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Plans to be drawn up for Golden Mile revamp

Residents and businesses will be asked to contribute to the development of proposals for improvements to Leicester’s Golden Mile.

Leicester City Council is considering how the busy area could be improved for traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, and what should be done to make it safer and more attractive as a retail and commercial centre.

Issues such as traffic congestion, poor air quality, too many traffic lights, narrow pavements and difficult access for pedestrians and cyclists have been identified as problems by the Golden Mile Regeneration Group, which includes Leicester City Council, local residents and business representatives.

The city council will now work with Birmingham-based independent transport planning consultancy Phil Jones Associates and architecture charity Opun Design East Midlands to draw up plans for a major revamp of the Golden Mile.

Local businesses and residents will be asked for their initial views, ideas and comments on the proposals as they develop over the next few months.

Meetings with the Golden Mile Regeneration Group, emergency services, local access groups and other interested parties will take place over the coming weeks. Public consultation events, which will include workshops and exhibitions, are planned for December and February.

The city council has already held a number of public events in the Belgrave area to introduce the concept of ‘shared spaces’. Feedback from this exercise was that people wanted to consider other options alongside this.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “There is no doubt that the Golden Mile suffers as a result of the dominance of traffic in the area. It is noisy and often congested which makes it difficult for pedestrians, especially elderly or disabled people, to cross. Air quality along the road is also often poor.

“We need to find a way of redressing this imbalance. It is a very important route into the city, but that needs to be balanced against the benefits of making the whole area more pleasant for businesses, residents and visitors.

“Over the coming months, we will be looking at a range of options and inviting views and ideas from people who live, work and visit the area. These will play an important role in how plans to improve the area will develop."

Phil Jones Associates are among the UK’s leading independent transport planning specialists. Along with advising on major development schemes throughout the UK, the company has been involved in the preparation of national-level design guidance, including Manual for Streets 1 and 2, Designing Streets for the Scottish Government and residential parking research for DCLG. They have also provided advice to Transport for London on its cycling strategy.

Annabel Keegan, principal consultant at Phil Jones Associates, said: "We are very excited to have been appointed by Leicester City Council to undertake this key project. The Golden Mile is a fantastic asset to the city, and is home to a wonderful selection of shops and restaurants and attracts people from all over the UK.

"It is also traffic dominated and congested. Over the next few months we look forward to working with local businesses and residents to discuss their views and concerns, and to develop design ideas to redress this balance and improve the area."

Melton Mowbray-based architecture charity Opun is the home of the East Midlands Design Review Panel. The charity provides an independent voice in the promotion of quality design in the built environment, with an emphasis on community engagement.

Julie Tanner, chief executive of Opun, said: “The Golden Mile is an exciting and inspiring place and we are pleased to be working with the local community to capture their thoughts and aspirations for the area.”

Full details of the public consultation on plans to revamp the Golden Mile will be publicised nearer the time.

Last updated September 2015