MAJOR street improvements are planned to revitalise a forgotten link between Leicester’s Cultural Quarter and an important gateway into the city centre.
Leicester City Council is proposing to revamp St George Street – between its junctions with St George’s Way and Queen Street – to create a more attractive and pedestrian-friendly route with stronger links between the railway station, city centre, businesses and major visitor attractions like Curve and Phoenix.
The stretch of road will be pedestrianised between Queens Street and the car park servicing Mercury Place.
A series of rainwater gardens will feature along the edges of the street which, along with new tree planting, will help make the area more attractive to visitors and provide better drainage. A new terraced lawn area, with trees, will be created at the junction with St George’s Way, with the existing retaining wall lowered to help open up the area and create a more inviting approach.
The main footpath will be reconstructed in resin bound gravel and will weave between the new planting, with high-quality block paving marking the entrances to Mercury Place, St George’s Churchyard and the existing children’s play area.
A new docking station for the Santander e-bike hire scheme will also be installed.
Access to car parking at Mercury Place and existing apartments will be retained.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “St George Street has been a bit forgotten since the Leicester Mercury left its offices there but it has the potential to be a fantastic link to the Cultural Quarter, especially for people arriving in the city by train.
“These improvements will make a huge difference to the look and feel of the street, helping to create a much more attractive environment for businesses and a safer and more inviting route for pedestrians.”
The scheme is expected to cost about £1m and will be supported through the Getting Building Fund, a pot of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) for shovel-ready infrastructure projects that will help create jobs and support economic recovery.
Kevin Harris, Chair of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP), said: “Greener growth is a key priority for the LLEP and this project delivers it by encouraging sustainable movement through the city, reducing carbon emissions and facilitating a safer environment for a healthier way of life.
“The improvements to St George Street form part of a wider plan to create a high quality, modern and attractive gateway into the city centre, that will help to boost local jobs and growth by accelerating commercial investment around the station hub area.”
Work is expected to get underway early in the new year and will take around four months to complete.