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.
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 we have delivered
In 2015, Friars Mill was completed and opened as managed workspace, following a £7.5m refurbishment, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. This was a significant first investment in the Waterside area, regenerating confidence and further private sector investment.
In 2015 we also secured £20m from the Local Growth Fund to enable us to kick start the first phase of Waterside development. This has resulted in the purchase of a 17 acre site, through both negotiation, relocation of existing businesses, and ultimately the use of compulsory purchase powers. A development partner, Keepmoat, have been appointed. Over the next 4 years they will deliver 350 new homes, including both family housing, apartments, and extra care units, plus almost 5,500 square metres of new offices, green space, high quality public realm and new canal side access and paths.
A new primary school also has planning approval on Fosse Road North, this will replace the existing Slater Street and Fosse Primary schools, and also provide capacity for a growing Waterside community.
Investment in upgraded towpaths and new moorings at Friars Mill are also contributing to an enhanced and more accessible rivers and canal side environment.
Increased confidence in the Waterside area, as a result of public sector investment has acted as a catalyst for private sector investment. A number of recent planning approvals will see the development of sites which have until now remained undeveloped for many years, this will see more homes delivered in the Waterside area.
I will be looking at other opportunities where public sector intervention is required to help to bring forward development, and further grow what I expect to become a thriving new residential community close to the city centre.