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Transforming the Waterside

The waterside is being transformed to attract new investment which will create a vibrant and thriving new neighbourhood with new homes and new work spaces.

Leicester’s Waterside is a hidden gem. The area is located to the north west of the city centre between the A6 and Rally Park, containing the River Soar and Grand Union Canal.

These waterways are an underused and often under–appreciated asset, cut off from the rest of the city by historical industrial development. A once busy area, characterised by manufacturing, has suffered decline over the last 30 years. The poor appearance and lack of investment in sites in this area makes a poor ‘front door’ for visitors to our city.

The regeneration of the Waterside is an opportunity to make the most of the city’s waterways and open up opportunities for many more people to enjoy them. Transforming the Waterside area will create:

  • A thriving neighbourhood, offering a unique and vibrant place to live and space for local businesses to flourish.
  • A place that reconnects Leicester to its waterfront, bringing investment opportunities for work, leisure and enhancing our urban wildlife.
  • A place where people feel safe and comfortable to walk and cycle.
  • A place where the streets and homes are built to high standards of design and sustainability.
  • A confident place which values its history while embracing the future.

What we have delivered

In 2015, Friars Mill was completed and opened as a managed workspace following a £7.5m refurbishment, partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. This was a significant first investment in the Waterside area, regenerating confidence and further private sector investment.

Investment in upgraded towpaths and new moorings at Friars Mill are also contributing to an enhanced and more accessible rivers and canal side environment.

In 2015, we also secured £20m from the Local Growth Fund to enable the first phase of the Waterside development to begin. This has resulted in the purchase of a 17-acre site, through both negotiation, relocation of existing businesses, and ultimately the use of compulsory purchase powers.

Increased confidence in the Waterside area, as a result of public sector investment has acted as a catalyst for private sector investment. A number of recent planning approvals will see the development of sites which have until now remained undeveloped for many years, this will see more homes delivered in the Waterside area.

What next?

Work has commenced with demolition site clearance and archaeological investigations having been underway and almost complete. Shortly, the development of offices and new homes will begin on site. A development partner, Keepmoat, have been appointed.

Over the next four years Keepmoat will deliver 350 new homes, including family housing, apartments, and extra care units. There will also be almost 5,500 square metres of new offices, green space, high quality public realm and new canal side access and paths.

You can view the plan on the document below:


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