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St George’s churchyard revamp plans move forward

Published on Thursday, October 13, 2016

REVISED council plans for a major revamp of St George’s Churchyard – at the heart of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter – will be presented to scrutiny.

Leicester City Council this summer invited public feedback on plans to improve the area around the Grade II*-listed Church of St George, make it safer and open it up onto Orton Square.

In total, 287 people took part in the public consultation which asked for views on options to open up the churchyard, and potential improvements that could be made.

Around 83 per cent of respondents agreed with one of the two options to remove trees from the churchyard, with the option to remove 26 trees proving more popular (49.8%) than the second option of removing nine (33.1%).

However, following concerns about privacy from nearby apartments, the council now intends to move forward with a revised plan that will see the removal of 21 trees.

Plans to install architectural feature lighting on the 19th century church proved popular with 83.6 % of respondents, and will almost certainly feature in the planned revamp.

Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor with responsibility for the Cultural Quarter said: “St George’s churchyard has the potential to be a very special part of the city centre, and it was clear from the consultation that many people share that view.

“At the moment, it is a gloomy and rather oppressive area that has attracted anti-social behaviour and that’s a great shame. We want to transform it into an attractive open space place for people to enjoy, and create a pleasant and safe route into the Cultural Quarter.

“We have listened carefully to feedback and revised the plans we consulted on in response to that.

“We want St George’s churchyard to be a natural and inviting extension to the Cultural Quarter, and to be an asset that helps this vital part of the city centre continue to thrive for many years to come.”

Proposals to install an outdoor gym and relocate the ceramic mermaid panels from West Bridge into the churchyard were not supported in the public consultation, and have been shelved.

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 proposals and consultation findings will be presented to the economic development, transport and tourism scrutiny committee at its meeting on Thursday (13 Oct).

Final plans will be developed and submitted for formal planning approval in the coming months.