenix has also helped cement the area’s reputation as a great place for creative businesses to start-up and thrive in.

“We know that there is more that can be done and this draft action plan sets out proposals for how we hope to continue to improve the Cultural Quarter for residents, visitors and businesses over the next ten years.

“The arts and creative industries have a vital role to play in the city’s future economic prosperity, and the continued development of the Cultural Quarter is absolutely key to that.”

The draft plan includes 27 proposed actions for consideration.

These include the creation of a further 20,000sqft of creative workspace, and around 40,000sqft of new residential space, more support to encourage new businesses, improving the gateways into the Cultural Quarter and rolling out superfast broadband in the area.

Stronger promotion of the Cultural Quarter locally and outside of the city and its attractions, and the development of a programme of events to showcase the area, also feature in the plan.

As well as continuing to work with key partners like Curve and Phoenix to on their development plans, the plan also proposes support to encourage more artists to become active in the area with low-cost start-up space available for graduates and local arts groups.

Proposed improvements to the public realm also feature in the plan, with a specific focus on extending Orton Square, revamping St George’s Churchyard and creating new, and more attractive routes into the Cultural Quarter.

Improvements to car and coach parking, architectural feature lighting on key buildings, new public art and better wayfinding signs are also proposed.

The draft action plan has been developed by Leicester City Council with support from the Cultural Quarter Association and other key stakeholders.

It is due to be launched for public consultation on Wednesday, July 6.