Leicester Civic Society supports the new proposals for Leicester’s historic marketplace

Leicester Civic Society supports the new regeneration plans for Leicester’s historic marketplace. As an organization dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of our city’s rich heritage and vibrant community life, we believe the new plan to open up our marketplace will bring enormous benefits to residents, businesses, and visitors alike. We recognise that the changes proposed may appear like a bombshell to many but believe with consideration such changes make enormous sense.

The demolition of the old market buildings earlier this year somewhat unexpectedly revealed the historic beauty of the buildings that surround Leicester’s marketplace. Vistas that were hidden for many years. We urge you to visit and see the difference for yourself. Opening up the marketplace will mean it is largely returning to its original appearance that it retained for hundreds of years (the first recorded mention was in 1298). Leicester’s rich history is one of our greatest assets and this proposal will create a new space that brings our past back to life while also looking forward to the future. An open space of this scale is currently lacking in the city centre: Imagine outdoor concerts, fairs, community gatherings, and dare we say, sporting successes being commemorated here. A place to celebrate! The redevelopment also has the potential to generate a ‘café culture’ in the buildings surrounding the marketplace, like other cities on the continent such as Brussels and Antwerp. This transformation will make the marketplace a more attractive destination for everyone, thereby fostering a deeper appreciation for Leicester’s rich history.

We are huge supporters of Leicester Market and recognise that many traders are not happy with the new proposals that would see their market stalls relocated to a newly created area between Green Dragon Square and Cank Street, adjacent to the indoor market. They are the lifeblood of the place who will be working there daily. Nevertheless, wouldn’t a new, purpose-built site next to the indoor market provide them and their customers with improved facilities which can attract more visitors and boost commerce? The number of shoppers using the old outdoor market had been much reduced before its demolition, evidenced by the lack of stalls in use, and from a visitor’s point of view it now feels more vibrant in its smaller temporary relocated home on Green Dragon Square.  Bearing all this in mind we do think that whatever is decided needs to be acted upon promptly as it’s the market stallholders’ livelihoods which are currently being affected.

Compared to the existing redevelopment plans we believe this new ambitious initiative will offer far greater benefits in the long run. It would preserve and promote the city’s heritage, enhance market facilities, create a vibrant public space, and stimulate economic growth (thereby promoting city centre sustainability). This plan provides us with an incredible opportunity to transform Leicester for the better for generations to come.

Leicester Civic Society supports the new proposals for Leicester’s historic marketplace

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