THE NETWORK of automatic bollards that surrounds Leicester’s central pedestrian zone is to be upgraded as part of a range of improvements planned by the city council.
Work to replace the existing bollards, which are now unreliable and require continual maintenance, will get under way on Monday 14 August.
Once installed, the new bollards will be lowered to allow vehicles into the pedestrian zone during permitted hours for loading and unloading, but will prevent unauthorised vehicles from entering the zone at all other times.
Next year, when the scheme is complete, there will also be changes for residents and businesses based within the zone, with the introduction of new multi-level authentication at entry points.
This will include a new PIN code that’s linked to each user’s vehicle, helping to prevent unauthorised vehicles from accessing the zone.
One-time use PIN codes will be issued to those with legitimate reasons for accessing the zone outside permitted hours.
As part of the package of measures, existing loading and unloading hours will be strictly enforced, with all delivery vehicles expected to be out of the pedestrian zone by 11am from Sunday to Friday, and by 9am on Saturdays.
City Highways Director Martin Fletcher said: “Leicester’s pedestrian zone was established back in 2006 and the infrastructure installed at that time is no longer fit for purpose.
“Since 2006, we have also extended the zone to include Church Gate, Haymarket, St Martins, Greyfriars, Hotel Street and Granby Street, so it’s a good opportunity to review the systems we have in place to keep it secure.
“By upgrading our infrastructure, and tightening up access for vehicles to the pedestrian zone, we hope to clamp down on those who abuse the system and, more importantly, provide an environment for shopping and leisure activities where people feel safe.”
Work to replace and upgrade the automatic bollards will get under way on Monday 14 August, starting on Church Gate (near its junction with St Peter’s Lane) and Greyfriars (at its junction with Friar Lane).
New street furniture, placed to prevent vehicles from accessing the pedestrian zone, will be installed at the same time.
Work will be carried out in phases, two sites at a time, with each taking around five weeks to complete. All 14 sites are due for completion by late spring 2024, with works pausing for the Christmas moratorium.
City centre businesses have been briefed on the proposals, with a letter detailing the changes being sent to every residential and business address within the pedestrian zone.
Leicester’s pedestrian zone covers an area that’s about the size of seven-and-a-half football pitches and includes the Highcross and Haymarket shopping centres, the streets around the Clock Tower, and the independent shops and cafes in St Martin’s Square and The Lanes.
Vehicles have access to the zone for loading and unloading from 5am until 11am from Sunday to Friday, and from 5am until 9am on Saturdays.