Play park plan for Leicester city centre
The city centre's first public playground is being proposed in an effort to make the middle of Leicester more family friendly.
A patch of land including a paved area with seating in St George Street, opposite the Leicester Mercury building, has been earmarked for a £45,000 redevelopment.
Leicester City Council wants to turn it into a playground and install play equipment for children aged two to six.
Castle ward councillor Patrick Kitterick has been pushing for a play area, next to St George's churchyard, to be established for some time.
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He said: "In the city centre, there really are not a lot of green spaces. That is one of them but it is under utilised.
"There are also more families with young children living in the St George's area than you would think.
"There are three nurseries that are very close by which could use it."
In the past, the area has been used by street drinkers but Coun Kitterick said he thought they would move away when the play area was running.
He said: "There are a couple of individuals who go there, but in my experience of dealing with street drinkers they are not confrontational. They will go somewhere else."
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: "In the city centre there are no other play areas. This will be the first.
"I hope it will be used by families, as well as visitors. We want to make it a more family-friendly city centre.
"In other cities, where there are lots of apartments, you often see small parks tucked away and that is what we are hoping for."
The mayor said he wanted the project to be funded from money paid by developers in return for being granted planning permission.
There are 13 trees in the proposed play area.
A city council spokeswoman said one of them would have to be felled to allow the play equipment to be put in.
She said: "That one is currently in poor health. The others will be kept but some of them may have to be cut back a bit."
The police have welcomed the proposed play area.
City centre police commander Chris Cockerill said: "I think it's a fantastic idea.
"There have been some reports of anti-social behaviour but the area is not blighted by it.
"It's a lovely area and I think it would make great playground."
The city council's own planning officers are considering the scheme.