LEICESTER’S new St Margaret’s Bus Station has scooped its first national award.
The £14.3million bus station redevelopment project took the top spot in the infrastructure and transport-related development category of the Future Cities Forum Winter Awards 2022.
Judges praised the ambition of the bus station redevelopment and the way major elements of the previous building were reused to help cut the carbon cost of construction.
Helen Taylor, Director of Practice at Scott Brownrigg and a member of the judging panel, said: “'I loved that fact that they had taken what was there at St Margaret's Bus Station and made it better.”
Fellow judge Deborah Williams, Head of Region – Midlands, Historic England, added: “Typically, rail stations get lots of attention, and bus stations are 'also rans'. It's the fact that they have created a sense of place in this part of Leicester that is really laudable.”
The new landmark St Margaret’s Bus Station building creates a striking gateway into the centre of the city. It features a glazed concourse to maximise natural lighting and cut energy consumption and a curved aluminium roof where a solar array of 390 photovoltaic panels generate more clean, green power than is needed to run the building.
The building has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with the highest possible rating of A+ and a score of -4. This means that the new bus station building will be better than net zero carbon in terms of its operational emissions. It is the first net zero carbon bus station building in the UK.
Bus passengers benefit from a completely redesigned, improved and more spacious internal layout with better seating, a new café, modern toilets complete with a Changing Places accessible facility, and real-time digital passenger information. The new building also provides significantly more capacity for national and regional services, with the number of available bays increased by a third from 18 to 24.
Deputy Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, air quality and the climate emergency, said: “St Margaret’s Bus Station represents an ambitious and important step forwards in our efforts to become a carbon neutral city.
“It shows our commitment to decarbonising our public buildings and will build on our work to promote sustainable transport and help improve services for bus passengers in and around the city, through our new Leicester Buses Partnership with local operators.
“This new landmark building has also made a huge and positive to the important St Margaret’s gateway and I am proud that this ambitious project and the fantastic project team behind it have been recognised with this award.”
The new St Margaret’s bus station was designed by BDP, a major international practice of architects, designers, engineers and urbanists, with construction of the new building carried out by the city council’s appointed contractors, leading construction and regeneration specialists Morgan Sindall.
Ronan Connelly, Architect Associate at BDP, said: “St Margaret's Bus Station is now one of the most beautiful and important transport hubs in the UK and an exemplar for modern, sustainable design. Modern architecture should be careful, not careless, and transport buildings should respond to the requirements of modern cities like Leicester. We are extremely happy that the station has won this award and it demonstrates the importance of creating a world-class, inner-city building that is both simple and practical whilst achieving net zero carbon.”
Richard Fielding, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “This award pays testament to the hard work we have all undertaken in the regeneration of this key area of Leicester. The bus station will have a positive impact for so many people throughout our communities and is an exemplar of what can be achieved when we come together to help create the resilient cities of the future.
“The team worked tirelessly to deliver the bus station, which will strengthen transport links between key areas throughout the region and the city centre. In addition, there are improved footpaths and roads and enhanced facilities for cyclists and pedestrians as well as safer crossings and new landscaping and more tree planting, meaning the new bus facility truly offers something for everyone.”
The £14.3million bus station redevelopment is part of the St Margaret’s Gateway regeneration project. This has been supported by a £10.5million allocation from the Getting Building Fund, a pot of government money awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) for shovel-ready infrastructure projects to help create jobs and support economic recovery across the country.
Andy Reed OBE, Co-Chair of the LLEP, said: "Sustainability is a pillar of our region's economic growth strategy.
"This investment created the UK's first net zero carbon bus station and will support long-term economic growth.
"It's great to see that it has won its first award and we look forward to more successes to follow."
The installation of the new building’s array of photovoltaic panels was supported by a grant of £95,000 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 transport-related projects that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions.