IMPROVEMENTS are planned for a busy Leicester junction as part of a major redevelopment scheme being carried out by the University of Leicester.
The university is investing £150m in transforming its Freemen’s Common site, at the junction of Welford Road and Putney Road, and is spending £1.5m on highway and junction improvements linked to that scheme.
Preparatory work for the new university development is already underway in Putney Road, including adjusting the kerb line to accommodate new cycling and pedestrian facilities, and ongoing utility works on gas and electricity connections.
The major phase of works, due to take place later in 2020, will include installing new road crossing points, new off-road cycle track and upgrading footpaths, and simplifying the junction of Welford Road and Putney Road to improve its efficiency.
There are plans to remove the right-hand turn from Welford Road into Putney Road permanently as part of the works. It was approved as part of the university’s planning permission for the scheme, and a Traffic Regulation Order to proceed with it has been submitted this week.
An application has also been made for a temporary closure of the right-hand turn in the meantime, to allow other preparatory work around the university development to continue safely.
The highway improvement scheme will be entirely paid for by the University of Leicester as part of its comprehensive £150m redevelopment of its Freemen’s Common site.
Plans for the development include high-quality accommodation for around 1,200 students; a café for both students and the wider community; a new 550-space multi-storey car park; a landmark Teaching and Learning Centre, as well as the sensitive refurbishment and extension of the Grade II listed Freemen’s Cottages as the centrepiece of the scheme.
The university will also be making a financial contribution towards improvements at Saffron Lane Stadium and Victoria Park, as part of an agreement to make a developer contribution to benefit the wider area.
Martin Fletcher, Leicester City Council’s director of highways, said: “The university is creating a major new development at its Freemen’s Common site, and the planned works to upgrade the junctions, road crossings, footpaths and cycleways will help ensure it can accommodate the expected increase in people travelling in the area.
“Preparatory work for this development is underway, and we’ve been working closely with the contractors on a programme of phased works at this busy junction.
“Removing the right-hand turn from Welford Road into Putney Road as part of the scheme will reduce congestion at the junction, by taking out the queue of traffic waiting to turn right. Drivers will be directed to use Counting House Road and Freemen’s Common Road instead to access Putney Road.
“The more major elements of the work won’t begin until later this year or early 2021, subject to the exact programme of works being agreed with the university.
“Ahead of that phase of improvements beginning, the developer will be sharing information with local residents and businesses about what to expect from the work. It will be phased and managed in a way as to minimise disruption both to traffic and nearby residents.”
Highways works are being carried out by Danaher & Walsh, under contract to Engie, the construction company leading on the university’s major redevelopment scheme.