LEICESTER City Council is set to invest almost £3milllion in a major highway improvement scheme that will play a key role in the Waterside regeneration plans.
The scheme will see the creation of a new super crossing on Vaughan Way, along with other highway improvements designed to improve the link between the city centre and the Waterside.
Although funded by the city council, the work would be carried out by local developer Charles Street Buildings as part of a major £50milllion development it has planned for derelict land opposite Highcross.
Two new hotels will be built alongside 30,000sqft of new office space, a restored former Great Central Railway station and a new public area to be known as Great Central Square, which Charles Street Buildings will pay for.
As part of a development agreement with Charles Street Buildings, the city council will provide funding of up to £2.4million for the new super crossing and associated highway works on Great Central Street. Charles Street Buildings will also meet part of the costs of highway works.
The new crossing will be built close to the Highcross Street Vaughan Way junction and will allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross the whole road in one go rather than stopping on a central reservation.
An additional £500,000 will pay for further cycleway and footpath improvements between Great Central Street and Soar Lane.
The work represents the latest phase of the Connecting Leicester programme, which is creating safer and more attractive routes for pedestrians and cyclists linking many of the city centre’s main attractions.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Charles Street Buildings have put forward a very exciting proposal for this long disused plot of land. The planned hotel complex will help transform this rather grotty area and help create a really attractive gateway into the Waterside area.
“As it stands, getting across the ring road is a major barrier for pedestrians and motorists. The proposed scheme presents an opportunity to address that and, at the same time, improve the route out from the city centre into the Waterside area with more attractive footways and a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.”
Joseph Murphy, Charles Street Buildings director, said: “We are now looking forward to progressing our ambitious development plans for this important site. This includes the creation of two new 4-star hotels and one of the largest local office developments in the last 20 years, along with a major refurbishment to bring new life to the historic former Great Central Station building.
“A new super crossing that will allow people to cross Vaughan Way in one go is key to the success of this development. We have had an excellent working relationship with the city council and are delighted that we have been able to agree on a method to remove the impediment of the ring road from the delivery of a landmark development for the benefit of the whole city centre.”
A final decision on the proposed funding for the Vaughan Way super crossing and associated highways improvements is due to be taken by the City Mayor on Tuesday 21 November.