A £1.9million project is to start which will connect the Golden Mile, a traditionally largely underinvested area of the city, and the Leicester city centre. The Golden Mile spans the length of Belgrave Road through to Melton Road with the Golden Mile coming to an end around Down Street/Canon Street. The work will begin along Belgrave Gate, from the new Haymarket Bus Station to Belgrave Circle on Monday 16th July.
Leicester City Council is planning to create a more attractive and safer route for cyclists and pedestrians with recent consultations taking place where local traders voted to reduce the number of lanes on the golden mile to two instead of three. Overall, this will make the area more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing but obviously, this may come at the cost of slightly more congestion but the project has a high approval amongst locals nonetheless.
The project will involve the creation of new cycle lanes which will be set away from the pedestrian area on either side of Belgrave Gate running between Abbey Street and Burleys Way, where the flyover is. The footpaths will also be reconstructed and the pedestrian crossing will be upgraded with new trees planted.
After the recent vote from local traders in Belgrave, which is where Leicester Property Insight is based, it has been decided that the road will be narrowed to allow for just two lanes, one going in either direction with new bus stops which we expect will allow buses to pull in rather than having to park along the main Melton Road/Belgrave Road bus route blocking traffic in both directions when they do so. The bus route will also be extended to Wilton Street. Loading bays will also be installed in the area to reduce the number of vehicles parking dangerously, especially near the Loughborough Road junction.
To further reduce congestion in the area, existing parking bays will be removed and replaced with more street parking on the side streets of Belgrave Road and Melton Road.
The road will be kept open in both directions during the works to keep disruption to a minimum with the first phase of the work taking around seven months, taking a break over the Christmas period to allow for the excess traffic Melton Road and Belgrave receive going into and out of Leicester city centre. The work will begin again in the new year.
In April 2019, the second phase of work will begin which will oversee the makeover of Burleys Way roundabout with improvements to the general infrastructure. A new shared footpath and cycle route (similar to the Belgrave Circle, the roundabout between Leicester College’s Abbey Park campus and B&M) and running below the flyover into the city centre providing a direct and safer route along Belgrave Gate. This will then lead onto a separate cycleway and footpath and linking Belgrave Circle which had a large amount of investment paid into it following the demolition of the Belgrave Gate flyover which provided a fast and efficient route into the Golden Mile bypassing several red lights in the day where cars were all the range.
The scheme is mostly funded through the Local Growth Fund, a £12billion budget provided by the government which is given to Local Enterprise Partnerships (including LLEP, Leicester Local Enterprise Partnership) after they bid for an award to cover the cost of development plans. You may have guessed that the plans submitted for the Local Growth Fund are the Connecting Leicester programme, a brainchild of Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester Mayor, and the Leicester & Leicestershire 2050: Vision for Growth which is intended to connect Leicester and the underinvested areas of the county. In April 2017, LLEP were granted £25.87million from the fund for the above projects, plus further improvements to M1/J23 and A512.
City mayor Peter Soulsby said:
This latest phase of the Connecting Leicester programme will create a much more attractive route from the city centre out to The Golden Mile… It will provide a safer space for cyclists on this busy route, adding to the growing network of new cycleways in and around the city centre and linking to nearby neighbourhoods. The later phase of work will also see better use being made of space under the Burleys Way flyover, which will be much more inviting to for pedestrians and cyclists. These important works are part of a much wider ambition which will see the area around the Haymarket Theatre and Clock Tower completely revamped.
Soulsby also mentioned in his statement about the bridge connecting Abbey Park and Charter Lane allowing for more convenient access to the Golden Mile and the city centre without having to cut through Abbey Park (on foot) and coming through the back of the run-down area of St Margarets near the Leicester College Campus or down Abbey Lane (by car) and into the city centre via the bus station.
Local traders and visitors to the area have long complained of the area being underinvested and generally holding the city back from its full potential. Melton Road and Belgrave Road form one of the busiest stretches of roads into the city centre including St Margarets Way, Narborough Road, Welford Road, London Road and Humberstone Road and forms one of the most culturally diverse areas of Europe, regularly winning awards attesting to that fact.
They’re now feeling positive about the upcoming changes and expect more investment to be seen further down Melton Road. Homeowners are also feeling positive about the local changes and investment in the area. It is expected that the investment will have a positive impact on house prices in the area bringing the average price of Leicester terraced homes up with terraced houses making up the majority of the Belgrave housing stock.
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