John Lewis and Highcross back Leicester mayor's Jubilee Square plans
Two key opponents of the city's controversial Jubilee Square plan are now backing a revised version of the £4 million scheme.
As part of the consultation process, representatives of John Lewis and Highcross wrote to Leicester City Council urging it to rethink its plan to turn St Nicholas Place, at the far end of High Street, into a public space.
The plaza would replace a 50-space car park, taxi rank and the city's park-and-ride terminal.
Both the department store and the shopping centre said creating a square would increase congestion and cause major problems for customers.
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However, after revising the blueprints in response to feedback from the consultation, the council has now received their backing.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "The first round of the consultation has been enlightening and we've had a lot of very constructive feedback.
"Highcross and John Lewis have welcomed a quality public space, but they want to make sure people can still get into the shopping centre.
"Originally, the plans were to bring all the traffic in along Vaughan Way, but Highcross and John Lewis pointed out this could make it quite difficult for some of their customers.
"What we've done is allow some of the traffic to come in that way, but made alterations to allow vehicles along the edge of Jubilee Square, which were not in the plans before."
The public space would include lawns and seating, mature trees and a paved section where temporary ice rinks or Ferris wheels could be put up.
The project is part of the Connecting Leicester scheme, which aims to make all parts of the city easily accessible by pedestrians.
It includes removing a lane of traffic from the ring road and establishing so-called "super crossings" – similar to the one opposite the London Road railway station – so pedestrians can get to the historic sites more easily.
The companies' letters, sent in September, both said that in essence they supported the Jubilee Square scheme. But they opposed plans to alter access to the Highcross rooftop car park, in Freeschool Lane, by bringing all the traffic in along Vaughan Way, instead of some being able to come in via Highcross Street, as it does at present.
It said this would put extra pressure on the John Lewis car park, entered off Vaughan Way, and cause congestion on the ring road during peak times.
Jo Tallack, general manager at Highcross, said yesterday: "We're pleased we have been able to come to a mutual agreement on the access to the rooftop car park."
A spokeswoman for John Lewis said it was "generally supportive" of Jubilee Square and the wider Connecting Leicester developments.
However, she said the company was still seeking clarification to ensure the proposals would not cause congestion.
People can still give their views on the project until December 19.
www.citymayor.leicester.gov.uk/ welcome/connecting-leicester/ jubilee-square/