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New parking bays welcome coach trips to Leicester

Published on Friday, January 6, 2017

NEW drop-off points and dedicated parking bays for coaches are to be provided in Leicester city centre to meet rising demand from travel companies and coach operators.

With attractions such as the King Richard III Visitor Centre boosting Leicester’s appeal as a group travel destination, the city council plans to create two new coach bays on Charles Street, two on St George Street and one on Queen Street, converting sections of existing pay-and-display parking to accommodate coaches.

Operators using the five new spaces would need to book them in advance by applying for a parking permit from Visit Leicester, who would manage the booking system on behalf of the council. 

New pick-up and drop-off points for coaches would also be provided, with new facilities proposed for Causeway Lane, Charles Street, Granby Street, Queen Street and Southgates.

Drivers would be able to stop at these sites for up to 30 minutes to let their passengers get on and off. 

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Feedback from coach operators and travel companies made it clear that there is a real demand for these facilities in the city centre.

“These new dedicated parking bays, and assigned pick-up and drop-off points, should make it easier for coach drivers and their passengers to enjoy time in our city – and may even encourage more operators to come to Leicester.” 

Consultation on the proposals begins today (6 January) and runs until 27 January.

Work to create the new bays would be carried out as part of the city council’s parking strategy, with the costs of installing signs and road markings for the new facilities expected to be in the region of £6,000.

The new arrangements for coach operators – which are similar to the facilities provided in popular tourist destinations such as York and Stratford-on-Avon – could be in place by spring 2017.

City centre director Sarah Harrison said: “Leicester’s King Richard III story has attracted an increase in group travel, and these additional facilities will make it a lot easier for coach operators to plan trips to the city and satisfy visitor demand. 

“By improving arrangements for coaches and passengers, we will encourage growth in this valuable market – helping us to achieve our aim of increasing the number of visitors to our city.”

The value of tourism to the local economy has grown for the seventh consecutive year. Latest figures put the value of tourism to Leicester and Leicestershire at £1.675 billion. Leicester alone welcomed more than 10million visitors in 2015.

Coach travel plays a vital part in Leicester’s tourism industry and is worth around £2.35billion to the UK economy (source: Britain’s Coaches: Partnerships and Passengers).