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New street design guide for Leicester

Published on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Image: A street scene in Leicester

A NEW street design guide for Leicester has been launched, setting out the principles that will be used to help build healthier streets in future city redevelopment schemes.

The document shows how the city council’s urban designers and transport planners will prioritise people-friendly urban spaces and public streets, which encourage people to walk, cycle and take public transport.

It will build on the work of the city’s recently published Covid-19 Transport Recovery Plan, which sets out planned actions for the coming months to create space for social distancing and safe travelling throughout the city, ranging from pop-up cycling and walking schemes to bringing forward infrastructure projects.

The design guide gives best-practice examples from other UK and international cities, to support the future design and planning of Leicester’s streets and urban spaces. 

It includes principles such as ensuring there is good space for people to cycle, walk and cross streets safely, as well as building versatile, attractive spaces that can be used for people to gather, stop and rest, shop or socialise.

Other elements of the guide include ensuring that the materials used in any redevelopments are high-quality and hard-wearing, and making sure that there is sufficient drainage, lighting, access and parking.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “We want to build on Leicester’s growing reputation as one of the UK’s most people-friendly cities. The climate emergency, economic uncertainty and the current coronavirus crisis have all highlighted the need for our cities to contain streets that aren’t just built with cars in mind.

“Cities need places to sit, trees for shade and noise reduction, better air quality and attractive streets. It’s especially important to consider how our streets can support our health and wellbeing at this time, when we are practising physical distancing and prioritising essential trips. Good urban design can support this.

“We have already achieved a lot with our regeneration of streets and urban spaces in Leicester. This new guide will help us to be consistent in our design, to build on our successes and to contribute further to the ongoing revitalisation of Leicester as a place in which people want to live, work, spend their leisure time and do business.”

Healthy Streets advisor Brian Deegan, from street design specialists Urban Movement said: “Leicester is one of the UK’s leading cities when it comes to innovative street design.  This document adopts the ‘Healthy Streets’ approach – prioritising sustainable forms of transport - as well many other examples of best practice from around the world. 

“Leicester is building people-friendly streets that everyone will benefit from.  It is hoped that this document will enable and encourage further progress towards Leicester becoming the UK’s most liveable city.”

City mayor Peter Soulsby added: “When I took office, I set up the ongoing Connecting Leicester project to create a better-connected, safe and family-friendly city centre. Since then we’ve completed some major and highly successful urban redevelopment schemes, including Jubilee Square, Green Dragon Square, the regeneration of streets in Leicester’s Old Town and the transformation of London Road, one of our main routes into the city.

“Our focus has been on extending and improving Leicester’s substantial pedestrian zone – the largest in the UK to include full access for cyclists.

“This guide will help us to build on that work in our ongoing projects, as well as continuing the work we have begun as part of our Covid-19 Transport Recovery Plan. We’re grateful for the input of more than 15 local groups including disabled access groups, transport operators and social inclusion bodies, so that we can make our streets as easy to get around as possible.”

Groups which have contributed to the guide include Leicester Wheels for All, the Campaign for Better Transport and Living Streets.

Further contributors include Urban Movement and transport planners Phil Jones Associates, plus members of the city council’s transport, planning and public health teams.

The Leicester Street Design Guide will be reviewed within the first 12 months of use to ensure that it is best meeting the needs of the city. 

The document is available to view and share on the Leicester City Council website at https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/city-mayor-peter-soulsby/key-strategy-documents/

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