Transforming the Waterside
My vision for the waterside is to attract new investment to create a vibrant and thriving new neighbourhood with new homes and new work spaces which make the most of our waterways and open up opportunities for many people in the city.
Leicester waterside is a hidden gem. The area is located to the north west of the city centre between the A6 and Rally Park and contains the river soar and Grand Union Canal.
These waterways are an underused and often under–appreciated asset, cut off from the rest of the city by historical industrial development, some of this area suffers from high levels of vacancy and dereliction. The poor appearance and lack of investment in sites in this area makes a poor ‘front door’ for visitors to our city.
The regeneration of the Waterside is an opportunity to turn the area around, bring in new investment and create a vibrant and thriving neighbourhood with new homes and new workspaces. The project will make the most of the City’s waterways and open up opportunities for many more people to enjoy them.
My vision for the Waterside area is:
- A thriving neighbourhood offering a unique and vibrant place to live and space for local businesses to flourish.
- A place that reconnects Leicester to its waterfront, bringing opportunities for leisure and wildlife.
- A place where people feel safe and comfortable to walk and cycle.
- A place where the streets and homes are built to high standards of design and sustainability.
- A confident place which values its history while embracing the future.
What happens next?
Last year we received £25 million of funding over five years to help kick-start development and we are now moving ahead with plans to regenerate the Waterside area. This will see around 300 new homes, new offices, shops, green space and canal-side paths.
Around half of the new homes will be town houses and the rest will be flats. A series of new public squares and play spaces will be integrated into the streets to provide a connection between homes and waterways. These proposals will help create a range of new leisure opportunities for walking, cycling and boating.
Purchasing the land
We submitted our plans for the area in May 2015, and were granted planning permission last December.
Due to constraints on the site, development must take place in phases, and in a comprehensive manner. Different parts of the site are owned by different landlords. The funding we have received is to acquire and prepare site. However, it’s unlikely we’d be able to negotiate individual sales on all properties in a reasonable period.
For these reasons, a resolution for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) was made in April. This was the first step in making the CPO order. We have been negotiating with affected landowners since June 2015, and now own 80% of the site through voluntary agreements.
When will the CPO come into effect?
We feel that it is now the right time to make the CPO. Once the order has been made, the timescales are out of our hands. However below is a rough timescale:
|Stage||Approximate timing/stage completion|
|Submission of CPO to the Planning Introspectorate for confirmation||November 2016|
|CPO public inquiry||May 2017|
|CPO decision||August 2017|
|Acquisition and vacant possession of full site||December 2017|
Who will develop the site?
We have been working to secure a development partner for the past year. After a full tender process, we have selected Keepmoat Ltd, a nationally-recognised development firm, to deliver the project.