Plans for a multi-million pound regeneration of Leicester’s Waterside have been unveiled by Leicester’s City Mayor.
The 15 year plan sets out to transform the 60-hectare area around the River Soar and Frog Island and provide high quality housing, business developments, as well as improvements along the A50, including better routes for pedestrians and cyclists, on-street parking, new shops and offices and new tree planting.
The £26 million regeneration will also try to develop Soar island as a unique city centre destination to help encourage more public access to the waterfront while also protecting the area as a valuable wildlife habitat.
A draft planning document that will guide development and regeneration in a is due to be released for public consultation.
Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said, “Waterside has the potential to be one of the most exciting large-scale regeneration opportunities in the East Midlands.
“We have an ambitious long-term vision to transform Waterside into a thriving neighbourhood with great places to live, space for businesses to flourish and attractive links between the riverside and the city centre.
“By setting out a clear framework for that vision, we can focus on the opportunities that we want to realise and make the area more attractive to private developers as investment opportunities”
The proposed waterside area is bordered by a stretch of the River Soar to the west and the A6 St Margaret’s Way to the east. It includes the A50 and neighbouring streets in Frog Island, and is adjacent to Highcross Shopping Centre and Jubilee Square to the south.
Around £26.5milllion of funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and city council capital has already been earmarked to kick-start regeneration in the area.
Work is already underway to convert Friars Mill into a £6 million business workspace. The city council project managed to secure around £4million from the European Regional Development Fund.
Leicester city council hopes that if the waterside planning document is adopted, it will help encourage new development and attract further investment into the area by giving the authority more power to bring unused buildings or land back into use.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby added, “Over the decades, the Waterside area has suffered badly through the closure of key industries. This has left many sites derelict, unused and ugly. Taken together, this creates a very negative impression of this important gateway into the city.
“I am confident that with the right development partners, the regeneration of Waterside could be the biggest transformation Leicester has seen since we breathed new life into Bede Island with City Challenge in the 1990s.
“The draft Waterside SPD will be our first opportunity to share our vision with the public as we begin consultation on the principles that will guide the area’s future economic and physical regeneration.”
A six week consultation starts on Friday, January 16.