Old Silver Arcade offices will become student flats
Former offices in a historic shopping arcade are set to be converted into student flats.
Officers at the city council have approved plans to turn the upper floors of a section of the Silver Arcade in Cank Street and Market Place into 11 student apartments.
Owner Jas Kainth's plans concern the 1920s extension opposite the well-known Grade II listed Victorian arcade, in Silver Street.
Planners at the council approved the plans for two three-bed, six two-bed, one one-bed and two studio flats.
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In a statement submitted to the council, the developer said the buildings were currently in "some disrepair" and had become home to pigeons.
"The upper floors have use for offices but have been vacant for more than four years," the statement said. "During this time the building has fell into some disrepair and has problems with pigeons.
"It's our intention to bring the building up to a liveable standards and make the place a vibrant and exciting place to reside for students."
Nobody officially objected to the plans, so they were approved by officers, not the planning committee.
In the approval document, Mike Richardson, head of planning at the city council, said the revamp must begin within the next three years and cycle parking should be installed within the next six months.
Some shoppers in the area applauded the development, while others had concerns about more student accommodation.
Sonja Greenhow, 35, a pension adviser, from South Knighton, Leicester said: "It would be a waste of space not to use it.
"Commercial lettings at the moment is difficult. I would have preferred to live in the city when I was a student as I had to walk two miles to university."
Sam Parkinson, 21, a student from Rowley Fields, Leicester, said: "It would be too nice to be student accommodation because students would just ruin it.
"There is plenty of student accommodation. The space should be used for nice shops."
Deana Johnson, 41, a finance administrator, from Aylestone, Leicester, said: "I think it is a bad idea. It would love to see one-off unusual retro boutiques. This would attract nicer people to the area. There are enough students here."
The Mercury was unable to contact Mr Kainth for a comment.
The other section of the arcade is being renovated by owners Lukegate.
The four-storey shopping arcade, which once housed small independent retailers, was due to be ready for Christmas, but opening has been delayed until Easter next year.
The revamp includes shops, a restaurant, a bar, and space for shops across the bottom three floors.