31st July 2015

Waterside Regeneration

set to move forward

AN AMBITIOUS vision for the multi-million pound regeneration of Leicester’s Waterside is set to be taken forward by the city council.

The Leicester Waterside Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which will help guide development and investment in the 60-hectare area around the River Soar and Soar Island over the next ten to 15 years, is due to be formally adopted.

The adoption of the new guidance will mean that Leicester City Council can submit an outline planning application which, if approved, will pave the way for a first £9.5milllion phase of regeneration in the area.

This will focus on land to the west of the A50, between the Grand Union Canal and Friars Mill, and including Soar Island.

Funding available for the first phase includes £7.5milllion of Government cash from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) Local Growth Fund, and £2milllion of council capital set aside for the Leicester Economic Action Plan.

This will enable the city council to acquire land and property in the area and prepare sites for development.

The city council is also proposing two new office buildings – providing around 1,000sqm of accommodation – at Friars Mill. The disused 18th century mill complex on the banks of the River Soar is undergoing a £6.3milllion redevelopment to bring it back into use as a base for growing local businesses.

The council plans to construct the new office buildings to support regeneration in the area and the intention would be to sell or lease them – on commercial terms – on their completion. Subject to planning permission, work on the scheme could get underway in the autumn.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This marks an important next step in kick-starting the much-needed regeneration of Waterside.

“The area has suffered badly in recent decades, with the closure of key industries leaving many sites derelict, unused and ugly.

“The adoption of this new planning guidance, and the award of cash from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, will allow us to bring key development land into public ownership and set out the type of development we want to see in these areas.

“This will remove a great deal of risk for potential investors. It will also help us to find development partners that share our vision for Waterside as a thriving neighbourhood with great places to live and space for businesses to flourish.

“It’s our role to provide a catalyst for transformation of the area. The restoration of Friars Mill will stand as a beacon for regeneration in this area.

“Waterside has the potential to be the most exciting development opportunity in the East Midlands and is a major opportunity for the city’s growth.”

Once adopted as local planning policy, the Waterside SPD will help the city council encourage new development and attract further investment into the area and support bringing unused buildings or land back into use.

It will also set new guidelines for development in the area. This includes setting limits on the height of new buildings and types of new development, protecting the area’s heritage, green space and bio-diversity, improving the routes between the city centre and the riverside, and ensuring high standards of design in all new building.

A draft of the Waterside SPD was launched for public consultation earlier this year, giving members of the public, businesses and other stakeholders in the area a chance to comment on the proposals.

In total, around £20milllion of Government cash from the LLEP Local Growth Fund has been earmarked to kick-start the regeneration of Waterside.

A formal decision on the adoption of the Waterside SPD, the release of funding and the submission of related planning applications, is due to be made on Monday 10 August.

[Source: Leicester City Council]

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