Plan to extend New Walk into heart of Leicester could get under way soon
The plan to extend New Walk to the historic heart of the city could get under way within a couple of months.
The first phase will be closing the top of King Street to traffic so people can walk to the end of New Walk at the junction of Welford Road and Newarke Street.
At a later date, the Victorian promenade will be extended all the way to the 15th century Magazine Gateway.
After consultation on the King Street plan, the bollards could be put in place early next year, with a proper makeover for the King Street crossing being completed when the crumbling New Walk Centre is replaced in the near future.
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The plan is part of Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby's Connecting Leicester project and he expects few complaints about this first stage.
He said: "Closing the top of King Street is one of the quick ones of the Connecting Leicester project.
"There's a very straightforward alternative for traffic to get from King Street on to Welford Road by going along Marlborough Street.
"The first stage is putting bollards on the road to make it a pedestrianised area and how we treat the area ultimately depends on the design of the New Walk Centre's replacement.
"I want to extend the New Walk experience beyond there as well."
He said the next phase – along Newarke Street – would probably involve reducing the number of lanes and creating a wide walkway beside the road.
He said: "Newarke Street is a wide road and cars race down there before braking sharply for the turn into Welford Road.
"There's the possibility of using some of the road to create a wider pavement."
Members of the public in New Walk on Saturday were broadly in favour of the idea of extending the pathway.
Jan Dawson, 73, who lives in nearby Regent Road, said: "I rather approve of most of Sir Peter Soulsby's ideas. I used to work at the New Walk Museum and I like New Walk a lot. I think extending it would be a good idea."
Mark Weston, 39, of Westcotes, Leicester, said: "It's going to make it nicer for pedestrians, so that's good, but I think it's only going to scrape the surface. I'd like to see much more of the city centre pedestrianised."
Lucy Geary, 45, of Wigston, said: "It's an okay idea but I'm worried that if the Government has no money, are we going to end up paying higher council tax?"
Consultation on the King Street proposal continues until January 3 and a decision is expected a few days later. The work would start straight away.
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