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Western Park buildings set for new lease of life

Published on Monday, September 11, 2017

A LOCAL developer and community group could soon be working in partnership to breathe new life into land and empty buildings on a Leicester park.

Parmar Properties and Western Ward Community Enterprise (WWCE), have successfully bid to buy and develop two areas of land on Western Park, including a former open-air school, and a pioneering eco-house.

The council put them up for sale in June last year, with the aim of finding a purchaser who would bring the sites back into use while respecting their history.

Parmar Properties is owned by Naresh and Sharon Parmar, who have successfully refurbished a number of local historic buildings with Grade I and Grade II listings. These include The Pavilion on Western Park, Belgrave House and stables and The City Rooms on Hotel Street. They are also nearing completion of a major renovation of Winstanley House (formerly known as Braunstone Hall) on Braunstone Park.

The Parmars plan to prioritise the transformation of the former school into eight individual office spaces, and then develop 20 two-storey houses on the other, bigger site – four of which would be affordable housing.  Five of the houses will be built to Passivhaus standard, and the rest would also meet high environmental standards.

Parmar Properties will lease the Eco House to WWCE, for a peppercorn rent, subject to the group being able to raise the funding to refurbish it. The building could be used for a variety of community purposes. WWCE will also be given a 999-year lease for a detached classroom building at the southern end of the former school site, from which they would operate a community café.

Leicester assistant city mayor for the environment Cllr Adam Clarke, said:  “I’m delighted we’ve been able to reach an agreement that will see the historically-significant former school site and the former eco house make positive contributions to the city and local community once more.

I’m equally pleased that we were able to secure excellent environmental standards for much needed new housing, including five ultra-energy efficient, low carbon, low bills properties. This exciting scheme sets a standard for other developers in the city."

A formal decision on the sale will be taken by Leicester’s City Mayor in the next two weeks.