News about buildings and building projects in Leicester

Page last edited:  29th April 2016

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26th April 2016

New bus station to open in Charles Street

Artist's impression of the interior of the new bus station in Charles Street. Courtesy of Leicester City Council.
Artist’s impression of the interior of the new bus station in Charles Street.
Courtesy of Leicester City Council.

Leicester City Council has confirmed that bus services will begin to operate from the revamped station from Sunday, May 8, but people will get a first chance to see inside the new building at an opening event planned for Saturday, May 7.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The new Haymarket Bus Station will help dramatically improve services for bus passengers. I am delighted that passengers now have just a few days to wait until they can see the benefits for themselves.

“The new building and the improvements made to the surrounding street scene have provided a tremendous lift to what was becoming a rather rundown-looking part of the city centre.

“This ambitious redevelopment has provided the city with a new bus station that is fit for the 21st century. It will make a huge difference to the journeys of thousands of people who travel into the city centre by bus every day, and I am grateful for the patience they have shown during this challenging project.”

Built on the same site as the old 1990s facility, the new bus station will offer almost double the number of departure bays – increasing from 12 to 23 – providing capacity for over 100 buses per hour.

As a result, a number of bus shelters have been removed from Charles Street, between Belgrave Gate and Humberstone Gate, where pavements have also been widened and re-built in high quality block paving to provide a safer and more attractive route for shoppers and other visitors.

The new bus station building – which has replaced a collection of old, run-down bus shelters – will provide comfortable waiting facilities, real-time bus information displays and a passenger information point in its modern concourse. There will also be a kiosk and public toilets, including baby changing facilities and a new Changing Places toilet for people with profound disabilities and their carers.

People visiting the new bus station during the opening event on Saturday, May 7, will have the chance to explore bus travel through the ages with examples of vintage vehicles and the bus operators’ latest fleet vehicles on show. There will also a range of information stalls and other activities on offer. The open event will run from 11am until 5pm.

18th February

Old bank given new lease of life

PLANS to convert a disused 19th century bank and bring it back into use as a new delicatessen have been backed with a city council heritage grant.

The former Bank of Ireland Savings Bank, at 4 St Martins, is one of the first buildings to be awarded a grant from the Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

The city council-run scheme, which is backed by £1.1milllion of Heritage Lottery Fund cash, will help drive the restoration and regeneration of at least 20 of the most historically important buildings in the Greyfriars conservation area, to the south of Leicester Cathedral.

A grant of up to £200,000 has been awarded to Nottingham-based Delilah Fine Foods who plan to revamp the Grade II-listed Victorian bank building and bring it back into use.

The company has secured planning and listed building consent to convert the old bank into a delicatessen and café, with three apartments on the upper floors. Delilah Fine Foods has won awards for a similar deli, which it opened in a converted Grade II-listed former bank building in Nottingham’s Victoria Street.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is an absolutely smashing building, right on the gateway into Cathedral Gardens.

“I am thrilled with the plans to bring it back into use as a deli, which will see it reopened as a place for people to enjoy, after years of it being boarded-up.

“The award of this THI grant means that we can help to bring a fantastic piece of our architectural heritage back into use, and also attract a new, independent business into Leicester.

“Delilah Fine Foods have an excellent record of sensitively converting heritage buildings. We simply wouldn’t have seen this level of interest in this part of the city centre two years ago.”

[Source: Leicester City Council]

15th October

Granby Halls site development

The Granby Halls
The Granby Halls

PLANS for the proposed sale of land on the site of the former Granby Halls have been announced by Leicester City Council.

The 1.66 acres (0.67 hectares) of land, located next to the Leicester Tigers Stadium at the junction of Welford and Aylestone Road, will be marketed for sale from Friday (16 Oct).

Prospective buyers will have to provide an outline of their proposed future use of the site when submitting their offer for the land.

The city council has put in place a site development brief which provides guidance on the type and size of development that will be permitted on the site.

This gives a variety of potential uses, including offices, hotel use, student accommodation, or community facilities, in a building of between five and eight storeys. Apartments could also be included as part of a mixed-use scheme.

Open space must be maintained between the Granby Halls site and the Tigers ground, to provide a public concourse.

The city council, which owns the land, currently leases it to NCP and Leicester Tigers for car parking.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a major city centre location. Now that work on the new car park at Leicester Royal Infirmary is nearing completion, we can begin to think about how this important site can be put to the best possible use in the future.

“We want to see something of high quality being developed here. It’s important that any building on this site should be of architectural merit and that future use is not at odds with people who live in the area, or with the neighbouring prison, hospital or sports stadium.

“That’s why we’ve chosen to implement a development brief on the site, and will not sell until we have assurance that the proposed development is the right one for this part of the city.”

[Source: Leicester City Council]

24th September 2015

Waterside development

AN INDUSTRIAL building on a main route into the proposed Waterside regeneration area is set to be bought by the city council.

The property, at 65 Great Central Street, is to be bought with vacant possession. The proposed purchase is part of the city council’s wider plans for the regeneration of Waterside. It will be paid for with Government cash awarded for regeneration in the area.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The acquisition of properties like this will help move forward our plans for the wider regeneration of Waterside over the coming years.

“This is a rather unattractive industrial building located on an important route into the Waterside.

“Improving the gateways into the area, and reconnecting the city centre with its riverside, is a key part of our vision for the regeneration of this part of the city over the next ten to 15 years.”

17th August 2015

New Walk Centre

One of the UK’s leading financial advice firms has been confirmed as the first tenant of a new development at the site of the former New Walk Centre.

Wealth management and employee benefits business, Mattioli Woods plc, has announced it will move into offices at the planned new development on the site of the former council offices.

The firm, which has been based at Grove Park in Enderby since 2005, advises over 6,000 clients with assets under management, administration and advice in excess of £5 billion.  The company employs over 300 staff in Leicester, and the move will allow it to expand and create in excess of 150 new job opportunities.

Earlier this year, Leicester City Council announced that local developer Ingleby, part of the Sowden Group, had been appointed to regenerate the site, which is currently in the process of being cleared following the demolition of New Walk Centre in February 2015.

Plans for the site include two buildings based around a central public open area on New Walk, combining office space, apartments and ground-floor retail.  If planning permission is granted, work is expected to start on site before the end of 2015, with the development being completed and new tenants in place towards the beginning of 2017.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is a real vote of confidence in the city centre that a firm with the calibre of Mattioli Woods will be setting up its office at this key development site.  It is a local firm with a proven track record, which was originally based in the city until it moved out in 1998.

“Developments such as this are creating valuable business space, and I hope this will be the first of many firms realising the benefits of being based in the heart of a thriving city centre.”

Mattioli Woods Chief Executive Officer, Ian Mattioli, added: “We are really excited about our move, which for me is a move back home.  The Mattioli family are proud of our Leicester roots, which go back hundreds of years.”

Commenting on the new office, he said: “We are a fast-growing local business with ambitious expansion plans over the next few years, which is a key driver for the move.  The new city centre office will provide us with an ultra-modern working space with great transport links, giving us the opportunity to service both existing and future recruitment needs even more efficiently.”

Roy Coley, Managing Director of the Sowden Group, said: “We are thrilled that our scheme was chosen to redevelop the site of the former New Walk Centre.  We would like to thank our team of architects and support professionals, all of whom are based in the East Midlands, for all their hard work on what is a very exciting mixed-use scheme.

“We are a local developer and to have attracted a company of the quality and calibre of Mattioli Woods cannot be under estimated.  We hope the success of this scheme will encourage more high quality companies to locate to Leicester city centre.”

Leading multi-professional consultancy practice Pick Everard, which is based in Charles Street, has been chosen to provide professional Independent Project Monitoring and Advisory Services for the flagship project.  The company was chosen due to its vision, the high standards of its work and the ability to cope with a project of this size within a fast-track timescale.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

20th April 2015

Soar Island competition attracts worldwide talent

AN INTERNATIONAL architecture competition to find a winning vision for the future of Leicester’s Soar Island has attracted entries from across the globe.

Over 80 entries – including ideas from as far afield as Japan, Spain, Hong Kong, Italy and America – have been submitted.

The competition has been organised by Leicester City Council and RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and invited architects to submit ideas for the potential future use of the two-acre Soar Island, at the heart of Leicester’s Waterside. Members of the public will be able to comment on the initial designs submitted by the five shortlisted entrants at a public exhibition due to take place in Leicester in early summer.

Glenn Howells, acting as RIBA advisor for the competition, said: “The range and type of proposals we saw was impressive. The competition entries showed how a wide variety of activities and environments could potentially be created on the island.

“It prompted much discussion amongst the judges as to what form of development would best deliver the maximum benefit for this exciting, emerging quarter of Leicester.”

Andrew Smith, director of regeneration at Leicester City Council, said: “Soar Island is a unique part of the city and has the potential to be an interesting focal point in the Waterside development area.

“We’ve been really pleased with the level of interest shown in the competition and the range of visionary ideas submitted which we are using to help us shape our thinking on how to make the most of this potential development site.

“This process has already captured the imagination of the architectural community and we are looking forward to hearing what local people think of the ideas. Ultimately, this competition will help to build developer interest and confidence in our plans for the regeneration of the Waterside area.”

[Source: City Council}

2nd September 2014

New Walk centre demolition

THE crumbling office blocks at New Walk Centre are due to be brought down in a controlled initiated collapse early next year.  Leicester City Council has today announced the method to be used to demolish its former headquarters, following 10 weeks of investigations and preparatory work by demolition contractors on the site.

The offices were handed over in July to demolition firm DSM, who have since been carrying out preparatory works and enabling work to help establish the safest and quickest method of taking down the buildings. The chosen method – known as a controlled initiated collapse – will bring the two tower blocks down into their own footprint in a matter of seconds.

It is widely used in the industry, as a quick and safe method of demolition. It will be subject to stringent safety conditions and overseen by the Health and Safety Executive and police. Following the demolition, teams of specialist cleaners will move in immediately afterwards to clean up the resulting dust so that roads, homes, and businesses near to the demolition site can return to normal that same day.

Further details will now be drawn up on exactly when the process will take place, along with arrangements for road closures and vacating businesses and homes nearest the site. Further testing on the site over the last few weeks has revealed that the other possible methods of demolition – including gradual dismantling by ultra-high reach machine – would be impractical due to the decaying state of the building.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Contractors have spent the last 10 weeks gradually stripping the building of fixtures and fittings and carrying out numerous investigations and testing work to see how the building can be brought down safely. “Given the very poor condition of the building, they felt that slowly dismantling it would be too risky for the contractors working on it, and that bringing it down very quickly would be far safer.

“This method means the buildings can be demolished, the surrounding area cleaned and the roads and businesses re-opened all within the same day. “We’ll now be in further discussions with DSM to set a date for the demolition and make the necessary arrangements.

“We’ll also be working closely with residents and businesses to ensure they know in plenty of time how it will affect them, and how we will be helping them.” As part of the agreement with contractors, the site will be leveled and left as a vacant brownfield plot for future development.

The New Walk Centre plot is considered to be a prime city-centre development site easily accessible from Leicester Station, New Walk and the heart of the city’s shopping area.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

See also:

Our feature article on housing

More about buildings

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