A FORGOTTEN link between Leicester’s Cultural Quarter and an important gateway into the city centre is set for a major revamp, with work due to begin this week.
Leicester City Council is planning an ambitious overhaul of St George Street – between its junctions with St George’s Way and Queen Street – to create a more attractive and people-friendly route linking the railway station, city centre, major visitor attractions like Curve and Phoenix and other businesses in the Cultural Quarter.
The stretch of road will be pedestrianised between Queen Street and the car park at Mercury Place.
A series of rainwater gardens will be created along the edges of the street which, along with new tree planting, will help make the area more attractive to visitors and provide better natural drainage. A new terraced lawn area will be created at the junction with St George’s Way where the existing retaining wall will be lowered to help open up the area and create a more inviting approach.
The main footway 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.
Access to car parking at Mercury Place and apartments on St George's Way will be retained.
A new docking station for the Santander e-bike hire scheme will also be installed.
Work is due to begin this week (w/c 4 April) and will take around four months to complete.
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 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 £1million 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: “Sustainability is one of the pillars of the LLEP's new Economic Growth Strategy and this project supports that by encouraging walking, 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.”