Business leaders says plans to pedestrianise the main route between Leicester station and the city centre will benefit the area as life slowly gets back to normal.
£900,000 from the LLEP’s Getting Building Fund allocation will be spent making Granby Street more welcoming for visitors coming into the city by train. The fund was awarded to the LLEP to support infrastructure projects which will create jobs and support economic recovery after the pandemic.
The work will see automated bollards at its key entry and exit points, changes to junctions, and improvements to cycle lanes and footpaths. Work is expected to begin this summer and take around nine months to complete.
Mukesh Patel is managing partner of Freeths law firm’s Leicester office, which is close to Granby Street.
He said: “We need to highlight the strengths of the city and whilst we have great areas like the Lanes and Highcross we do need to connect up the rest of the city better and in particular Granby Street which is looking somewhat unloved at the present time.
“Encouraging people to walk in a safe environment is also a real plus and hopefully it will encourage people to maintain their good habits from the last very difficult and extraordinary year.“
Leicester recruitment specialist Eileen Richards said: “It’s great to see Government funding being put to good use in supporting the economic recovery of Leicester.
“Granby Street is so important to the city in bringing visitors in from the railway station and as a thoroughfare to its centre.
“Businesses and residents have the opportunity now to learn more about alternative traffic flows and access to local businesses during the building process.
“However, the end result will be a project which brings jobs, improves access, and increases sustainable travel – as well as creating a more attractive public space at a key location for people who live and work in the city.”
Tim Emmony, the managing director of MNE Accounting in Leicester, also believes it is a good idea.
He said: “It’s a difficult walk from the city centre to the railway station currently and that’s mainly down to the number of vehicles making the road effectively two separate, parallel streets for pedestrians.
“Pedestrianising Granby Street would hopefully be the catalyst to bringing the road back to a higher end area like it used to be many decades ago.”
Alister de Ternant, MD at Associate Events in the city, said: “Leicester is changing rapidly and for those who have returned post pandemic – you will be astonished at the rate of development.
“The control of the core infrastructure of the city is crucial in catalysing the next phase of Leicester’s growth and many of our clients welcome these plans.
“Although developments will of course cause some temporary pain whilst also challenging the status quo, the pedestrianisation of areas such as Granby Street will allow for enhanced, better defined area, with far greater flexible use and identity.”
LLEP chair Kevin Harris said:
“Granby Street is the gateway to Leicester city centre: the first port of call for visitors to our city.
“I’m very pleased, therefore, that this project will help prioritise those visitors that make the journey via public transport and help us to meet our targets for sustainable travel and carbon reduction.
“These improvements to Leicester’s public realm will result in a better quality of life for Leicester’s residents, increased economic opportunity for local businesses, and increased access to the St George’s’ and Cultural Quarter areas, which are vibrant parts of the city centre and key to the local economy.”