LEICESTER’S historic railway station is set for a radical overhaul and more details and new images of the ambitious proposals have now been released for people to explore.
The multi-million-pound project aims to revitalise and restore the landmark station building, improve facilities for passengers and create a more accessible and attractive gateway into the city.
The proposed project is backed by £17.6million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund which aims to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.
Now, details of the proposed railway station redevelopment have been published by Leicester City Council, which is leading the project in partnership with East Midlands Railway (EMR) and Network Rail.
A new website – at www.leicester.gov.uk/Station – invites people to explore and feedback on how the station’s improved ticket hall, redeveloped porte-cochere, new public square and relocated entrance on Station Street will look following the ambitious revamp.
People can also find out more about the proposed redevelopment at two drop-in public events later this month.
The first will be held at the railway station, in the porte-cochere area, on Wednesday 22 March, from 2-7pm.
A second event will be held at Highcross shopping centre on Thursday 23 March, between 9am and 2pm.
Under the plans, the area outside the entrance will be remodelled with a ramp and steps leading up to the main entrance to the main concourse and ticket hall. The ticket hall itself will be re-configured and opened up to provide more space for passengers. New skylights will be installed in place of the existing suspended ceiling to further enhance the sense of space and let more natural light into this part of the building.
Station Street will be closed to traffic and replaced with an attractive new pedestrianised open space, with trees and landscaping, that will link directly to the Granby Street super crossing and into the city centre.
Taxis will be relocated from inside the existing covered main entrance hall – or porte-cochere – to a new purpose-built looped taxi rank area off Fox Street, immediately adjacent to the new entrance. This will free up the glass-roofed porte-cochere to be revamped as an attractive new plaza for cafes, bars or retail.
The original Station Street façade of the Grade II-listed station building will also be revealed and carefully restored back to its Victorian glory. This will require the demolition of the Parcel Yard pub building and the next-door taxi office.
A new secure cycle store will be created close to the new entrance.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Leicester’s railway station is a beautiful building but needs a radical overhaul to help it meet the needs of a modern city the size of Leicester.
“We have been working closely with rail industry partners to develop ambitious plans to revamp and revitalise the station. It is a major project that will make a huge difference to the city. The award of almost £18million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund is a tremendous endorsement of the importance of this project.
“I’d urge anyone interested in our ambitious plans to transform this landmark, historic building to visit the new website, explore the ambitious proposals and their say on this exciting project.”
Will Rogers, Managing Director for East Midlands Railway said: “We’re excited to work alongside Leicester City Council and Network Rail to significantly improve the facilities for our customers.
“The investment will see the iconic Leicester railway station restored back to its Victorian glory. The development will transform Leicester railway station, as the gateway to the city, by encouraging integration with the surrounding community and offering an improved customer experience to all station visitors.”
Gavin Crook, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “This exciting project will transform Leicester station entrance, bringing better facilities and creating a fitting gateway to the city.
“We’ll continue to work closely with Leicester City Council and East Midlands Railway to deliver these ambitious, major improvements for passengers.”
It is estimated that Leicester railway station is currently used by around five million passengers each year. This is forecast to increase by around 60 per cent over the next 20 years.
Planning and listed building consent will also be required before work can start on site. If given the go-ahead, work is expected to start on-site later this year.
The online guide to the Leicester railway station development proposals is available at www.leicester.gov.uk/Station
People will have until Monday 10 April to leave feedback.