Skip to content

Plans outlined for next phase of city’s riverside improvements

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2016

PLANS for a new phase of work to improve access to Leicester’s riverside and waterways have been announced.

Leicester City Council is working with the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust to help enhance the river corridor through the city as part of a wider programme of work to reduce flood risk.

Over the last 18 months, the partnership has managed to combine major flood conveyance work with projects to create new riverside nature parks, better facilities for boaters and improvements to the city’s canal towpaths.

Work completed to date includes the creation of a new footpath and cycleway at Ellis Meadows; towpath resurfacing and improvements and new moorings for boats at Friars Mill in the Waterside Regeneration area; accessibility improvements at Sock Island and improvements to the flood sluices; and canoe access at Thurmaston as part of the development of a new River Soar canoe trail.

The work has been substantially funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership with an initial award of £1.5milllion of Local Growth Fund (LGF) cash. An additional £810,000 of LGF money has been earmarked for new projects along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal planned for the next 12 months.

Planned works include a next phase of towpath improvements between Abbey Park Road and Holden Street, the construction of new moorings and boater facilities at Memory Lane Wharf and the creation of new wildlife habitats at Birstall Meadows as part of flood conveyance works already underway.

The funding is part of a five-year programme which runs from 2015 to 2020, and has a total LGF funding allocation of £7.5million.

City Mayor Peter Soulsbsy said: “Our strong partnership with the Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust reflects a shared ambition to make the most of the city’s river and canal corridor as a prized recreational, environmental and economic asset.

“The improvements being made are already creating better access to our waterways and helping transform key locations along the riverside and create attractive, new visitor destinations and valuable wildlife habitats.

“This is a multi-million investment in the city that combines a major programme of work to reduce flood risk to thousands of homes with a series of exciting projects that will help more people discover and make the most of our beautiful riverside and waterways.”

Other new projects due to get underway over the next 12 months include the installation of new canoe platforms at Evans Weir,  improvements to public access and  wildlife habitats at Aylestone Meadows and new mooring and better facilities for boaters at Memory Lane Wharf.

Design and feasibility work will also be carried out on a proposed riverside cycle route lining to the Great Central Railway Leicester North Station, and a potential new bridge crossing linking the north and south sides of Watermead Park will be investigated.

The work is being carried out by the Environment Agency, as part of major work to reduce flood risk to over 2,000 properties in the city, and the Canal & River Trust which is entrusted to care for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales.

The Environment Agency has been awarded up to £33milllion of Government funding for a six-year programme of flood risk management at key locations across Leicester. The Canal & River Trust has allocated £500,000 towards the associated programme of improvements.