The November 2020 issue of ‘The Citizen’ contained an article about Leicester’s Crown Jewel, New Walk, and the changes that it has seen in its long history, from Georgian promenade for the townsfolk to the racecourse on the Southern edge of town, (Victoria Park) through its period as the centre for the professional and legal fraternity, to its current incarnation, as a ‘student village’ to Leicester’s two Universities. The original article was written in April, in the early days of the Covid 19 Pandemic, and the start of the Leicester lockdown.
Despite the difficult working conditions, the LCC Conservation team has managed to implement a number of improvements to the New walk Conservation Area. The number of individual improvements is too long to list here, but suffice to say that work has already been undertaken to improve street furniture, planting, reinstatement of railings and the removal of extraneous signage. Further improvements are planned for the Oval, the bridge over the inner ring road, and the re-siting of public works of art, together with the continued creation of a ‘French Cafe’ atmosphere at the junction with King Street. But perhaps the most important development is the revision of an ‘Article 4’ directive to cover the whole of the New Walk Conservation Area, not just the immediate area bounding the New Walk.
This will ensure that any external development within the NWCA, ( including repainting) must be approved by the LCC planning committee. It will not unfortunately, restrict the number of student accommodation developments on New Walk, but it should help to stop the developers from cutting corners and producing cheap and thoughtless conversions. This is a welcome move by the LCC Conservation team, and we can only hope that it bodes well, not only for the New Walk Conservation Area, but also for the preservation and enhancement of Leicester’s built heritage over the next few years.
Leicester Civic Society is continually monitoring the progress of New Walk and its environs, and would like to hear from anyone with examples of any particularly good, or bad, developments taking place within the New Walk Conservation Area.