Plans for office district near to Leicester railway station are shelved
Plans to create a major office district close to Leicester railway station aimed at attracting hundreds of jobs have been shelved.
Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said setting up an office quarter in and around St George's Way was no longer a priority.
Instead, the mayor has backed proposals to develop high-quality offices on two plots of land on the other side of city, in Vaughan Way.
It comes after a study set up by Sir Peter identified sites which could be built on much sooner.
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An office quarter close to the station formed a key part of the city's regeneration masterplan when it was launched 10 years ago.
However, the presence of the St George's Blue Tower and the Royal Mail sorting depot have held back re-development.
Sir Peter said: "I believe the council has been too restrictive in trying to direct office development into a particular part of the city in a way that means opportunities could have been missed.
"We have seen too much concentration on that area.
"However, the area around the train station still has enormous prospects, simply because businesses say access to the Midland Mainline is a major attraction."
The two plots in Vaughan Way – one near its junction with Great Central Street and the other at the junction with Highcross Street – are jointly owned by developers Sowden Group, of Leicester, and Loughborough's William Davis.
The study, carried out by property professionals, found the two sites, as well as Leicester Science Park, off Abbey Lane, should be priorities when it came to creating new office space in the city.
"What was interesting is that people who have a stake in some of the land are very positive about the prospects for development," said Sir Peter. "They are the ones who have to judge what the market forces are in Leicester."
The focus on Vaughan Way brought some concern from business leaders at an event to reveal the findings of the study, held at the city's Colton Square.
Speaking at the event, Duncan Green, partner at architecture firm Pick Everard, in Charles Street, Leicester, said: "These sites are on the wrong side of the ring road. Access to the station is very important."