The first phase of a £8.5m project to transform Leicester city centre is to start next week.
Leicester City Council plans to revamp a stretch of Church Gate, between Vaughan Way and Mansfield Street, as part of the ongoing Connecting Leicester project.
The existing footways and carriageway will be reconstructed in high quality materials, similar to those used on other recent city centre improvement schemes, and a contraflow cycle lane will be created.
A short stretch of Gravel Street, between Church Gate and New Road, will also be improved.
The work is expected to take around six months to complete.
Road closures will be required during the works, which will be carried out in two sections to help minimise disruption. Initially, the stretch of Church Gate from Vaughan Way to just past its junction with Gravel Street will be closed to traffic. Diversions will be clearly signed.
The work marks the first phase of a planned major scheme that will transform the area around Leicester’s Clock Tower, removing the buses and upgrading the environment on Church Gate and Belgrave Gate/Haymarket.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This new investment in Church Gate will make a tremendous difference to this popular shopping street.
“Reconstructing the footpaths and carriageway will help dramatically improve the look and feel of the area.
“But this is just the first phase of a much more ambitious vision to transform and improve this part of the city centre, creating a traffic-free and much more attractive environment for pedestrians, businesses and potential investors.
“It is vital that we continue to invest in regenerating the city centre, to create safer and more attractive routes and ensure that it continues to prosper as a place that people want to visit and explore.”
The proposed improvements to the Clock Tower area – which will cost around £8.5million – will be supported by £6milllion from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, with the remaining £2.5million met by Section 106 contributions expected from the Castle Acres retail park development.
The council is also planning to create a new road linking Belgrave Gate with Mansfield Street to provide a quick route out of the city centre for buses leaving Haymarket Bus Station. Together with an upgraded Sandacre Street, the new road would form a new pedestrian route between the Haymarket and St Margaret’s bus stations. It would also remove the need for buses to use Church Gate.
The Connecting Leicester project is improving routes through the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists, while making it more attractive to investors and developers.