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Former Greyfriars buildings to be sold to Diocese of Leicester

Published on Monday, July 31, 2017

A FORMER office building owned by the city council is set to be sold to the Diocese of Leicester.

The Grade II listed building, on the corner of St Martins and New Street, is situated opposite Leicester Cathedral, close to the King Richard III Visitor Centre.

It forms part of the city council’s Greyfriars office complex, which used to be occupied by social workers but has now been vacated by the council. The rest of the complex – including part of the car park in which King Richard III’s remains were found – will be sold off in stages at later dates.

The building is thought to date from the mid-18th century and is a valuable example of Georgian architecture in the historic Greyfriars conservation area. It will now be renovated by the diocese, which plans to use it to establish a residential community in support of their activities.

As part of the sale, the council will demolish an adjacent building at 15 New Street, creating new access to the Greyfriars car park, and constructing a wall so that the property being sold to the diocese will have its own rear yard with vehicle access.

The building’s use will be restricted to residential purposes for the diocesan community. The purchase price is not being disclosed at this time, while the contracts of sale are going through.

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a significant sale, not least because of the building’s links to the discovery of King Richard III. But it’s also important because it gives us the opportunity to help out the diocese, our neighbour in the area.

“As offices, the Greyfriars buildings were outdated and had reached the end of their useful life. But as refurbished accommodation, they will go on to be an important asset to the Cathedral Quarter and the Greyfriars conservation area.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to agree this sale with the diocese, and I am sure the future sale of further parts of the Greyfriars complex will attract considerable attention, helping to bolster the economy and interest in this attractive part of the city centre.”

The Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, said: “I am delighted that the Diocese of Leicester has been able to buy this property from the city council. When renovated, it will be an exciting new development.

“We have a close working relationship with the city council. The building will offer the Church the opportunity to broaden the services it offers to the community around the Cathedral and across the city and county.”

The building covers part of the site of the former Greyfriars Friary in which the remains of King Richard III were discovered by archaeologists in 2012. The Friary was a centre of prayer and served the poor of the city for more than 300 years until it was shut down by King Henry VIII.

Renovation of the building is expected to take until early 2018.