WORK to revamp the area around the historic Clock Tower in Leicester city centre is now underway.
The city council has fenced off an area around the landmark monument as it begins work to remove the existing granite slabs and replace them with high quality porphyry, reflecting materials used in Jubilee Square, Cathedral Gardens and Green Dragon Square.
Work will initially focus on the area immediately around the Clock Tower, but once complete will extend to the recently resurfaced High Street and its junctions with Humberstone Gate and Gallowtree Gate.
The work is just one phase of a much wider, ambitious £8million scheme to transform the shopping streets around the Clock Tower, and pedestrianise Church Gate, Haymarket and part of Belgrave Gate.
This will be made possible by the creation of Savoy Street, a new link road for buses between Belgrave Gate and Mansfield Street. Work on the new link road is due to be complete later this summer.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Perhaps now more than ever, it is vital that we regenerate this high-profile part of the city centre and create a safer – and more attractive – environment for pedestrians in the area around the Clock Tower.
“This much needed revamp of the paving will refresh this popular meeting spot and give it the same prestige as our public squares in the city centre. But it is just one phase of a much more ambitious plan to transform and improve this part of the city centre.
“By removing the buses, and by upgrading the environment on Belgrave Gate and Church Gate, we will give private developers the confidence to invest in the shops and businesses in the area – and that’s something that I’m sure will be welcomed by local traders in these very challenging times.”
The Clock Tower repaving work is expected to take around a year to complete and will be carried out in small sections to minimise disruption. Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the work.
The wider improvement scheme is likely to take a further 12 months to complete.
The Belgrave Gate and Mansfield Street link road and improvement scheme is part of the North City Centre Accessibility Improvement Programme of linked transport and public realm improvement works, which comprise several individual schemes. The programme is supported by a £8.96m allocation from the Local Growth Fund, a pot of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP) for projects that benefit the local area and economy.