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New Look For City’s Old Town Taking Shape

applegate

New Look For City’s Old Town Taking Shape

Final touches are being made to a major revamp of the area around Leicester’s best-preserved medieval house.

Work to reconstruct and upgrade Applegate will be complete this week, with the installation of its final bins and benches.

The improvements to the historic street were designed to create a more attractive to approach Wygston’s House – the timber-framed building that has stood on the site since the 15th century.

Applegate itself has been relaid with high quality porphyry stone and granite blocks, with many of the cobbles that were lifted as part the scheme reused as decorative detail.

A row of ten semi-mature hornbeam and oak trees has been planted along the street. New seating, lighting and litter bins have also been installed to further enhance the look and feel of the street.

The work is part of the wider Connecting Leicester programme and will form part of a pedestrian-friendly route that the city council is creating to link all of Leicester’s heritage attractions.

The city council has also completed work to reconstruct the footpaths and carriageway on Guildhall Lane, home to the city’s medieval Guildhall. Footpaths have been improved with high-quality pink and grey block paving, and the carriageway has been raised and finished in dark red asphalt with contrasting granite blocks replacing the traditional raised kerb.

Materials used on the Guildhall Lane scheme match those used in the recent revamp of Silver Street, creating a strong visual link between the two streets and help to make a more attractive pedestrian route to Applegate, Jubilee Square and the Cathedral Quarter.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Completing the improvement work on Applegate and Guildhall Lane marks a milestone for Connecting Leicester programme.

“Wygston’s House and The Guildhall now have the sort of settings that these important and fascinating historical buildings deserve. The quality of the work has helped create a much more attractive route for pedestrians, helping to reconnect this part of the city’s Old Town with our main shopping centre.

“It also provides a tantalising taste of what people can look forward to when work to create Jubilee Square and Cathedral Gardens is complete.

“The schemes have been carefully designed to complement each other. Taken together, they will help transform this part of the city centre and help give it a real boost.”

Rev Pete Hobson, Canon Missioner at Leicester Cathedral, said: “It is a pleasure to see the historic streets flanking two sides of the newly-designated Cathedral Quarter restored to such an attractive finish.

“It serves to highlight the impressive main entrance from Applegate to Wyggeston Hospital Boys School, which now serves the diocese and city as St Martins House.

“These developments will all play their part in helping bring people back to this historic part of our city and, possibly, in encouraging some to discover its attractions for the first time.”

People will have the chance to find out more about the history of Wygston’s House and its location as part the next heritage open day which takes place on Sunday, 23 February. The building will be open for people to explore from 11am to 3pm.

As part of the event, there will be a guided tour led by an expert guide beginning at 1pm. Places can be booked at the Visit Leicester Centre in Gallowtree Gate, or online at www.visitleicester.info

As well as the changes there is also a new car park which will offer seven dedicated spaces for Blue Badge holders is due to open on Carey’s Close, alongside Applegate, in March.