On August 10th two members of Leicester Civic Society, Burt McNeill and Richard Allsop, visited the Corah factory site along with the City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, and representatives of the developers GallifordTry and CityRegen Leicester, to assess the viability of the Corah factory site for future adaptation. It was clear that everyone wanted to see a worthwhile regeneration take place.
The developers explained to us some of the challenges involved to convert the existing industrial buildings (specifically the Horseshoe Building facing Burley’s Way) into practical living spaces. Challenges that are far from impossible to overcome, but which would involve significant additional expense, which the developer’s claim would make the redevelopment as a whole unviable.
We believe that the serious harm demolition of these buildings would cause to the historic character and distinctiveness of Leicester could be stopped if an agreement could be found whereby the council had a financial stake in the regeneration so that the iconic factory buildings could be retained and repurposed into high-quality apartments – as in countless examples across the country – and contribute a lasting record of the city’s historic hosiery industry. Thus, creating a heritage-led regeneration in line with the government’s current agenda and of the kind encouraged in the council’s Core Strategy on the Historic Environment (CS Policy 18).
We have now written to the mayor asking if a solution along these lines could be achieved. We know that plans already exist, commissioned by the developers, which incorporate the site’s more robust buildings. Seemingly they also recognised that this type of redevelopment could provide the ideal outcome.