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City Mayor Outlines Options for Frog Island Makeover

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City Mayor Outlines Options for Frog Island Makeover

Leicester’s City Mayor will present options to give a rundown route into the city a makeover to a meeting of local residents and businesses.

As part of a presentation outlining the long term vision for the regeneration of the city’s Waterside area, City Mayor Peter Soulsby will set out options to improve 10 grot spots and areas of derelict land along the A50 route through Frog Island and Woodgate.

The proposals are for improvements that can be made quickly and at relatively little cost. They include options to replace poor quality or damaged hoardings, commission new artwork to brighten up the area, and sow wildflowers to make untidy verges and vacant sites more attractive.

The City Mayor will also introduce proposals kick-start regeneration of the wider Waterside area bring disused factories and wasteland along the River Soar and Grand Union Canal back into use.

Work to redevelop the fire–damaged Friars Mill is due to begin in July, boosted by £3.9 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

The city council is also working on new planning and development guidance for the Waterside area. This would help the city council encourage new development and give the authority more power to take action, where appropriate, to bring unused buildings or land back into use. The draft planning guidance will be subject to public consultation this summer.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The redevelopment of Friars Mill will be a powerful beacon to remind people of the enormous regeneration potential in this area. It is important that we are seen to be leading the way by making a real difference to this area.

“Over decades the area has suffered with the closure of key industries. This has resulted in a handful of derelict and unattractive sites that, taken together, create a very negative impression of this area.”

“While we have an ambitious long term vision for the area, what we need to do now is take steps that will quickly improve the environment for the people that live or work in this area, and for the thousands more who pass along this busy route every day.”

The plans for Waterside have been welcomed by Keith Bastian, Managing Director of Fischer Future Heat UK. The company is based at North Mills, alongside The River Soar and Grand Union Canal, also owns The Old Mill Race, which it intends to clear to restore the connection with the canal. The company’s recent expansion has also seen it acquire additional premises, also adjoining The River Soar.

Mr Bastian said: “Our modern offices are in an ideal location in the heart of the city with a wonderful natural habitat. Employees find the working environment very pleasing and accessible to public transport. Isn’t it nice to look out of your window and watch the wildlife and the view rather than overlooking a car park? The surroundings have surpassed our expectations in creating a unique area to work, which is supported by our many visitors to the office.

“We look forward to contributing to the re-generation of the area.”

Local residents and businesses will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals to improve untidy areas along the A50 through Frog Island, and the wider plans to regenerate the area, at the next Fosse community meeting on Wednesday, 19 February.

These proposals will also be discussed at the council’s Economic Development Scrutiny Commission on Thursday, 20 February.

The options include putting up new or replacement hoardings at six sites, including the former Premier Screw site on Woodgate, land on the junction of Soar Lane and Sanvey Gate and a large area of land by the North Bridge of the River Soar.

The city council is also considering creating wildflower meadows on the site of the former Pretty Legs factory and at the junction of Highcross Street and Vaughan. Options to tarmac over scrubland will also be considered.

An empty building, which has suffered from vandalism, could be brought to life with specially commissioned artwork for its large period windows.

The city council will begin work next month to declutter the route by removing around 40 redundant signs and over 20 posts that are no longer needed from the highway.

Local landowners and businesses are being approached by the council to assist with this clean up project.

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