WORK has started on the ambitious £13.5million regeneration of Leicester’s St Margaret’s bus station and its surrounding streets.
Leicester City Council will build a striking new building to replace the old St Margaret’s bus station and create more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists as part of a major scheme to revamp this part of the city centre.
The city council has appointed leading construction and regeneration specialists Morgan Sindall Group PLC as the main contractor for the project, following a competitive tender process.
Morgan Sindall has previously worked with the city council on the delivery of the award-winning King Richard III Visitor Centre. More recently, it led construction for local developers Charles Street Buildings on £50m of mixed-use developments and infrastructure upgrades close to Leicester city centre, off Vaughan Way. This included two hotels of six and 10 storeys, 35,000sqft of office space and a new public realm called Great Central Square.
The initial stages of construction work on the new St Margaret’s Bus Station are now underway.
The new bus station building will have glazed walls and feature a curved aluminium roof that appears to float above the main concourse hall.
Bus passengers will benefit from a completely redesigned and improved internal layout with a new café, better seating, modern toilets complete with a new Changing Places accessible toilet, and real time digital passenger information. There will also be increased capacity for national and regional bus services, with the number of bays increased from 18 to 24.
Electric bus charging points will be installed, and the new building will feature secure storage for up to 150 bikes.
A series of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures will help make the new bus station a net carbon zero building. The roof will be fitted with around 750sqm of photovoltaic panels which will generate enough energy to power the new bus station and feed surplus green energy back into the grid.
Improvements to footpaths and roads next to the bus station will also take place. This will include better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, safer crossings to soften the impact of the ring road, new landscaping and more tree planting. The work will help strengthen and improve links between key development sites and the city centre, including the new Savoy Street will provides a direct link between St Margaret and Haymarket bus stations.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The new St Margaret’s bus station is an important project for Leicester and the start of its construction marks the beginning of a revival of this part of the city.
“This new investment in the St Margaret’s area will provide a huge boost for public transport, help regenerate a run down but important gateway into the Leicester and help attract even more investment into the city.
“The award of over £10million of government funding is a huge endorsement of the importance of this scheme and we’re very pleased to have Morgan Sindall onboard as lead contractors on this exciting development.”
Richard Frape, project director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The new bus station will make a real impact on the lives of people in Leicester. It will improve commutes while also creating better transport connections with other parts of the UK.
“In addition, footpath improvements, safer crossings for cyclists and pedestrians and storage for 150 bikes will all support active transport methods.
“Leicester City Council is a long-term customer and we’ve worked hand-in-glove with them to design a bus station which will help meet the council’s net-zero carbon target and encourage people to use greener and cleaner transport.
“As with all our projects, we look forward to boosting the local economy by utilising skilled local suppliers wherever possible.”
The £13.5milllion bus station redevelopment is part of the St Margaret’s Gateway regeneration project. This is supported by a £10.5million allocation from the Getting Building Fund, a pot of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) for shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said: “I’m delighted that £10.5million Government investment will help kickstart works to transform St Margaret’s Bus Station, in addition to creating more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Through projects like this, we’re levelling up towns and cities, boosting local economies and helping them to build back better from the pandemic.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors, said: “St Margaret’s Gateway is a significant investment in the future of Leicester, and I’m very pleased that the LLEP has been able to support it via our Getting Building Fund allocation.
“A major regeneration project at one of the key gateways to the city, the new bus station and improvements to the surrounding roads will be a great benefit to the local economy, creating jobs and connecting Leicester to the wider county and the rest of the UK.
“The building’s carbon neutrality is a major boost to our goal of a net-zero Leicester and Leicestershire, and it’s great to see new investment in the green infrastructure of the future.”
Demolition of the old building was completed on time and on budget. All that now remains is the partial steelwork frame which will be reused in the new construction, in line with the high eco-standards of the project.
Deputy city mayor for environment and transportation Cllr Adam Clarke said: “These exciting plans to replace St Margaret’s Bus Station with a striking, new and net carbon zero building represents an ambitious and important step forwards in our efforts to become a carbon neutral and climate adapted city by 2030.
“It shows our commitment to decarbonising buildings and will build on our work to promote sustainable transport and support bus operators to convert to low emission fleets. In many ways this new carbon neutral bus station building will be a flagship for what we are striving to achieve in Leicester.”
The installation of the new building’s array of photovoltaic panels will be supported by a grant of £202,500 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of Leicester City Council’s successful bid for over £4million of match-funding to support a range of ambitious transport-related projects that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Construction of the new bus station building is expected to be complete by summer 2022.
The works will require some temporary road closures in the immediate area. These will be clearly signposted with alternative routes in place.
Encouraging more people to use sustainable transport and cutting the carbon footprint of the city’s buildings are key actions resulting from the first Leicester Climate Emergency Strategy. The strategy sets out an ambitious vision for how the city needs to change to move towards becoming carbon-neutral and adapting to the effects of global heating by 2030, or sooner.
To find out more visit www.leicester.gov.uk/ClimateEmergency