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Greyfriars Open Streets celebrates city’s people-friendly spaces

Published on Thursday, April 25, 2019

Image: The Greyfriars Open Streets event for April will have a Suffragette theme. Picture shows the Greyfriars area with council staff and partners posing with bikes and Suffragette banners.

A CELEBRATION of Leicester’s people-friendly streets takes place this weekend (Sunday 28 April), with roads in the city’s historic Old Town area closed to traffic for people to enjoy.

Greyfriars Open Streets will see businesses moving out onto the streets and games like giant Jenga set up for people to enjoy, alongside a programme of free walks, tours, talks and bike rides designed to showcase the city’s Old Town area at its best.

This part of Leicester is full of important heritage and architectural treasures built up over more than 2,000 years. The area came to worldwide attention after the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in the car park at Greyfriars.

Each of the monthly Greyfriars Open Streets events will be themed, with this month’s event celebrating the history of Leicester’s Suffragette movement.

The Greyfriars Open Streets events will take place on the last Sunday of the month from April to October.

The initiative has been organised by the city council’s Townscape Heritage Initiative and Ride Leicester teams, with funding and volunteer support from Sustrans, British Cycling, Living Streets, Leicester Cathedral and the King Richard III Visitor Centre.

Kicking off at 1pm on Sunday 28 April, activities will include free 10-minute rickshaw rides around the Old Town from New Market Square, as well as the chance to create your own screen-printed Suffragette poster with Leicester Print Workshop.

Guided walks and bike rides will cover the history of the Greyfriars conservation area and visit ‘blue plaque’ sites associated with the Suffragettes, while at New Street car park, there will be a chance to watch some street art being created with a Suffragette theme.

Other activities include a talk by Suffragette Alice Hawkins’ grandson, Peter Barratt; displays and exhibitions by young people and the chance to try a game of bike polo – and all activities are free!

The area has recently benefitted from more than £10m of street scene improvements funded by the city council, property owners and the National Lottery Heritage Fund-backed Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Improvements have included repairs and restoration work to 19 buildings, bringing vacant space back into retail and residential use, and restoring five streets with high-quality materials. Historic granite kerbstones have been preserved, pavements have been widened, 10 trees have been planted and new cast-iron pavement lights have been installed.

Future themes for the Greyfriars Open Streets events will include the Arts & Crafts movement, the Green Bicycle Mystery, Georgian Leicester, King Richard III and wartime Leicester.

More information is available on the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LeicesterOpenStreets , or visit the Choose How You Move website at www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk/openstreets

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