WORK is complete on an ambitious scheme to revamp an important gateway into Leicester city centre and restore a lost link to the Cultural Quarter.
Leicester City Council has completed work to transform St George Street to create a more attractive route and people-friendly route with stronger links between the railway station, city centre and major visitor attractions like Curve and Phoenix.
The stretch of road – between its junctions with busy St George’s Way and Queen Street – has been completely overhauled and now features a series of rainwater gardens along the edges of the street which, along with new tree planting that will be carried out later this year, will help provide better drainage.
The main footpath has been reconstructed in resin bound gravel, and the stretch of road between Queens Street and the car park serving Mercury Place has been pedestrianised. High quality block paving now marks the entrances to St George’s Churchyard, Mercury Place and the existing children’s play area.
A new lawned area has also been created at the junction with St George’s Way, and a retaining wall lowered to help open up the area and create a more inviting approach through to the St George’s Cultural Quarter.
The scheme complements work recently completed on a part of Granby Street to create a more welcoming gateway into the city centre and help make the route safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.
A stretch of the busy shopping street – between Northampton Street and the inner ring road at St George’s Way – has been pedestrianised and reconstructed in coloured asphalt and high-quality block paving.
Improvements have also been made to Northampton Street to provide wider footpaths, and to the existing contraflow cycle lane between Dover Street and the inner ring road to provide a safe and direct route for people on bikes.
The two schemes – which cost a total of £1.9million – were supported through the Getting Building Fund, a pot of Government money awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) for shovel-ready projects to help create jobs and support economic recovery following the pandemic.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, clean air and climate emergency, said: “The improvements carried out to these two important streets have helped make these important routes safer and much more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists, while having minimal impact on motorists.
“St George Street had become a bit forgotten since the Leicester Mercury left its offices. This new investment has helped to put it back on the map. It has completely transformed the look and feel of the street and made this important route to through to the Cultural Quarter more welcoming and obvious for people, especially those arriving by train. It also provides a much more attractive environment for residents and businesses in the area.”
Andy Reed OBE, Co-chair of the LLEP Board, said: "Greener growth is one of our strategic priorities and the work done at St George Street and Granby Street will encourage sustainable movement through the city.
"This will bring economic opportunity too as the project forms part of a wider plan to create a high-quality gateway into the city centre, helping to accelerate commercial investment in the key area around the station.”