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Work under way on new market square

Published on 10 August 2016

WORK to create a new public space on the site of Leicester’s old indoor market is now under way – and the £1.6million scheme could be largely complete by the end of the year.

High quality materials will be used to create the square, with porphyry setts and pavers echoing recently-completed schemes in Jubilee Square and Cathedral Gardens, and new trees bringing colour and interest to the space.

As part of the scheme, a new terrace overlooking the square will be created at the rear of a fully-refurbished Molly O’Grady’s – and new eating and drinking opportunities are planned for in and around the square.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This new public space will become a destination for visitors and residents alike.

“It will be a place to meet up with friends, to enjoy a drink, or to sit down for a meal – and it will also provide an important new space for live performance, festivals and events, and temporary specialist markets.

“I also believe that it will change the way people move around our city centre, increasing footfall around Leicester’s historic outdoor market and encouraging further investment in this area.”

Proposals for the rear of the Corn Exchange – which will form the backdrop to the new square – are also being developed.

The upper floor of the Grade II* listed building, which has been revealed by the demolition of the old indoor market, will be reinstated – while essential mechanical and electrical equipment at the rear of the building would be concealed by a new stone façade.

The main body of the façade would be rendered to complement the Corn Exchange, creating a space that could be used as a screen.

Projections onto the screen would help animate the area and could provide a backdrop for live performances and special events taking place in the square.

New block seating would be incorporated into the base of the façade, which would be skirted with porphyry to help connect it to the new square.

Subject to planning permission and listed building consent, work to reinstate the rear of the Corn Exchange could get under way in 2017.

Work on the new square, however, is already under way, with the site now being prepared for its porphyry paving. Essential works to divert utility services are now complete – and the drainage infrastructure for the new square will be in place by the end of August.

Contractors North Midland Construction PLC (NM Group) are working closely with local traders to ensure that the outdoor market, food hall, JD Wetherspoons, and all other businesses surrounding the marketplace continue to operate normally throughout the works.

Managing director of the highways division at NM Group Geoff Poyzer said:  “We are delighted to be delivering the Leicester Markets project, which will add to our large portfolio of prestigious public realm schemes.

“Stakeholder management and liaison will be key to ensuring the success of the project, and we’ll be doing all we can to make sure that trading continues as normal for local businesses throughout the works.”

Any queries about the work on the new square should be directed to Stuart Bell at NM Group on 07970 136 551.  

The market square and Corn Exchange works will be funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund.