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Final designs for Leicester’s railway station revamp revealed

Railway station entrance artist's impression

FINAL designs for a radical revamp of Leicester’s historic railway station have been revealed by the city council.

New visuals have been released showing how the multi-million-pound project will transform the landmark station building with improved facilities for passengers and a new public plaza to create a more accessible and attractive gateway into the city.

The railway station redevelopment is led by Leicester City Council in partnership with Network Rail and East Midlands Railway (EMR). The project is backed by £17.6 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund which aims to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.

Final development proposals detailing the ambitious plans have been submitted by the city council for approval.

Under the plans, the station’s main entrance will be moved from London Road to Station Street, which will be closed to traffic and replaced with a new pedestrianised public plaza.

Work is now under way to prepare for the demolition of 48a London Road, which stands immediately next to the railway station. This will be complete by late-summer and will create the space needed for the redevelopment to go ahead.

It will also reveal the original façade of the historic Grade-II listed building. This will be carefully restored to its Victorian glory and form the new entrance, facing directly towards Granby Street and into the city centre.

Railway station artist's impression

Pick up and drop off points, including for hackney cabs. will be relocated from inside the station’s existing covered entrance hall – or porte-cochere – to a new location at the rear of the station, off Fox Street and close to the new entrance.

The glass-roofed porte-cochère will be completely overhauled to provide an attractive and welcoming place for cafes, bars or retail.

A new curved ramp, steps and lift will provide easy access to the new entrance and main concourse ticket hall, which will also be remodelled including a wider ticket barrier, to provide more space for passengers. Secure bike storage will be provided underneath the new entrance ramp.

Outside, a new and now larger public plaza will feature rainwater gardens and new tree planting.  The statue of Thomas Cook will be moved a prominent position within the scheme to ensure that it continues to serve as a reminder that Leicester was the birthplace of popular tourism.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Leicester’s railway station is a landmark building but as a vital transport hub, it needs a radical revamp to meet the needs of a modern city the size of Leicester.

“We have been working closely with our rail industry partners and listening carefully to feedback form the public as we progress and develop these ambitious plans that will improve the station and revitalise this important gateway into our city.

“The award of almost £18 million of extra Government investment into the city through the Levelling Up Fund is powerful endorsement of the importance of the project. It will make a vital and lasting contribution to Leicester’s future growth and prosperity.”

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: “We are really pleased with the early progress that has been made on the work to transform Leicester station entrance.

“We’ll continue to work with Leicester City Council and East Midlands Railway to deliver these improvements to the station and improved facilities for passengers.”

The council plans to appoint a main development partner this summer, following a competitive tendering exercise. Construction work is expected to begin shortly after the contractor is appointed.

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.