The Corah factory site is probably the most important large-scale development opportunity that has emerged in Leicester for many years. It is vital that we get it right, but Leicester Civic Society believes the plans put forward by Cityregen Leicester and Galliford Try Investments fall short of the mark.

It is not just the scale of the site (over seven and a half acres), but its proximity to Leicester city centre and the fact it is “Corah’s”, a giant of British knitwear manufacturing which during its 1960s heyday employed over 6,000 local people, that make it so special. 

The Cityregen/Galliford proposals repeatedly reference the heritage of the place, this ’treasured landmark’, and yet the only parts of Corah that will remain will be the facade of the internal textile building and two chimneys – everything else will be torn down. It will probably be the biggest mass demolition witnessed in Leicester since the terraced housing clearances of the 1960s and 1970s, wiping away the magnificent main factory buildings that face St John Street and Burleys Way. Attractive, spacious, four-storey red-brick, industrial buildings with grand windows that have been converted into desirable apartments across the country; they are in robust condition and good for another century at least. It’s like putting to sleep a healthy animal. Cityregen/Galliford intends to replace these solid existing buildings with a number of seven-storey residential blocks and an 18-storey residential tower, the focus seemingly on high density. 

In Leicester, we have a proud industrial past that is hugely important and worth celebrating. Much of our industrial heritage has already been lost and the rejuvenation of the Corah site is an amazing opportunity for our city, in a place so significant in memory, it should be a fitting development that will be loved and lasting.

Leicester Civic Society is determined to preserve and celebrate Leicester’s industrial heritage and would welcome people opposed to its further destruction to join us in our campaign to fight this plan. Details on our website here https://leicestercivicsociety.org.uk/join-us/ The planning application 20220709 can be viewed here and where there is also a Comments link  https://planning.leicester.gov.uk/Planning/Display/20220709

A Tragic End for a Once Great Leicester Institution?

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