Architects given green light for square designs
Architects have been asked draw up detailed designs for a new public square in Leicester following a two-month consultation.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby wants to create a £4 million Jubilee Square plaza at St Nicholas' Place, where a 50-space car park and the city's park-and-ride hub sits.
The city council has held a series of roadshows about the scheme, many of which were attended by the mayor himself, as part of a two-month consultation, which ended on Friday.
More than 300 people and organisations responded. While the council has yet to process all the feedback, Sir Peter said he wanted to press on with the project.
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He said the consultation was more to look at how the scheme should proceed, rather than if it should be done.
Jubilee Square is part of a wider £19 million plan which aims to better connect Leicester's historic sites to the west of the city with its more modern retail streets.
He said: "The people I spoke to were, once they understood what lay behind it, very enthusiastic.
"It's the historic heart of Leicester but only in Leicester would we be stupid enough to bury it under a car park.
"We have already asked architects to do detailed designs.
"They should be available later in the year and will be subject to further consultation."
Sir Peter said concerns had been raised about the loss of parking – particularly disabled spaces – which exist at the moment, and what would happen to the park-and-ride hub.
He also said Highcross shopping centre bosses had sought assurances Jubilee Square would not affect access to their car parks.
When asked by the Mercury where, or if, replacement spaces would be found, Sir Peter said: "There is also a significant amount of other parking in the are.
"Although 50 spaces are important, they are only a very small proportion of the spaces in the area."
A report outlining the responses to the scheme will be published in due course.
Sir Peter said he was encouraged by the overwhelming support of the idea shown by the response of the Leicester Civic Society for the proposals.
Civic society chairman Stuart Bailey said: "We are wholeheartedly behind Jubilee Square. It's a very exciting initiative."
Chairman of the Leicester Retail Forum Peter Wilkinson said: "Broadly speaking, we are supportive of the proposals and we support the financial commitment given to improve the economic viability of the city centre.
"However the devil is always in the detail and that is for the next stage."
A further consultation on the £19 million Connecting Leicester project continues until the end of the month.
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